Orlando / Winter Springs – High School students participating in a seven-week summer program designed to expose them to opportunities in S.T.E.M. career fields recently toured the UCF Business Incubators in Winter Springs and Research Park in East Orlando.
The Altamonte Springs Science Incubator Internship Program (AS21), in cooperation with Seminole County Public Schools is in the second year of existence. The program provides juniors and seniors in Seminole County Public High Schools – at least 16 years of age – with a dynamic educational experience working with Central Florida organizations to help further their interest in STEM related fields.
After a presentation by UCF Business Incubation Program Director Gordon Hogan and tours of the facilities by the site managers, clients of the incubator sat down with the students to engage in an informal dialogue.
“The students in the AS21 internship program have been visiting with several large participating organizations in the area. However, this trip provided a unique experience by exposing the student interns to starting a business while mingling with entrepreneurs and innovators in the S.T.E.M. fields,” Hogan said.
Aileen Giraldo, S.T.E.M. Outreach Coordinator for the City of Altamonte Springs also accompanied the group on the tour. She detailed how the interns have toured some of Central Florida’s largest companies and experienced hands on learning activities with industry leaders in S.T.E.M. fields. The UCF Incubation program provided the student interns with some useful insight on how to better position themselves for opportunities in emerging S.T.EM. fields once they graduate.
“The students said they gained valuable tips and advice at the Incubators and the close, personal back-and-forth discussions with entrepreneurs was both enjoyable and inspiring, Giraldo said.
The UCF Business Incubation Program is a member of the Central Florida S.T.E.M Education Council whose goal is to collaboratively coordinate S.T.E.M. education efforts to prepare pre-college students to enter technical fields of study and pursue employment in Central Florida’s high-tech workforce.
“We plan to continue hosting students – up to 10 groups a year – participating in this and similar high school programs in the region,” Hogan said. “It’s a win-win if we can help bolster the tech savvy workforce for businesses growing in the incubator and at the same time help enable the next the generation of innovators.”
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About the Altamonte Springs Science Incubator (AS21)
The AS21 Internship Program acts as an extension of the high school curriculum with the goal of increasing the number of Seminole County Public High School graduates who pursue a career in S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering Math) related fields. The program is designed to improve the understanding of these fields, sharpen problem solving and collaborative abilities and develop a variety of workplace skills.
About the UCF Business Incubation Program:
The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth / impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. Participating companies sustain more than 3,600 local jobs and have had a total impact of $1.51B on regional sales and $2.48B on regional economic output. During the last fiscal year, the program has returned $7.95 for every $1.00 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu