Video: Stemcel Chat Video Transcript

Video Transcript:

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Good afternoon and welcome to our STEMCEL video chat for Friday May the first. Happy May day everyone. My name is Jason Treadway I am the director of the STEM Institute for Dallas County Community College District.

Before we start this afternoon, I want to take care of a few housekeeping items first. Please make sure that your microphone is on mute. This is so that we can reduce the ambient noise coming across or picked up by others microphones and sometimes that can get distracting. So, you'll make sure that your microphone is on mute in order to be respectful of everyone's time our video chat will be thirty minutes today.

We plan to spend twenty minutes or so on the interview, and then take ten minutes of questions from the audience.

And during the Q&A time, please use the chat feature and type in your question. In the top right corner of your screen you can adjust your screen view.

I encourage you to set this on speaker view that way whoever is speaking will pop up into that screen and you can see them along also with the PowerPoint slide that's up.

Finally, just a friendly reminder that we are recording this session and we'll make it accessible for future use.

So today I'm joined by Elizabeth Smith and Josh Duttlinger from Hunt Consolidated, as well as Hayah Mohammed who is a North Lake student, and participated in the mINiTERN program this spring with Hunt.

So, for those of you that aren't familiar with the mINiTERN program it is a partnership between companies and the Dallas County Community College District. The program provides real world business experience and skills to students in a 10-week program where students work alongside a team advisor, act as a consulting team to evaluate a company or industry issue. Students interact weekly sharing project plans, questions, and findings with the host company employees. Project teams present their final analysis and strategic recommendation to the host company for a formal end of project presentation.

Which hopefully those that are listening were able to join us earlier in the week. We heard from Hunt, UT Southwestern and also the city of Irving. They all gave their final presentation. So hopefully y'all were able to join us for those.

So welcome, Elizabeth, Josh and Hayah. Hello, so glad y'all are here today with us.

So, how we do this is, this is [an] interview style so we've got some questions here and I'm going to go through the questions. They are broken down into three different sections. First section is going to be background about the program, the second section is going to be about getting involved, and then the last section there is what to expect. So, this is a student's first perspective and Hayah is going to share her experience with us from this past spring.

So, Elizabeth, and Josh, I kind of just read what the mINiTERN program is, but would y'all like to add anything? I want to add to that. So, what is the mINiTERN program?

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

So, Jason, you did an excellent job of stating out what it is. It's a ten week externship, even though it's called many terms. So, it's a mixture of onsite and offsite intern program that runs ten weeks. The students come in for one day, a couple hours out of the week if they do come on site and they perform most of the work offsite.

So, it's a kind of a hybrid between an internship and a research project, and at the end they present a final presentation to us of course.

This semester was a little different we've switched to fully online and that's how it'll be this summer, but the students were still able to present to the board and our group of executives, and we posted that on our internal a Facebook type page for other people to watch as well.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Nice. So, can you give us a little background about how the program got started? Because Hunt has been around since the very beginning, and actually I think this idea was one that was sort of born from Hunt. So, can you give us a little bit of background about how it got started?

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

So, it actually got started with the STEM Institute and Hunt. The STEM Institute came to Hunt and basically asked us is there something that we can do to partner with the STEM Institute and local businesses. Through several iterations and meetings we got to projects that are on the back burner of Hunt that are coming, but they may be five to ten years away. The future of drones was a big one at the time. How do we, you know, start to hear all these buzzwords about drones how could we use them in our business? So, let's give the students an opportunity to kind of do a deep dive on that and present to us.

What, how could Hunt and at the time it was Sharyland, which was our utility company. How could Sharyland use certain things or research topics that maybe we don't have the manpower currently to do, but we should start to think about.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yes, and the drone projects actually turned out to be one of the more successful projects.

Can you tell us a little bit about it more? I mean, from what I understand the recommendation that the students made was implemented by the company almost exactly to the T about a year after they participated.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah. So, the recommendation was to use drones to do inspections of our transmission towers instead of sending out crews with binoculars and they're able to cover so much more ground. I think we were averaging ten miles of inspection a day on foot, and we're almost, you know, thirty miles using a drone.

So, the return on that was amazing and within a year of presentation, we ended up implementing that saving quite a bit of money.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah, excellent. This kind of lends itself down to another question. We'll get to it in a minute, but you know the program got started with the Hunt and the STEM Institute, but I do want to just share that the program is open to any student whether they're STEM or non-stem and Hayah in fact is a business major so she'll talk a little bit about that when we get down to the last section there.

