At UTEP (the University of Texas at El Paso), Connections to Your Life is a program that helps engineering students get pre-professional “experiences for résumés,” explained Juan Lopez, creator of the program. It can be simply referred to as “working while being a student.” Lopez described how he was inspired to create the program after being an intern for NASA. While there he learned how to build robot vehicles, study asteroid analysis, and the structures of rockets. He also developed communication, time management, and leadership skills. When he returned to UTEP, he and a group of friends shared their experiences through presentations explaining the ideas for the program to the dean of the university. "Because it was students helping students, he approved it,” Lopez said.
Before the introduction of Connections to Your Life, students weren’t aware of the importance of internships, but now the numbers of participants have increased for the second year. The program has been offered to other universities, but Lopez said that it would take some time because it is so new. Lopez also wanted to share that someone interested can find more information on facebook.com/utep.connections.