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Renaissance Internship Program keeps engineering talent local

October 13, 2008

Tricia Hopkins
(315) 443-2546

Tricia Hopkins

Since 2000, local technology companies and graduate students from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS) at Syracuse University have been reaping the benefits of the Renaissance Internship Program. On Oct. 15, Syracuse University will host an event to celebrate the expanded Renaissance Internship program, and recognize Assemblyman William Magnarelli's continued support.

According to both students and employers, the program works. Anthony Fernando, a civil engineering graduate student from Bombay, India, attributes his current full- time employment at St. Germain & Aupperle Consulting, a local firm located in Camillus, to the Renaissance program. He began working there part time in June 2007 under the CASE Co-op program. Upon graduation in May 2008, he became a full-time employee at the firm. From January to May of 2007, Fernando was an intern at CME Associates Inc., a geotechnical company based in Cicero.

"The Renaissance program has played a major role in my career and helped me secure a full-time job in Central New York right after graduation," Fernando says. "The program not only exposed me to real-world challenges while in college, it also helped me know more about the companies and opportunities around Central New York. I am happy that I could be part of such a great program and hope it continues to help the future students at Syracuse University."

The Renaissance Internship program is now under the CASE Center Co-Op umbrella, which offers students and employers alike more opportunities to benefit from each other. It places graduate student interns at local technology companies in the cluster areas of environmental systems, biomedical systems, electronics technologies, manufacturing, information technology and software engineering. Over the years, Assemblyman Magnarelli has secured $1 million in funding. Nearly 75 student interns and 20 companies have participated in the program, and many students have been offered permanent employment or have been kept on as interns once their internship program concluded.

"The Renaissance Internship program allows Central New York firms to attract top- level engineering students who are drawn to the area for higher education," says Magnarelli. "It offers students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and establish ties with local businesses."

Each student works up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and 30 hours in the summer while maintaining a full academic schedule. They receive a premium stipend, a full tuition scholarship and the experience of working on leading-edge technology. In return, local employers are given access to talented graduate students to assist with solutions to real business problems.

LCS Dean Laura J. Steinberg sees the importance of the program in developing and keeping engineering talent in Central New York. "With its focus on recruiting and retaining engineering professionals, the Renaissance Internship Program is providing a means for addressing the shortage of engineers at numerous firms in Central New York," says Steinberg. "We are extremely grateful to Assemblyman Magnarelli for establishing this tremendous program for our graduate students and CNY businesses alike."

Interns have been placed at numerous firms across the region, including Anaren, Bank of New York Mellon, Bartell Machinery, Blue Highway LLC, Carrier Corp., CME Associates, C&S Companies, Dielectric Labs, Interactive Therapy Group, National Grid, New Venture Gear (now Magna Powertrain), O'Brien & Gere, Philips Broadband Networks Inc., PPC Inc., Sonnet Software Inc., Welch Allyn and 3iMobile.

Dielectric Labs (DLI) has participated in the Renaissance Internship Program for five years and taken on eight interns, some of whom stayed on as interns after they completed the program, says Cheryl Saunders, DLI's human resources manager. One former intern is now a regular full-time employee. "Our experience with the Renaissance Internship Program has been very positive. We are grateful to Syracuse University for providing us with the interns, but even more grateful to Assemblyman Magnarelli, who has been the driving force behind the funding of the program," Saunders says. "This is a program that provides students with valuable experience and provides companies like DLI with access to those talented students."

"This program definitely helped us quickly hire our first seven student interns," says Al DiRienzo, president and CEO of Blue Highway LLC. "Without the Renaissance program, we would not have transitioned so smoothly into the necessary structure for interviewing, hiring and handling payroll in a streamlined fashion. The Renaissance program undoubtedly helped our company hire more student interns, and create more new software products within months of our arrival on campus."

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