So, Josh or Elizabeth tell us about students. I am curious what the difference between an externship and an internship is. Can you kind of help debunk that and tell us what they should expect from the company side of things.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah. So an internship is usually onsite full time. You know think of a typical summer intern program, which Hunt does have, and then externship is more offsite and it's a research type project.

So, this is kind of a hybrid of the two. Unlike most difficult internships this is unpaid so that international students can participate. We feel this is the best opportunity for the most students to have the opportunity to participate in this program. We also view this as a pipeline into our internship program. So, we've taken several students that have participated in the mINiTERN program and actually placed them into our true summer intern program as well.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah that is a great point, because going back up to that second question there, how did it get started?

That was one of the things that I think I felt really strongly about was connecting locally to the student body and, you know, creating some kind of pipeline to where they could do an externship that could then lead to an internship that could then lead to either a part time job, or even a full time job, because I know some students have even joined Hunt on a full time basis.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah, one of the very first students that ever went through the program actually joined Sharyland utilities.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yep. Nice. So, this is, it truly is a pipeline to employment.

So, I think that's a pretty strong message to students is to know that not only are you getting valuable business skills, but you're also networking with company representatives and it's almost like a ten week interview because you know [for] the companies, those the students that really stand out during the program are oftentimes invited back. Then you also have another kind of Segway into this next question, which is not really listed here, but you do invite back people from previous semesters to serve as a student team advisor.

You want to talk about that Josh?

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

So, yeah the students that again building that pipeline, this program has been a good look at students that we see as potential future employees. So, students that have participated in the program, and they have time the next semester, or they've even done it this past semester. They might not be available in the summer, but in the fall they become available. We have them come on as an advisor, so they're a hybrid between us, a teacher and the students. They kind of give feedback and they know what to expect. They're able to be that peer advisor that really can be honest, and kind of give feedback and direction that sometimes you don't quite get from a teacher or business.

So, it's been a great role. It provides students a unique opportunity to kind of help manage. So, it provides a little different aspect, and just working on a project.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah. Very good point because it gives them the ability to as you mentioned, mentoring, but you also said something. There is a peer to peer mentor which is another valuable experience that students can get. So, will you explain the role of the students, the team advisor, and then the host company?

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah so, the student's job is to provide the research and then present on that research finding. For us we want to make a true recommendation. And this is kind of how it grew out of the STEM Institute to every major is as most of our majors are, you know, engineers and scientists and cost isn't really something that they're thinking about early on in their career.

So that is why we wanted to bring in business [majors], because the first couple of recommendations were "oh, yeah, just go with the most expensive" "This is the best." And so, a balance in a role between cost and benefit really provided more depth to the presentation.

The company provides the SME's, which are the subject matter experts, so they kind of help guide. All it is, is if you think about bumpers on a bowling alley, right? We just kind of keep you going down a path. There is no set agenda on our end on what we want you to present. I want you to present what you want to present; we just want to keep you on task.

And then the, the faculty advisor is there, because it is structured as a class and a learning experience. So, they are there to give kind of the tough lessons versus how you should act in the business that the business isn't actually doing. They're more of a teacher, because they're used to dealing with the student and they're able to use those moments to help teach and really provide a rapid growth in education on a busine

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[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Excellent. And then, as far as the team makeup, how many students are typically on a team?

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Usually, we try to shoot for four or five students per team and we run two teams per semester.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Okay. Yeah. That's another important thing. Another piece to this is that usually most companies will do two teams. Each team gets us a different project. So you've got two projects running concurrently and then there's four to five per team. If you think about that per company you're looking at anywhere between eight to ten students.

And I think we talked a little bit about how the projects are selected and Josh these are real projects. These aren't things that you sort of just create just for the purpose of the mINiTERN program. These are real projects. That's like the project we talked about earlier with the drones.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Right. Elizabeth's actually on the phone so I want to make sure she gets [a chance] if you unmute her on the phone.

I know this is a two-person job, and she really does most of the heavy lifting. So, I don't want to take any of the credit away from Elizabeth as well.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

So, yeah, we definitely, you know I did want to touch on. You mentioned that we do run two teams.

