The tech lab is starting an Intern Program, and is looking for participants with an interested in technology, Linux, electronics. We want motivated participants that can take on some meaningful, real projects and who will gain experience and learn in the process.
We are presently considering high school students for our Intern program. Are you looking for an interesting Community Service project, where you can learn some new things along the way, get some experience for your resume, and make a difference for your community? Consider us!
What would an Intern do with the Tech Lab?
That’s a great question! We’re a newly formed charitable non-profit corporation with a mission to educate. There’s lots to do, no busy work. Just a list of the kind of things we’re thinking about:
- Think our web site looks ugly? Yeah, it probably is! Want to learn about the WordPress system we use for this site, and improve it? Here’s an opportunity to do so.
- Have you heard about these Arduino micro controllers? Raspberry Pi computers? They’re really cheap and there’s all sorts of fun stuff people are using them for. We have a some of these in the lab, and other peripherals and the free development tools for them. How about you build a cool project, and document your steps throughout the process on the web site so that others can follow along behind you?
- Do you have an interest in electronics? Ever want to build some small electronic widget; from scratch — not just plugging boards into a PC? A longer duration project might be to conceive of some fun little project, develop an electrical schematic for the device, prototype it (and maybe write some firmware). Then using free tools, design a printed circuit board, have it fabricated, solder the parts on the printed circuit board and then package it. Oh, and document your progress on the web site so that others can learn from your experience! We’ll even teach you how to solder and use a soldering iron (hint: don’t grab the hot end!)
- If electronics isn’t your thing, but you surf the web and know about this Internet thing — maybe you can help us in our efforts to support the Mount Union Community Library. They have public workstations in their library running Linux for the use of their patrons. The library can always use some additional support for their patrons as they use the Internet, and for updating and maintaining the content on their web site.
- Are you a Linux-geek! The Tech Lab has a customized version of Mint Linux that we’ve assembled and installed on the Library’s Patron computers. Mint Linux runs well on older computers that have been donated to the library, and don’t seem to have the virus infestation problems that Windows has. Our version has a “patron kiosk” mode that automagically resets the state of the “patron” user on these public workstations as new users start to use this shared computer. How would you like to help us enhance this distribution of Linux for the library’s use or for other public, shared workstations?
That’s just a sample of the sorts of things that the Tech Lab needs help with. There are surely many others, and we’d love to hear about ideas of your own. The common themes are
- Our educational mission. When you do something interesting and creative, we want to capture the process you used and the result, and have it be available to others that come later to learn from. If you make a widget, record how you made it so that others can build on that work.
- Service to the community – the clearest example is our support of the Mount Union Community Library’s technology needs. The larger community needs help, too. Can we bring free Linux operating systems for our friends and neighbors in the community to use on older computers that won’t run Windows 8? What about when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP early next year; is there an alternative environment that’s safe and secure that can be used instead?
How would this work?
Our Intern program is brand new, so we’ll be figuring that out as we go along.
We are physically located in Mount Union, in the Borough building above the Mount Union Community Library. However, we are open to participants anywhere nearby. Our initial focus is Huntingdon County, but we have an open mind. Much or most of the work that needs to be done might be done from your home? If you have a computer available and Internet access, you can work on the web site from pretty much anywhere; heck, the server itself is in Baltimore! Some programs might require physical presence; e.g., supporting library patrons in the library probably requires you to be there at the library in Mount Union. We are unable to supply any transportation, so participants will need to arrange for any that is needed.
Much of the work we do uses computers as tools. You can use a computer at the lab, or one of your own at home. A central part of an Intern’s activity will perform is documenting the interesting work that you do. This will help the Intern document the effort they’ve invested for their Community Service requirements as well as likely being a part of the “deliverable” itself so that others can learn from your work. So while we won’t be grading your spelling and grammar, we do expect high-school level writing skills.
You”ll be collaborating with some members of the Tech Lab who will give you direction and assistance when needed. How we do that is yet to be determined; either in-person meetings on a regular basis or we can use various online collaboration tools as appropriate. Do we need a wiki? (Maybe that’s a great project, to set one of those up?) How about Google Hangouts for real time video conferencing? Or Skype? Or maybe even an occasional phone call.
The ideal participant will not need constant monitoring and direction. They should want to engage in a project such that the Intern and the Tech Lab mutually benefit from the experience. The Intern will have an opportunity to learn new things that are already of some interest, and the Tech Lab benefits by having our mission advanced.
We both invest mainly our time, probably the most valuable resource of all. Neither the Intern or the Tech Lab should think that our time is being wasted!
Let’s have some fun! We have all sorts of interesting tech toys and junk at the lab, just begging for someone to put them to use.
I’m interested, so what now?
If being a Mount Union Tech Lab Intern sounds like something you’d like to do, then drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and In about a page of text or tell us a little something about yourself and explain what you’re interested in doing as an Intern at the lab. We don’t have a fixed schedule, so first-come, first served!
Tell us a little about yourself, your background in related areas and an experience you might have. “Experience” also includes relevant or related hobbies and interests! Do you have Linux on a computer at home you play with? Have you built anything with a soldering iron? Do you write software for fun? Do you have an account on GitHub? Have an amateur radio license? Can you help others understand computers, because computers are afraid of you and not the reverse?
Your document is also going to be used as a writing sample since we’d expect you to be able to communicate in the written form effectively to publish the results of your work. So think, write, proof-read and send us your thoughts.
We have not yet determined how many Intern positions we’ll have open at the same time, and that number could vary based on the applications we get and the areas of interest.