Campus: CSU Fullerton -- August 5, 2005

CSUF Students Assist Local Company as Part of Department of Defense Program

Cal State Fullerton students are gaining valuable, real-world experience as engineering, computer programming and human resources interns, thanks to a Raytheon Missile Systems and Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé Program, which encourages businesses, such as Raytheon, to assist smaller companies to succeed and grow.

Six engineering, computer science and business administration majors are interning at Cristek Interconnects Inc. in Anaheim through the fall. They serve as information systems technicians and programmers; mechanical, systems and quality engineers; and human resource representatives.

The Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé Program assists disadvantaged, veteran- or women-owned small businesses (or protégés) to successfully compete for prime contract and subcontract awards by partnering with large companies (mentors) under individual, project-based agreements.

More than 120 firms participate in the program, including companies specializing in environmental remediation, engineering services and information technology, manufacturing, telecommunications and health care, noted David West, subcontract manager for supply chain management at Raytheon.

In some cases, the mentor-protégé agreements include assistance from local colleges and universities and the use of student interns. In this case, West noted, the agreement provided funding for seven primary tasks where Raytheon and Cristek agreed there is a technical need with opportunity for improvement and growth.

“We found that a lot of Cristek’s needs could be met through interns,” said West. “Cal State Fullerton was recommended by Raytheon Fullerton and El Segundo and had the right student cultural diversity and technical background primarily from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.”

“Through an unbeatable blend of talent, creativity and enthusiasm, these interns have already applied their educational background to solving our real-world engineering, information systems and business challenges,” said Cristi Cristich, president and founder of Cristek Interconnects Inc. She launched Cristek in 1985, after working her way up from receptionist to product manager in another company. Today, Cristek has 140 employees and sales of nearly $20 million.
“It’s a great program and a terrific opportunity for our students to gain valuable experience and learn from those individuals in the field,” said Sergio Guerra, director of the university’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Engineering Program. “In a way, it’s a win-win-win-win opportunity for Raytheon, Cristek, CSUF and the interns.”

“The students are working with Cristek employees and Raytheon Missile Systems subject- matter experts,” added West. “They will benefit from the learning experience while earning a wage with a long-term goal of possibly becoming full-time employees at an electrical interconnects company providing products to prime aerospace and defense contractors.”

Media Contacts:
Sergio Guerra, director of CSUF MEP, at (714) 278-3702 or
Cristi Cristich, president, Cristek Interconnects Inc., at (714) 696-5201
David West of Raytheon Missile Systems at (520) 663-8673

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