One thing about running two teams that we have learned is that it may be two separate projects, but the teams we keep they all participate in all of our meetings. So, that they can learn from each other. Things that one team is learning about XYZ, and the other team is also learning those traits and lessons, and then they can bounce ideas off of each other and it's kind of an internal sounding board for the teams to actually work together.

To your point on the topics we definitely do choose things that are on our radar that we just absolutely don't have time or resources to dig into most of these topics that are down the pipeline. You know three to five years away or technologies that we've just recently heard about that. We want to investigate a little bit further.

So, all of our topics absolutely are relevant to our industry, to our day to day work, and any results that the students have brought to us. I mean, I can speak for the thirty different groups that we've gone through. And while we may not have implemented all the different recommendations that teams have made they have provided more information to us than we could have, I have, dug up on our own.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah. And I just to add that Hunt is an energy based company.

So, we have oil and gas electricity, you know, anything energy related and the projects that we have sometimes are related and sometimes that are completely unrelated. We try to mix it up quite a bit. You never know what you're going to get and that's kind of the fun part about students when they join is most of the time it's not their area of study, and they come out, "man. I didn't even know you can do this, and I can apply my skillset this way ". So, the projects are vast.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah, and that that kind of gets us down to the next section too about do you have to be a STEM major to participate?

And I think we've talked about this, and you know you brought up a good point, Josh and Elizabeth you might continue on with this thought. The idea is that some of these projects require a business analysis. So, not only is it just an engineering student that's trying to figure out a new technology, or how something might work. As Josh said "recommend the Rolls Royce". Well, that may not necessarily be the in the best interest of the company. So, there's a really good balance between projects being STEM and in business.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

So, one thing that we, you know, Josh spoke to, when we originally started the program that we partnered with the STEM Institute and that is how we kicked off the program our first two teams were solely STEM based students. We quickly learned from those recommendations and from the data that they were providing, and the questions that they were asking. It seems logical when you think about it, but just that in a working environment and on a team, you need a rounded team.

So, you need different qualities and different attributes from each person. And so if you just strictly keep it to STEM base you're missing the artistic side of things, you're missing the economic side of things, and the business side of things.

And so we have found that you're adding the element of allowing anyone to participate in the program has really brought us value in that we've had a human resources major on a team that brought in an element of "oh did you guys think through the people aspect of things" and it's like we didn't. So, it's definitely provided us a lot of value to just incorporate anyone and everyone into it.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah, great point, because that's, that is how the real world work. It's not just a world of all engineers or all business people. We all work together and you know having students with different backgrounds is key to the program, but it is also key for their learning because it helps them see things from a different lens in a different perspective.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Yeah, and just to add to that I think Elizabeth tried to, you know, hammer this home. Every project is --both of us have an economics degree and we're not doing anything economics related. So, just because you have a major doesn't mean when you start your job that it might not evolve into something more and the more rounded you are -- that's the value.

So, if you're able to be molded and shaped, you know, companies will seek you out.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Exactly. So, we're going to fast forward, because we do want to hear from Hayah.

I'm going to take these questions here. The mINiTERN program is offered in the full semester, so the spring and the fall. Hunt also runs a program in the summer. Not all companies that participate in the program do one in the summer, but it's at least the spring and fall. And then also in the summer, sometimes. It's a ten week program and that's start to finish. It's ten weeks. The last week, of course, is the final presentation. So, there's a lot of work leading up to that. Your week is a little bit different than the weeks before because you're finalizing everything and getting ready for the final presentation.

I'm going to share with you as soon as we're going to talk with Hayah in just a second then after that I'll show everybody listening how to apply.

Elizabeth and Josh, are there any particular qualifications from students and do you have to have a certain GPA or certain number of credit hours to do the program?

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

So that's a really good question Jason. The application is fairly straightforward and fairly simple. It asks a few questions for example, why would you be a good candidate for the program? Why do you want to be a candidate for the program?

We do have a minimum requirement of fifteen hours and that is just so that we know that people are in school and going forward. Hunt's consolidated program is willing to take in early college, high school students, but that would be one student per team. We've had success with that in the past.

Then as far as your GPA we ask you on the application for range, but as far as how your application is judged it's just based off of your answers to the questions that you are filling in the blank too, and then your is just an added bonus onto it.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah, exactly right. So, really the meat, if you will of the application, are two questions that are geared around why the student wants to be in the program.

The criteria for selection really is a lot based on passion, because you can read that passion within those answers. If students just say "because I'm awesome you need to take me" that's not exactly answering the question.

