For Fred Knight, a senior at the University of Southern Maine double-majoring in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, the Innovate for Maine fellowship program helped him get a proverbial foot in the door when it comes to business acumen.
“I come from an engineering background,” Fred said. “So the [Innovate for Maine Fellowship] experience gave me a whole different look into the business aspect of things. That was amazing.”
Created in 2012, the Innovate for Maine Fellows program is an internship program that connects Maine college students with the state’s most exciting, growing companies. By facilitating this connection, the program’s goal is to grow and create jobs across the state of Maine through innovation, entrepreneurship, and young, skilled professionals.
An annual program, the Maine students and Maine companies selected to participate in the internship come together through the University of Maine to collaborate on innovative projects that will accelerate company growth and give students a paid, meaningful, hands-on internship experience.
For Fred Knight, that meant working for the Cooperative Center for Aquaculture Research at the University of Maine: immediately contributing to engineering system projects and leveraging his undergraduate education in the workplace. By the end of the summer, Fred had accumulated an entire binder of the work he had completed and the projects he had been a part of, an item that helped him make memorable impressions in two different job interviews that fall.
“Right in the binder was an overview of the systems I had designed, along with comments, calculations and a bunch of pictures,” Fred said. “It gave me something to talk about for 15 to 20 minutes in each interview.”
And in the end, the employers were impressed, Fred said. He ended up receiving two job offers from two interviews, and will be working for General Dynamics Systems in Massachusetts as a systems and a rotation engineer after graduation in May. More specifically, he’ll be participating in their engineering leadership program, which will have him train to be a manager in their business. In this program, Fred will have opportunities to work full-time, internal leadership training, and also earn an engineering graduate degree.
“It’s a very cool position, and I feel really lucky for having the experience I did with the Innovate for Maine Fellowship,” Fred said. “It [the internship] really prepared me well for what I’m going to be going into.”
When asked whether or not he would recommend the program to friends and other students, Fred didn’t hesitate: “I would 100% recommend this to friends,” Fred said. “I already have. I don’t think people understand how great [this program] can be.”
With a new class of fellows just starting their internships now, the hope is that all of the students will have as fulfilling and successful of an experience as Fred did. If you’re interested in learning more about the Innovate for Maine Fellowship program, visit our website or call us at 207-581-1454.