Campus Community / People of SU / Science / Technology and Health

Partnership Offers Interns Marketability and Meaning

Written by Allison Nitch

September 8, 2022

Three interns posing with projects they worked on.

Image credit: Courtesy of Gary Fernandes

2022 SYEP interns (l-r) Jonathan Gromadzki, Biruk T. Sintayehu and Abdifatah (Abdi) Diriye

Seattle Youth Employment Program bridges the gap between high school and a career path.

The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) seeks to build a workforce of the future by providing youth access to paid internships and high-quality pre-apprenticeship training with Seattle’s top employers and labor organizations.

Since 2012, the Seattle University’s College of Science and Engineering has been a participating partner of the SYEP, designed to support youth and young adults (ages 16 to 24) that experience racial, social and economic hardships.

As noted on its website, the goal of SYEP is to increase young people’s ability to pursue meaningful careers that pay well.

“At the educational level and within CSE, there are always tasks that can be found that are available for newbies and require only minor supervision and training … tasks where youth can both learn and benefit the university,” explains Gary Fernandes, laboratory manager in Electrical & Computer Engineering.

“It’s really about where the intern can take themselves in a short period of time,” says Fernandes, who trained five interns this year. 

Topics interns cover include:

  • Entry level IT computer work
  • Electronics assembly and soldering
  • Computer coding such as Python
  • Video production
  • Working independently, including self-driving and self-training from the Internet
  • Professionalism and working with others
  • Presentations
  • Computer software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe products
  • CAD and 3D modeling software

“I enjoyed being given challenging problems and working on my own mostly to try to solve them. If I didn’t understand how something worked, I kept at it until I did,” says Abdifatah (Abdi) Diriye, an intern this year. “My favorite part working in the lab was working with goal-oriented people. Everyone had their own projects to complete, and it really motivated me seeing everyone working on their projects every day.”

Diriye, who created a video for SU during the program, says it was great learning how to setup a workshop and how to edit the videos interns recorded. “I gained a lot of new skills including editing, hardware setup and programming in MicroPython.”

“Participating in this SYEP internship with Seattle U has given me a much better understanding of the self-learning environment that comes with being in an engineering career,” says Jonathan Gromadzki, an intern this year. “In my participation I’ve learned many skills such as soldering, entry level IT, 3D modeling using Fusion 360, laser cutting and CAD design and I am currently in the process of launching our first Kickstarter project [along with Diriye].”

To learn more about the Seattle Youth Employment Program, visit: