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Intel Innovation Apprenticeship program kicks off in NMSU College of Engineering

Engineering students in New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering now have a new resource to make their project and business ideas come to life with the help of a team of Intel Student Innovation Apprentices. Through a grant from the Intel Foundation, the college has established an apprenticeship program within the Aggie Innovation Space to assist students with engineering projects, innovative ideas and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Two men sit at a table and work on an engineering project.
New Mexico State University Intel Aggie Innovation Apprentices Justin Squire (left) and Caleb Roy work on a low-resolution prototype during a training session. (NMSU photo by Linda Fresques)

The Aggie Innovation Space Presented by Intel is a place where students can go to develop their projects or ideas. Student apprentices can help fellow students take an idea through the engineering process by bridging the gap between classroom knowledge and real-world application. Innovation Apprentices are available to consult on class projects and student-led innovations including entrepreneurial spin-off opportunities. The apprentices have expertise in a variety of areas including computer-aided design, project organization, prototype development, Galileo boards, electronic sensors and marketing.

“The apprentice program is intended to create an in-house internship opportunity for engineering undergraduate students by exposing them to both in-depth training and leadership skills,” said Patricia Sullivan, associate dean for outreach and public service in the College of Engineering. “This program will allow apprentices to serve as peer-to-peer advisers and consultants for other engineering students to ensure they receive real-world application of the concepts they learn in the classroom and to better prepare them to enter the workforce following graduation.”

The apprenticeship program was designed to increase engagement and retention of students in the engineering program. Apprentices will hold regular office hours at the Aggie Innovation Space.

“I’m looking forward to working with others who are as passionate about innovation as I am,” said Edward Diaz, a mechanical engineering senior and apprentice. “It’s exciting to see students come to us with their designs. We want to see their innovation designs come to life.”

In addition to apprentice assistance, students have access to a variety of tools in the Aggie Innovation Space to use in the manufacturing process including 3-D printers, large-scale printers, various computer-automated design programs and Galileo boards. Materials and tools in the Innovation Space were funded by Intel Corporation and the NMSU President’s Performance funds with additional corporate support from Sandia Labs/Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Western Refining, Cummins Inc. and The Boeing Company for educational programs offered at the facility.
“I am so excited to work with the other apprentices, who are all special and unique. They provide such different skill sets; any student who needs assistance can find it here,” said Ember Krech, a mechanical engineering senior and apprentice. “This apprenticeship program is a network that all students should take advantage of.”
The apprentices are juniors and seniors; nine are engineering majors and one is a marketing major. They will receive training focused on peer mentoring, the engineering design process and consumer behavior/marketing as well leadership training at Intel’s facility in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In addition, Intel engineers will serve as mentors to the apprentices.

The Intel Aggie Innovation Apprentices are:

• Caleb Roy, from Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Edward Diaz, from Las Cruces, New Mexico
• Justin Squire, from Hagerman, New Mexico
• Karl Johannes, from Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Katrina Heyne, from Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Luis Martinez, from Torreon Coahuila, Mexico
• Olivia Garcia, from Las Cruces, New Mexico
• Wyatt Castaneda, from Moriarty, New Mexico