UNM Rainforest Innovations has trained over a hundred UNM students over the years on university technology transfer and commercialization through its student internship program. Students develop excellent professional skills and a better understanding of the intersection of business, science, and law. These students add immense value to UNM Rainforest Innovations, and their unique backgrounds and interests diversifies our innovation ecosystem.
Our featured intern this month is Kaitlin Bunzel. She joined UNM Rainforest Innovations in the summer of 2020 as an Innovation Intern. “I am an innovation intern, so I write NCS’s which are summaries on the technologies. I also put together mailing campaigns and novelty searches. I also do data entries quite a bit because I enjoy it. Here and there I will do a special project for someone at the office”.
Many of our interns in the past have found the internship through online job postings, but Kaitlin found the internship through unconventional means. “I had applied to a scholarship and for that I had to have a meeting where I talked to the board members in charge of the scholarship… The man running (the meeting) mentioned that I was looking for employment opportunities as well. After that I was sent some information about the job and its requirements, and it seemed really interesting, so I applied.”
When asked about what she enjoyed most about her job, she said, “First, I really enjoy learning about a wide variety of technologies. I have ADHD and with repetitive work my brain can get bored, but since it’s always a new tech I’m learning about, my brain stays interested. I really appreciate that about this job because many jobs are very repetitive and stationary. Here I feel like I’m always growing and always learning. The second thing that is my favorite part about this job is the people. The people I have worked with have treated me with respect and are amazing communicators, I have only worked in fast food before and so I have been consistently shocked at how well everyone here treats me and each other. It’s a very professional workplace but not only that, it is friendly as well. I was hired over quarantine, so I’ve only met people over zoom so I’m sure in person it’s an even warmer environment.”
Kaitlin was born and raised in New Mexico and recently moved to Albuquerque from Rio Rancho. “I just moved to Albuquerque last year and its very different to Rio Rancho. I really enjoy the art everywhere and how many cool things there are to do in the city. Most of my family lives in New Mexico as well; I’m the third generation in my family to attend UNM.” Kaitlin is currently a sophomore at UNM studying post-secondary education with goals of becoming a teacher. “I want to become a teacher because I think there are many faults in how we teach children. I believe these issues cause children to be disinterested in subjects that are incredibly interesting if they’re presented the right way. I want to get kids excited about what they’re learning, and I believe I have the insight to do that. My whole life I have analyzed and critiqued my teachers and the education system as a whole. I love learning but there are major issues that students have to face that get in the way of enjoying learning. I want to become a teacher to help fix those problems or at the very least, create a space in which kids can be excited about learning.”