Hosting Interns: Pay it Forward, Get it Back

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This summer, the Rosenman Institute recruited startups for a unique student program for the second year in a row: Foothill’s Science Learning Institute (SLI) Internship program. The program matched community college students with Rosenman portfolio startups, encouraging bonds between up-and-coming successful startups and students just starting their careers. 

The SLI interns worked for 9-10 weeks at the startup they were matched with, receiving specialized mentoring and developing skills that will take them far in their STEM careers. The companies hosting the interns also received very tangible benefits from the program and their dedicated interns. iSono Health’s Shadi Saberi put it this way: “Interns bring a lot of value to a startup through their contributions to their assigned projects. Having an intern also provides the opportunity for team members to mentor and manage the students and grow as better managers.”

At the Rosenman Institute, we’re committed to supporting and bolstering students from underrepresented communities as they gain the job skills necessary for a successful career. We’re proud to work in partnership with Foothill’s SLI alongside our Rosenman startups who are committed to the same thing. “I think we will continue to look to community colleges and local city colleges for intern candidates in the future,” says Joshua Shubert of Avenda Health. “Programs like SLI that provide funding for these students early in their careers are incredibly valuable for getting students from underrepresented backgrounds into internships, especially at startups that have tight budgets but may have highly experienced staff looking to share their knowledge.”

Rosenman host companies felt positive impacts all around. “The program also provides industry professionals a way to contribute to the community in helping someone take their first step into the STEM field,” says Chris Zhan of Intact Therapeutics. “As a mentor, the program helped me improve my communication and management skills to ensure the internship is a well balanced learning experience.

The benefits go beyond the work the interns did themselves, the benefits to the mentors, or the connections fostered. Chris adds, “I was a community college transfer student myself and an internship program like this would have greatly enhanced my college experience and provide clarity in my career pathway. I would like to provide this service to someone in similar shoes and being a host in this program provide just that.”

For the 2022 intern cohort, the internship was confidence-boosting, useful, and fun. “This internship has given me a glimpse of what it is like to work at a start-up and gave me useful hands-on lab experience,” says Foothill student Chelsea Navarro, who was mentored by Chris Zhan at Intact Therapeutics. “This exposure gave me confidence in my career choice in working in STEM and has influenced my career options in the future.”

Interns also loved the specialized mentorship and practical experience, they say. The reviews are in:

“My internship experience was a great experience. The staff was very helpful and allowed me to grow and become a better engineer.” -Andre Augustin, placed with iSono Health.

“My mentor gave me advice and was very accessible during the process and helped me work around my busy schedule. They also provided lots of resources and documentation to set me up for success in the use of the programming language and software.” -Gerardo Padilla, placed with iSono Health.

“My internship at Avenda was extremely rewarding for me and helped grow my confidence in software development. It was a great experience in all aspects.” -Brianna Rogers, placed with Avenda Health.

“Great all around, and extremely grateful. Cannot wait to apply the lessons I’ve learned through this amazing opportunity in the near future. Thank you to my mentor, Digbi, SLI, Foothill, & UCSF!” -Christian Marcias, placed with Digbi Health.

Thank you to our host companies who made this an unforgettable experience for the 2022 cohort of interns! We know they’ll go far in life with the skills and interests you helped foster.

Host companies from the UCSF Rosenman Institute portfolio: