Going into college, Matt Lamsey didn't expect to work with the nation's largest defense companies as a programmer. But now in his senior year at the University of Tennessee, he's doing just that through Catalyst Campus’ Space 'CAMP' program.

Catalyst Campus is a hub for Pikes Peak region defense businesses vying for government projects. The campus was created to facilitate collaboration between the companies.

Lamsey is one of 19 students in the Space 'CAMP' (Commercially Augmented Mission Platform) internship program, which emphasizes programming and aerospace engineering. With such rich talent in the Springs for the summer, Catalyst hopes to entice the students into returning to the area.

“These are some of the créme de la créme from all over the United States,” said Danielle Hester, head intern engagement member. “Our hope is to engage them and attract their talents to the Springs once they graduate.”

Lamsey has been proving his talents for months in several projects, and he says he definitely is considering staying here long term.

"I didn’t really know a lot about the Springs before I moved here, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the amount of big companies here,” said the 22-year-old mechanical engineer. “There are a lot of opportunities for young engineers to really break into the aerospace industry here.”

Besides, Lamsey said, “Colorado Springs is a fantastic place to live. I'm really enjoying the outdoor stuff.”

But to keep their interest piqued, Hester and her team work to constantly keep the interns engaged.

“Every two to three weeks, we do the equivalent to a TED Talk called a ‘Tech Talk’,” she said. They partner with professionals from the Air Force Academy “to talk about their services and what makes them unique to show them what makes Colorado Springs unique.”

Hester’s team also holds social activities such as team escape rooms.

While the activities are fun for Lamsey and the other interns, he said he finds his work especially fulfilling.

"The work itself is really rewarding. I feel like I’ve really grown a lot as a person and professionally. Hearing about it before, I expected to learn a lot. But my expectations have definitely been met — and maybe even exceeded.”

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