Students wrap up summer with inaugural intern tech competition
Engineering Solutions, Inc. (ESI) saw something special in the pool of interns working at a variety of companies in Central Maryland this summer, and decided it was a great opportunity to showcase and reward some of the state’s best and brightest young minds.
The Hanover-based company brought the idea to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association of Central Maryland (AFCEA CMD) and they agreed to sponsor the Summer Internship Presentation Showcase (SIPS), where students showed off their presentation skills and technical prowess in front of a panel of experts.
The talented college students participating in summer internships at AFCEA Central Maryland businesses made for a competitive event. ESI President Gary Rosen said the response to the event was better than he could have imagined.
“I wanted to have a competition for the interns with the potential for scholarship money,” Rosen said. “We would have been delighted with half the turn out that we had. With 25 interns from 10 different companies, it was really well received.”
AFCEA CMD awarded two cash prizes for Best Presentation and Best Technical Project to be used as college scholarships. The students also received valuable instruction from renowned presentation coach, David Greenberg of Simply Speaking, Inc., the day before the showcase. Jake Gluck, ESI intern and member of the three-man-team that won the Best Presentation prize of $1,500, said the event made for a more meaningful internship this summer.
“SIPS gave us something to work toward throughout the summer,” said Gluck. “It allowed us to gain presentation skills and not only show off our own work but also see what our peers at similar companies did this summer.”
Gluck, along with interns Michael Chirico and Colin Mason, presented their project called AlexaSense, a modified Amazon Alexa equipped with infrared and Bluetooth detection to monitor a user’s presence therefore reducing the need for voice commands. Chirico said the experience has sparked his interest in delving further into the computer science field.
“My time and experience at ESI has certainly encouraged me to pursue a career in the government contracting industry,” said Chirico. “Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be exploring my post-grad options related to the field. The SIPS event was a phenomenal idea.”
AFCEA CMD is seeking to make SIPS an annual event, expand the training portion, and raise even larger scholarship prizes for participants. Best Technical Project winner Anna Blendermann, an intern at Nteligen, said the competition was a valuable networking opportunity.
“I honestly can’t say enough about how incredible it was to add 30 other young engineers to my network,” said Blendermann. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone back next year and possibly participating on the judging panel.”