Liquid Nitrogen, Learning to Code and 3D Printing: Another Year of Eureka! Internships
Girls Inc. Eureka! is a five-year summer and school-year program for girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. In the program’s third year, “Eurekans” complete a 4-week paid internship program where they acquire real-world, hands-on STEM work experience.
Placements with Local STEM Organizations
YWCA Girls Inc. staff work around the year to secure these opportunities with local STEM professionals and organizations across the Twin Cities (who also fund the placements). In the months leading up to summer, there was still so much unknown. COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines seemed to be ever-changing and people were hesitant to agree to partner due to not knowing how to prepare or what to expect.
In-Person, Hybrid & Remote Internships
Ultimately, YWCA Minneapolis’ Girls Inc. program was able to secure placements for all the Eurekans who choose to intern this summer — with a wide range of in-person, hybrid and virtual/remote options.
Phenotyping and Tissue Sampling
Some Eurekans completed their internship with the University of Minnesota Agronomy and Plant Genetics department. Here, they learned basic programming skills needed to analyze genomic sequence data from different corn cultivators. It also included phenotyping, tissue sampling and pollination experiments. These interns participated in regular project meetings with graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists on the project team, learning about the breadth of research projects. If you ask them, some of their favorite parts of the internship were cooking corn, using liquid nitrogen and grinding down samples to look at DNA and learning to code!
Statistical Software Testing & Web-Based Applications
Other opportunities included one with the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health, Biostatistics division. Interns learned about statistical software testing and statistical resources. This was a remote opportunity that required statistical software downloads and heavier work on the computer. There were also interns who worked for Project Restore Minnesota to complete a mobile and web-based application called Market X that helps market local Black businesses and entrepreneurs.
3D Printing to Study Valley Erosion
Another unique opportunity was through Jabil Manufacturing, a multibillion-dollar global corporation with a headquarters in Chaska. Jabil staff catered an opportunity specifically to the environmental studies interests of its intern by purchasing a 3D printer where she could study valley erosion. Here, the intern created a replica of a Colorado landscape with a special filament, added a small amount of water and was able to watch how the environment affects the landscape and creates valleys!
Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM
In total, YWCA Minneapolis Girls Inc. secured seven partnerships and placed 19 Eurekans in paid internships this summer. A huge thank you to all of our participating internship sites: Jabil Manufacturing, Project Restore Minnesota and Market X, Snapology and the University of Minnesota.
If you are interested or may know somebody interested in hosting an intern next summer, we are always looking for future partners. We are grateful for the strong, smart and bold individuals out there that are willing to take a stand to bridge the gender gap in the professional STEM world!