NextFlex, a Manufacturing USA institute focused on flexible hybrid electronics, hosted five high school interns for six weeks this summer in partnership with the Silicon Valley Organization’s Strive Internship program. Students came from a variety of schools across the San Jose Unified and East Side Unified High School Districts, representing grade levels from rising juniors to incoming college freshman.
The five interns worked in the NextFlex Technology Hub and in Information Technology. Over the course of the summer, interns completed tasks ranging from analyzing printed ink resistance patterns to materials characterization, to designing and coding a display panel featuring equipment in the facility.
It’s no secret that hosting high school interns can be daunting to a sponsor, but the rewards are tremendous for all involved when done right. The internship work plan that strikes the right balance between challenging and achievable requires careful consideration. The NextFlex Technology Hub and IT teams put a lot of thought into identifying ambitious tasks and providing the necessary training to ensure interns would acquire new skills while also providing real value to NextFlex. Their efforts paid off very nicely. Our cohort of teenage interns quickly learned to operate a wide variety of highly specialized tools and use computer programming languages, allowing them to perform tasks from application development to manufacturing small-scale production of flexible Arduino demonstrators.