VICTORVILLE – Since he was 10 years old, Joshua Marsden has been fascinated with designing things, and his father has advised him to choose his career early on. So he jumped at the opportunity when Excelsior Education Center began offering an internship program with Exquadrum, an aerospace engineering company creating innovative technology for government, military and businesses.

“I wanted to see what was out there. I thought this internship will help me decide which engineering field I want to get into,” said the 18-year-old Marsden, who recently graduated from Excelsior.

Excelsior partners with 21 local companies and government agencies to offer internships for students. The list includes the Daily Press, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Victorville city manager’s office among others. Most students shadow employees, but some get to experience the job.

“I think it’s critically important,” said Derek King, outreach coordinator at Excelsior. “The main thing is to make education realistic. Students really need to know what it’s like in the real world.”

Teachers hope the internships will help students make career decisions. Having an internship experience also helps participants get into college, King said.

One student who was looking to get into photojournalism changed her mind after working as an intern at the Daily Press because she realized the level it took to become a professional, King said. On the contrary, a 14-year-old girl interned at the newspaper and discovered her passion for journalism, King said.

Excelsior requires interns to work a total of 20 hours, but most end up staying longer, King said.

The internship program goes hand-in-hand with STEAM 2020, a regional effort to rally education, business and community leaders to inspire youths and young adults in the High Desert. One of the goals of the initiative is to address a lack of skilled labor in the community by strengthening the link between the work force and education.

“This area kind of lacks a sufficient base of engineering- and science-based companies,” said Eric Schmidt, vice president of engineering at Exquadrum. “When we are recruiting, we look to recruit in the High Desert, but in many cases we have to recruit out of the area to meet the requirements.”

Marsden is two weeks into his internship at Exquadrum now. When he first walked into the office at Southern California Logistics Airport, he got excited about the numerous patent certificates hanging on the wall.

Due to the inherent danger and confidentiality of Exquadrum’s work, Marsden will not get involved in the testing of products. But he’ll get to see Exquadrum engineers apply skills and methodologies they learned in college to solve problems in research and development.

He’ll also get to interact with college students interning at Exquadrum during the summer.

Marsden compared Exquadrum’s work to a superhero.

“The stuff they are researching and the mindset they have is kind of like what Iron Man does, creating things.”

Tomoya Shimura may be reached at (760) 955-5368 or Follow Tomoya on Facebook at

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