EDA Internships Provide Real-World Experience within New Jersey’s Innovation Ecosystem
TRENTON (September 6, 2017) – As part of its commitment to developing the next generation of technology and life sciences leaders, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Technology and Life Sciences (TLS) team offered two college interns the opportunity to experience New Jersey’s vibrant innovation economy firsthand this summer. The interns benefited from working at the EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick, a nationally respected incubation facility dedicated to life sciences and biotechnology companies.
EDA summer internships offer college students multi-faceted, real-world learning opportunities designed to prepare them for a fast-paced work environment. This includes interaction with peer mentors, networking events, and workshops, and exposure to a range of financial assistance programs, including the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, the State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program, the Edison Innovation Fund, and venture fund investments.
Hadeka Rasul, a senior at Seton Hall University, and Erik Aborde, a junior at Boston College, are returning to campus this fall with a deeper understanding of the technology sector in New Jersey, and increased excitement for the dynamic employment opportunities the industry may hold for them after graduation.
Employers see the State’s vast pool of well-educated, savvy professionals as a competitive advantage,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “Through EDA’s internship program, we aspire to support college students with practical experience, and an awareness of the multitude of career opportunities the State has to offer.”
Orsen added that as a bonus, interns bring renewed energy and a fresh perspective to the EDA each year.
In addition to supporting the review of applications for the 2017 NOL program, Rasul, a graduate of Woodbridge High School, and Aborde, a Carteret native who graduated from Saint Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, performed historical data analysis for the various TLS programs. This included using a new data visualization tool to unlock historical trends in the NOL program and mining EDA’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to conduct an in-depth analysis of new NOL applicants to identify their path to application. Another project consisted of reviewing all companies that have participated in NJ Founders & Funders to track their progress toward follow-on funding. Aborde and Rasul also revised and updated the EDA’s historical CrunchBase profile page to highlight investments and exits to date. The interns’ efforts have helped to deepen EDA’s understanding of its customers, reveal cross-program opportunities, identify new marketing channels and refine its existing outreach.
Rasul is double majoring in Economics and Political Science, and serves on the Pi Sigma Alpha Executive Board. She is also Executive Editor of Seton Hall’s Political Analysis, and a member of the Economics Honor Society and Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE). After graduating in December 2017, she hopes to pursue her J.D. or M.B.A degree to diversify and broaden her skill set.
Aborde is also a double major, in Computer Science and Finance, and is a Project Manager of the Boston College chapter of the Enactus Team, a nationwide leadership program which encourages entrepreneurship for the greater good among university students. Aborde, who is also a member of the Student Business Consortium, hopes to work in the startup community in an investor or operational role; he is set to graduate in 2019.
Both Rasul and Aborde agreed that the most beneficial aspect of their EDA internships was being able to work on a variety of projects, which allowed them to challenge themselves and think innovatively.
Aborde said, “While classroom knowledge is critical, the intangible skills of working hard, analyzing data, and dealing with uncertainty will serve me well in my future career.”
Rasul’s reasoning for choosing the EDA TLS internship was based on her “growing interest in the economy, as well as the technology world.” She added, “This position was ideal for me, as it combined both of those interests and I gained vast insight in both areas.”
The EDA employed seven interns this summer, two at CCIT and five in various departments at its Trenton headquarters. EDA internships provide college students with the opportunity to get hands on experience in the business, community development, real estate, human resources and technology fields. Since formally launching its intern program in 2015 the EDA has hired two interns as full-time employees.
Students interested in Summer 2018 technology-focused internships should visit www.njeda.gov and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn. Information will be posted on these sites when the application process opens.
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