So, really the application is just those two questions where you kind of talk about what & why you want to be there in the program and what you hope to get out of it.

So, Hayah let's visit with you for a minute

So, you're a North lake student, and you're also a business major. You participated in the program this spring, how was your experience?

[Hayah Mohammad, Student, North Lake College]

Okay, so overall it was a very educational and hands on experience. I learned a lot about how to work in a professional environment, how to talk to my teammates and talk to my superiors at Hunt. There were times when I was very stressed too, because when a teammate messes up it affects the whole team. If one teammate did really well then, they would be commended on it.

So, it had a lot of pros and there were many fun times. I formed this really good bond with my teammates and we're all friends, and we talk even now even though it's been a week or two since the program ended. I think that at the end it was all worth it.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yep, great. So why did you want to do the program? What was what was your motivation behind why you thought this was a good idea, because you know that kind of the downside of it is you're not paid. The upside of it is that you get the awesome experience like you just mentioned.

[Hayah Mohammad, Student, North Lake College]

Okay. So, I got the DCCCD newsletter about the mINiTERN program and when I opened it one of the prerequisites for joining it said that I needed a strong desire to gain professionals skills and work experience which is exactly what I wanted, because it's been a year since I came to America from Pakistan.

I had no idea how to work in the corporate world and I am a business student. So, what I wanted was some real hands on experience. I know that I gain them. I hope that I gave Hunt a good impression of myself because I'm going to come work for you in the future. Yeah.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:


[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:


[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Just a subtle hint there, huh Hayah. So, what would you say is your greatest [moment] from being in the program this spring.

[Hayah Mohammad, Student, North Lake College]

Okay. So, my takeaway aside from the great resume building is that I learned how to manage a team, because this program gives you multiple chances to be the leader, the team leader. While I was the team leader I did encounter some problems, but I also learned how to fix those problems on a professional level by consulting my team advisor, and our teacher adviser was Ms. Janet, and they were really helpful , and I feel like I was heard. They helped me get to it without me causing any problems with my teammates.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Excellent. Last question, I mean is this a program that you would recommend to other students?

[Hayah Mohammad, Student, North Lake College]

Yes, I would recommend it. It was a very fun program and I learned so much. I would never learn with months from my science classes or business classes. This was an experience that you cannot get in the classroom.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Excellent. So, I'm going to ask you a question that's not on here. I'm going to put you on the spot. So, if there was one thing you would change about the program what would that be?

[Hayah Mohammad, Student, North Lake College]

Oh, okay let's see. I guess I would give everyone like the chance to present and the chance to get individually remarks each week, because you know in a team you get commended as a team and sometimes you get commended as an individual person. Then if you were to get an individual, like, if they were to tell you what you did wrong, right? Individually each week then it would help you grow as a person more.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Okay, excellent, great feedback. Thanks for that feedback. I appreciate that. And that was not part of our scripted question. So, I thank you for being honest and giving us a really good answer cause that feedback is that not only Elizabeth and Josh can take away, but other host companies can take away.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

Jason, one thing on that just to just wrap that up and because you brought it up is that Josh, and I have found that we go through every semester, and we ask that question to students and put them on the spot. That is part of going back to your first question. That's part of how this program has been built is by asking students what we can do better and what we can change in the program, so it develops each semester into something new.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah, and this program has been in existence for quite a while, but it's kind of been a sort of a hidden gem within the district. Now we're making some good strides to expand the program and bringing in more companies. We hope to be able to grow it even further, so we'll be able to serve more students each semester.

Thank you, Elizabeth, Josh and Hayah.

We're going to now throw it out to the audience and do our Q&A session.

So, please, if you have a question for the panelist here if you'll just click that chat bubble, just type in your question and then I will try to get as many questions as we can.

So we do have one.

Okay, perfect. This question is from Edith. So, the question is in order to participate in the summer do we [students] need to be taking summer courses as well?

And the answer is no. if you were a DCCCD student in the spring, we know some students take the summer off, but it is open in the summer. So, you can join the program during the summer and not be a current student.

Kenny asks how do we apply?

And so what I'm going to do real quickly is see if I can manage this technology and bring up our website here. Yep. Okay. So hopefully, everybody can see this, so this is the mINiTERN landing page.

