As you may have already guessed, we’re all about education of all ages here at Growing Spaces and are always searching for new ways to empower people with knowledge about how to live and grow sustainably. We had an awesome opportunity this summer to hire an intern to work in our shop through the local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program that provides hands-on educational experiences for Southwest Colorado Youth. The STEM Internship Program was recently awarded the National Association of Development Organizations 2011 Innovation Award. “The STEM Internship Program aims to provide employment opportunities for high school upperclassmen… in businesses where they can lean and apply STEM skills, establish relationships with local businesses, and learn the professional skills necessary to succeed in the 21st Century workplace.”
Through a business associate we connected with a 17-year-old young man named Reyes. He was the first intern in our county of Archuleta and the 6th intern of the overall program. Reyes’s internship involved working on our production line as well as assisting with product and project development. He worked one-on-one with the owner and founder, Udgar Parsons, creating drawings for our airlocks and he was an integral member of our production team. Jason Stuck, Production Coordinator, was his main mentor and trainer and wrote of Reyes in his final report to the STEM Internship Program:
“Having Reyes with us as an intern enabled us to meet certain production goals within the company. He also served as a wonderful catalyst for some projects that have been on the back burner for some time. He was able to take on research, development, and engineering of an aquaponics project that we have wanted to do for a long time… Reyes was enthusiastic and persistent with the aquaponics system and has ultimately been a great asset to our company.”
Reyes came to us deceivingly quiet and reserved. We soon found out that he is full of enthusiasm, energy and ingenuity. It was an absolute joy to have him as part of our family here at Growing Spaces. This program was a win-win for all involved and is a true gift to the small communities of Southwest Colorado. We are honored to have taken part.
To learn more about the STEM Internship Program please visit www.stemsw.org
Author: Stacey L.L. Couch, Growing Spaces Staff