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A LaunchTN intern success story — Vandy student finds home at Yaya Scientific

As LaunchTN prepares to hire a new Talent Programs Coordinator, who will oversee the internship program, we’re bringing you a success story from last summer’s internship cohort. 

Vanderbilt student Stephan Gorgey turned down other job offers to become Yaya Scientific’s first full time employee in Nashville, thanks to a connection from LaunchTN’s internship program. 

“He turned down some really good offers to work with us — a startup — instead of a more established company,” Yaya Scientific Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Justin Baba said. 

Gorgey had been Baba’s student at Vanderbilt and then matched with him through LaunchTN’s intern program, which pairs students with high-growth startups, venture capital firms, or with regional entrepreneur centers across Tennessee.

The internship, which generally lasts 12-14 weeks, is an ideal opportunity for host companies like Yaya Scientific — which solves biomedical problems — to test to see if the student might be a good fit for future employment. 

And it allows the host company to go beyond a resume. It allows them to test more intangible job requirements, like how a student fits in with the work culture and values, Baba said. 

“A startup does not have the luxury of making the wrong hire,” Baba said. “We don’t have the bandwidth.”

There are other aspects of working at a startup that are different from working in industry, Baba said. 

“In entrepreneurship, you have a lot more say in what you’re going to do on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “It’s all-hands-on-deck and you’re going to get to do a lot of different things.”

Sometimes, there’s a mismatch between expectations and reality, and the internship allows that to get tested out. 

As for Gorgey, he said he saw an opportunity to develop his skills while staying at his hometown in Franklin. And the internship allowed him to know that he’d enjoy his role. 

“It gives you the opportunity to see a small company upfront, to get your hands dirty and see for yourself if it’s what you’re envisioning,” he said. 

You are now being taken to Startup Tennessee to view current events.

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