So, if you go to then in the search bar, right here, just type in the word mINiTERN and there's the word right there. I can also copy and paste this into our chat so that folks can get there easier. Then if you scroll down the page about halfway you'll see apply to the program. You'll see the company here. This is Hunt's. This gives you some information about the meetings. Right now, all of the meetings are going to be virtual meetings probably until the fall. We don't quite know that for sure yet, but all meetings are going to be virtual.

These are some of the past projects that they've done and then right down here is the apply button. So, you just click that apply. What that does is that launches a Microsoft form that is an application.

This question was about does it offer any scholarships?

So, the programs not really a scholarship program. What it is, it's more like Josh and Elizabeth were talking about earlier. It is more of a pipeline and so that pipeline can lead to a paid internship with the host company then, like we've mentioned in some cases, it can even lead to part time or full time employment down the road.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

I was just going to say we have seen in the past, too, that just one of the big benefits of the program is also building your professional network and so utilizing the professionals that the students are meeting in the workforce to write recommendation letters for scholarships as well, as give references to other companies for job applications as well.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah great Elizabeth, thank you. And then another question here is from Edith, can we participate even after graduating?

So, while the program is really intended for current students. A lot of students actually that are in the program are usually in their last semester at DCCCD. So, a number of students from the spring are graduating in May. So, it's really, you know, a lot of them are in their final semester. You don't have to be in your final semester, but that's just how it, how it worked out this time. So, you could apply after you've graduated, but it needs to be the semester after you graduated.

It's really not a program meant for students who have transferred onto a four year. It's really meant to serve our students, our student body. You being an alumni, we consider you part of the family so we definitely [could] open that up to you, and you could apply, but, you know, it needs to be that maybe that semester right after you graduate not several years after.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

Only students that we've seen in the past that have already graduated is when they graduate in May, and they do the summer program immediately following the May.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yep. Great. Yep, exactly. So, here is another question. When will the mINiTERN begin? What are the dates?

So, if you look here in this gray box these are important dates for the summer 2020. Applications, as you can see are open. May 22nd the applications close. May 27th, we send offers out to students. May 28th the deadline to accept the offers. That's the students replying back to us saying yes, we accept or no, we declined. Then the week of June first is when the program will kick off.

June first, that first week is going to be the kickoff meeting that will be with your team advisor, and your team members. The next week will then be with the host company so really that week, the week of June first is -- we call that week zero.

So anyway, that's when it will begin.

And then, here's another great question, is it okay to apply to more than one program?

The answer is certainly, yes, you can apply to more than one program. However, you're restricted to only participate in one program at a time. The reason being there is that we have limited space and we want to be able to accommodate as many students as we can. So, if we allow one student to take multiple spots, or take one spot on multiple teams, that would prevent someone else from doing it.

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

When you apply, if you get multiple offers, you'll have to accept one.

And so it's just like, if you're applying to a job, so if you applied to several jobs and you got interviews back and they all offered you a job, you have to pick the one and decline the other.

So, you can apply to as many as you want and then so, and then pick the one that best fits you either your interest or your availability.

[Dr. Jason Treadway, Director, STEM Institute DCCCD]:

Yeah. Great. Thank you. I appreciate that.

That's a very good point that when you may receive an offer to multiple companies, but you can only select one.

Then what if I'm taking a class at DCCCD while attending University?

Of course, you're a DCCCD student so you're welcome to apply to the mINiTERN program.

And then here, the last question that we'll do before signing off is how many credits should I have completed before applying to the externship?

The requirement is for you to have fifteen credit hours. Let's say you just started, this was your very first semester, and you took fifteen hours this semester then you can go ahead and apply for the summer , because at the time of application you will have earned the fifteen hours.

So well, I want to thank everybody for joining us today. We're getting to our cut off time here and we've done a little bit over.

Elizabeth, Josh, and Hayah, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today and for enlightening us about the mINiTERN program. As a reminder the mINiTERN applications for the summer are now open on the mINiTERN landing page which is currently up in our on our screen.

And then, lastly, I just want to invite all of you to join us next Friday for our Friday STEMCEL chat and we will be talking to Paul Oñate who is part of the Texas engineering academy will be learning about that opportunity for DCCCD students and how you can apply.

So, until then have a great weekend, stay happy, healthy, and safe. Thanks for joining.

[Elizabeth Smith Program Manager, Hunt Consolidated inc.]:

Thanks, Jason

[Josh Duttlinger, Project Manager, Hunt Consolidated, inc.]:

Look forward seeing some of you guys next semester.