While winging my way last month to Phoenix for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, I pondered a pair of dilemmas. One is finding ways to employ emerging science and engineering talent before these students receive their degrees. The other is finding good test subjects to put the latest embedded design through its paces. The solution might be to pair these together.
It takes an inquisitive mind to test systems. It's also very helpful if this type of research is well documented. Research firms will be glad to set up trials with novice testers, but this can be expensive. And in many cases, it's difficult to translate tester response to something that will be useful to the designer.
Of course, taking a student or two under your wing is no easy task either. But the benefits can be great for both the students and your organization. Co-op programs have proven their worth at the college level, and similar programs can produce these benefits at the high school level.
I can say from personal experience that the research and writing abilities of students tend to be an untapped resource that companies can use to their advantage. Just ask some of these students if they would rather earn minimum wage for hands-on tech work. You never know what might turn into a science fair project or an engineer.
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair