General Atomics Hosts STEM Interns from The Preuss School UC San Diego
General Atomics inaugural high school intern class (shown here with their GA mentors) worked alongside GA scientists and engineers during the four-week program. Courtesy General Atomics.

General Atomics Hosts STEM Interns from The Preuss School UC San Diego

Four-week program offered opportunities for students from underrepresented communities in San Diego

San Diego, August 23 – General Atomics (GA) recently completed the inaugural session of a new summer high school internship program that is focused on providing students from underrepresented communities in San Diego access to employment and learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Five students participated in the four-week program from July 11 to August 4.

Held at GA’s Torrey Pines campus, the program was coordinated with The Preuss School UC San Diego, a unique charter middle and high school for low-income scholars who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. The program allowed students in their junior and senior years at Preuss to participate in paid internships working in laboratories at GA.

“We believe that GA is providing critical exposure to authentic STEM work experience for scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in this industry,” said Dr. Helen V. Griffith, Executive Director of The Preuss School. “Their partnership is invaluable and will serve to provide a pathway to transformative careers and increase diversity in STEM professions.”

Interns were matched with GA scientists and engineers, who served as volunteer mentors. The goal was to give the students exposure and awareness of careers in STEM by working directly alongside GA staff and college-level interns. The students gained valuable work experience and developed leadership skills while putting their education into practice.

“I really enjoyed the internship and getting to work with and learn from different employees at GA,” said Agnes, one of the Preuss interns. “I thought it was really enlightening to learn more about the careers, pathways, and tasks that are available for someone pursuing a life in the STEM field.”

“It was wonderful to see the students grow so much scientifically and professionally in such a short time,” GA Engineer Wendi Sweet said. “Seeing their motivation to learn and take on challenges during their summer was really inspiring.”

“Being paired with mentors allowed the students to gain formal training, insight and encouragement, while giving them tools to make informed decisions about their future,” said GA Outreach Coordinator Shelly Sutphen, who coordinated the program with The Preuss School. “The experience was greatly valued by the students and provided them a greater opportunity for success.”

Students worked with their mentors to complete a project that was tailored to their academic interests, giving them a chance to explore advanced scientific topics in a laboratory setting. The mentors also guided the students on developing careers skills such as communication and time management. The internship helped the students begin building a professional network that will be a valuable resource in future endeavors.

“The science and technology industries depend very heavily on active support for STEM education,” said Senior Vice President of the GA Energy Group Anantha Krishnan, who conceived the program last year. “Developing a diverse workforce means creating opportunities for students despite historical cultural and socioeconomic barriers. GA is proud of the successes the students in this program have achieved.”

About General Atomics:
Since the dawn of the atomic age, General Atomics innovations have advanced the state of the art across the full spectrum of science and technology – from nuclear energy and defense to medicine and high-performance computing. Behind a talented global team of scientists, engineers, and professionals, GA’s unique experience and capabilities continue to deliver safe, sustainable, economical, and innovative solutions to meet growing global demands.

For more information contact: Evan Polisar
Strategic Communications Manager

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