Augusto Espinosa experienced the best of both worlds during his year-long stint as an Environmental Health & Safety Intern with Momentive Performance Materials in New Smyrna Beach, FL. While many students must wait until after their internship is over to apply the things they learned in the classroom, Augusto’s internship was local, allowing him the opportunity to incorporate experience into the classroom and vice versa on a daily basis.
What’s more, this May, Augusto will be graduating with a Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems and a solid year of work experience in the field he has decided to pursue.
What kind of work did you do as an Environmental Health & Safety/ Manufacturing Intern?
I was in charge of managing the EHS department at a small chemical manufacturing plant. I worked with the plant engineer to re-design different packaging lines and chemical mixing stations. We applied ergonomic principles to make the work areas more efficient and safer for the operators. I was also in charge of conducting numerous audits of the site to ensure that our operations conformed with government regulations. Every week I would be working on a different project.
As a local intern, you were able to take classes while gaining experience. In what ways did this benefit you, both in the classroom and on the job?
Being able to take classes while during my internship was a huge advantage. I would go to class in the morning and work the rest of the day. It was specially rewarding to learn certain concepts and then be to able to test them in a real work environment. Furthermore, I received a considerable number of graduate credits for my internship while getting paid.
What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?
Don’t be afraid to look for internships in different fields. My internship focused mostly on safety. Despite being a Human Factors student, I adapted quite well to the job and I was able to bring something different to the table. My employers really appreciated that.
What are your plans upon graduation?
I have come to really enjoy my work at Momentive. For this reason I hope to be working in safety or industrial engineering after graduation.