Community Internship Collaboration Launches 2nd Year

Spring CIC interns with their mentors at the final presentations and program graduation in May at UNM-LA. Courtesy photo

COMMUNITY News:

Last year a group of local organizations, backed by an investment from Los Alamos National Security, LLC, launched the Community Internship Collaboration (CIC). The goals were to provide meaningful work experiences for students, provide local businesses an intern with a fresh perspective, and to help develop the workforce for our community.

The first year concluded successfully last spring, and the partners have determined the program will continue again for a second year.

CIC started as a joint partnership of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, UNM-Los Alamos,Los Alamos High School, and the UNM-LA Small Business Development Center. The program pairs UNM-LA undergraduates and LAHS juniors and seniors up with local businesses and organizations to work on project-based internships. Businesses gain an intern eager to contribute to the success of their business at little or no cost to them.

ZaXa Software, LLC, a local software contracting company, was interested in having a Computer Science intern work on a project that had sat untouched for a while. “For a technical project, the primary benefit of the internship program was a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes, mentor Matthew Sheats said. “The intern was able to provide unique feedback regarding both the technical and sales sides of the project. Additionally, his involvement required my company to spend time it otherwise might not have spent moving the project forward. Between professional hours and the intern’s efforts, the project made progress and met new challenges for the next round of development.”

Another experience last year was the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) mentoring an intern to work on a project developing its early childhood curriculum in Environmental Science. PEEC Education Director Siobhan Niklasson noted, Our intern worked out really well. She was an enthusiastic worker, great with kids, and a perfect fit for PEEC. She has continued to work for us in a variety of roles including educator, camp counselor and planetarium operator after her internship period ended.”

The students’ salaries are paid by the program for up to 60 hours of work through the semester. This year we will be broadening community awareness and involvement in the CIC project. The goal will be to create a model that is valued by the community, is scalable to a larger group of students, and is sustainable. 

Business applications are now available and the submission deadline is Aug. 21. To request an application, interested businesses should contact Laura Loy, CIC program coordinator, at lloy@unm.edu.

When asked about the program, one student said, “The best aspects were accomplishing the goals set by my mentor and gaining new work experience. It felt uplifting to know I was doing what had to get done and also learning skills to help me with my future.”

Students, while learning from their mentors and gaining experience at their internships, will also attend a weekly class at UNM-LA for which they receive academic credit. The class helps them to develop the skills necessary for being a productive member of the workforce, such as time management, communicating in a business environment, and presentation skills.

UNM-LA undergraduate students and LAHS juniors and seniors who are interested in the program are required to attend one of two orientation sessions:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 24, 3:30-5 p.m., UNM-LA room 629 (Building 6)
  • Thursday, Aug. 25, 3:30-5. p.m., UNM-LA room 629 (Building 6)

At the orientation sessions, students will learn more about the program and how to apply, and then they will receive help with their resumes, cover letters and interview skills.

To learn more about this program, visit losalamos.unm.edu/community/cic.html.

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