STATEWIDE – The University of Maine offers a program that gives college students throughout the state hands-on work experience.
“It was a really, really cool experience,” said Alexander Karris, a class of 2019 fellow in the Innovate for Maine Fellows Program. “I’ve recommended it to so many of my friends and even my family members.”
The program pairs college students with companies to intern for throughout the state.
“This provides students with a paid hands-on internship experience on working on real innovation projects,” said Emma Wilson, coordinator of the Innovate for Maine Fellows Program. “They also get exposed to Maine’s entrepreneurship and innovation culture, and they get our one-of-a-kind innovation training as well.”
Wilson said the companies also benefit from the program.
“Many of the companies we’re working with are startups,” Wilson said. “Many of them can’t normally afford to have an intern, so that’s what allows them to work with these bright, college students, and the program also allows them to do that without having to do any of the recruiting, hiring and training.”
According to Wilson, the program works with a variety of companies.
“From breweries to aquaculture, consumer products, biomedical engineering, app companies, software, you name it we’ve probably worked with them,” Wilson said.
Karris worked for Wilcox Wellness and Fitness in Bangor during his time with the program. He said he discovered a passion for video and photography there.
“It allowed me to start exploring the craft and being paid to do it, while also giving this company meaningful work,” Karris said.
Karris said this led him to start his own business.
He had some words of advice for future participants.
“Really take advantage of the people that you’re going to meet,” Karris said.
The program is offered to all graduate and undergraduate students who have a connection to the state of Maine.
The application deadline is March 12, and more information can be found on the program’s website.