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Student interns share experiences Sept. 30

Maximiliano Alaghband, right, and a co-worker working in a collaborative "flex space" at StartFast.

This summer, I had the privilege of partaking in a transformative experience: the CALS New York State Internship Program. This program goes above and beyond a traditional internship experience. It combines professional experience with community engagement, embodying the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s mission by connecting Cornell students with fascinating but often overlooked regions of upstate New York.

I interned at StartFast Venture Accelerator in Syracuse. StartFast is a tech startup accelerator program and a member of a global network of organizations that offer young tech companies mentorship, workspace, manpower (interns) and resources and tools. Working in such a dynamic environment and interacting with so many driven individuals striving to realize their dreams was truly energizing and inspiring.

In addition to testing out potential career paths in the tech industry and entrepreneurship, I was eager to make a contribution to my community, having lived in Syracuse for the past four years. This internship program was the perfect opportunity for me to gain real-world experience in community engagement and build marketable skills. For my community engagement project I partnered with a regional entrepreneurial organization, Upstate Venture Connect. I researched various approaches to better retain entrepreneurial students in the upstate region. Interviews with students from colleges across the region provided me with valuable insights and perspectives.

Join me and seven of my peers at our Fall Forum this Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. in 401 Warren Hall. We will present our internship and community engagement projects, representing diverse and intriguing experiences - ranging from agricultural work to city government.

Maximiliano Alaghband ’17