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Area student chosen for Sioux Falls internship

William Hinker

William Hinker, Mount Vernon, was selected to participate in the 2014 Interns in Industry internship and scholarship program sponsored by Forward Sioux Falls, an economic development partnership in the area.

Hinker is pursuing a bachelor of science in chemical and biological engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. This summer, he is wrapping up a design and construction internship with POET. For more than two decades, POET has been a pioneer and industry leader in the production of ethanol and other bio-refined products. They operate more than two dozen plants across seven states. Hinker spent much of his internship working at the Emmetsburg, Iowa, plant as Project Liberty prepares for its commissioning in early September.

Project Liberty is the world's first cellulosic ethanol plant. Working for POET at this historic time is especially rewarding for Poet interns in engineering and the sciences like Hinker. Through the study of their discipline, they can understand how a project of this magnitude has required years of research and process improvement and the expertise of hundreds of dedicated professionals.

Throughout his high school and college career, Hinker has balanced a busy schedule of work and campus activities, while maintaining an exceptional academic record. Hinker returns to SDSM&T this fall for his senior year and expects to earn his degree in May 2015.

Interns in Industry is a program designed to create links between Sioux Falls-area businesses and students currently studying in area colleges and technical institutes.

"One of our region's highest priorities is to provide young people with challenging and rewarding careers close to home," said Mary Medema, workforce development director for Forward Sioux Falls. "By connecting more students with strong companies in Sioux Falls, we demonstrate our continued commitment to create outstanding opportunities for these talented soon-to-be-graduates."

POET is one of 14 businesses that are collectively offering 50 internships in this year's program. "The number of business partners and internships is limited each year, so the selection process is always competitive," Medema said. "Each intern receives a $500 scholarship from Forward Sioux Falls when they complete their internship."