Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Mark Payne

Mark PayneMark Payne is an Aerospace Engineering student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach.  He transferred to Riddle in spring 2014 in order to study Aerospace Engineering.  Although he is fascinated by planes, the reality is that he grew up in a ship yard.  His father owns San Juan Towing & Marine Services, which specialized in commercial vessel repair and small scale towing.

How did you land the internship and how did you navigate the process?

Landing an internship for the summer was nearly impossible. The reality was that my GPA was just below the required GPA for most employers and I would usually be cut off because of that. After several months of constantly applying to most major companies, and calling many smaller companies, I had not heard any responses.

By late April, I was worried for obvious reasons. The idea of applying to as many as thirty internships and not even landing one interview was not very motivating. My father actually mentioned the fact that I should diversify. That is when I decided to look for a company which was not related to the aerospace industry. I found the International Ship Repair & Marine Services in Tampa. In order to “land the internship”, I scheduled a meeting with the company Vice President two days after finals had finished and was working the very next Monday.

What experience have you had and what did you do on your internship?

My experience was definitely unique. I had the opportunity to be rotated between three different departments. These were the machinist department, the quality assurance department, and the estimating department.

As a machinist, I was out in the field with the workers. I was able to obtain real exposure and got hands on shipyard experience. I was also able to learn how to use manufacturing equipment such as lathes and milling machines.

While working in the quality assurance department I was responsible for the visual inspection of drive shafts and propeller blades that were both coming in and out of the machine shop.

Working with the estimating department was my favorite. I was given the tasks of designing engine mounts for three ton diesel engines and a propeller stand which could hold a five ton propeller.

What advice would you give students who are contemplating doing an internship experience?

I would tell students to pursue any and every opportunity possible. Not only will they gain valuable experience which will make them better engineers and more hire able, but they will also, in most cases, be able to obtain engineering tech elective credit in an engineering student.

Talk about your learning experience both professionally and personally.

While interning, although my schedule varied, I was working 40 hours per week. While working with the machinist and job estimating departments, I had a 7:25AM to 3:55PM work schedule. While working for the quality assurance department, I was working by 6:00 and out by 2:30PM. I had a 1/2 lunch break.

Besides interning, I was also taking two of ERAU’s online classes. I was able to both work full time and take two classes. This was definitely a very big plus.

Would you do a second internship? Why? 

I have already begun applying for many internships. I believe that while one internship is definitely necessary, having two internships is even better.

What are the benefits you will take away from doing the internship when looking for a full-time career?

When looking for a full time career I will have the benefit of having prior work experience. This is extremely valuable in a very competitive job market. Having prior work experience is a very big plus.

Any other general advice to share?

As for advice, I have to emphasize that there is nothing more important than constantly applying to internships. If you’ve applied for twenty positions and think that you are done, think again and apply for twenty more. In my case, I was able to land an internship on my last attempt.

If you are unable to land an internship because of grades, take summer courses, either on campus or online. By doing so, you will improve your GPA and have a better chance of being hired when applying for future internships.

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Expo Success Story: Chao Zheng

Chao W. Zheng is an Aerospace Engineering major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach and just Chaofinished a summer internship with Rockwell Collins.

Below is his first-hand experience at the Industry/Career Expo 2013 held in Daytona Beach, FL.

My name is Chao Zheng and I am currently a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Over the summer of 2014, I was hired by Rockwell Collins as a Systems Engineer intern working in the Coast Guard & VIP Rotary Platform team. During my time there, I worked on two programs: 1) VH-60N/3D Presidential Helicopter “Marine One” and 2) MH-65E Coast Guard Helicopter “Dolphin”.

During the Embry-Riddle industry career expo, I checked out numerous companies but didn’t have any luck with any of the companies despite going through interviews. During that semester, I was waiting for a Boeing internship offer so I didn’t apply to a lot of other companies. When the spring semester came by, I told myself that I shouldn’t limit my options. That’s when I saw an email about Rockwell Collins coming on campus and they are looking for summer interns and co-ops.

Getting Hired

I first heard about Rockwell Collins through my high school’s Airframe & Powerplant training with their radio systems. Immediately, I went online and did some research about the company and was really impressed by the ethical working environment. So, I brushed up my resume from my COM 219 Tech writing class, went to the Rockwell Collins meet & greet and immediately got another interview offer the next day. At that time, I didn’t keep my hopes high because a lot of the applicants were seniors or graduates so as a sophomore, I feel like I didn’t stand out. So about one month went by, and I got an email from the Rockwell recruiter saying that I am one of their top candidates and requested to have an online interview with a team manager. Little did I know, my manager Matt Mulnik was the head of the Coast Guard & Presidential Helicopter team and one week after my interview with him-I was officially hired.

What I did as an Intern

As an Intern with Rockwell Collins, I was working on two Government Systems program under the rotary wings department. Throughout my 11 weeks internship, I spend about 70% of my time with the Presidential helicopter program and about 30% with the Coast Guard program. As a Systems Engineer, I was working with a couple of test leads performing testing on the helicopter’s avionics systems. Some of the test include: Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), Communication, GPS, Map updates, Radio frequencies, CSFIR (black box), engine simulations, overload systems test and quite a few classified tests. In addition to testing, I learned how to script programs using python that will automatically start the systems up and perform tests without an engineer physically starting the helicopter.

Memorable Events

The most memorable event on my summer internship actually took place in the longest meeting in my life. The meeting was a MH-65E Coast Guard Helicopter TRR (Test Readiness Review) and it is a three day meeting (8AM-4:30PM) where the team leads showed the Coast Guard customers what we will be testing for the next month. On the second day of the meeting, I was approached by one of the Coast Guard captain and I found out that around half of the Coast Guard serviceman and women were Embry-Riddle graduates. It was very surprising because it really showed me how big Riddle’s network really is. In addition to that, in the same meeting, I met another fine gentlemen who graduated from my high school back in the 70s with his Airframe & Powerplant licenses but he is a team lead for NavAir. During that simple exchange, I was really glad to be there because I feel like I belong there with all these alumni who really took their career into the next level.

Summaries and Lesson Learned

What I learned from this internship is the importance of team work and how learning in the real world differs from learning in a classroom. I was very eager to learn because everything was interesting to me and my colleagues have no trouble teaching me the many things that I don’t know. Some of my colleagues were part of the Black Hawk helicopter program back when it first came into production. I feel much reward to work with many engineers who had 20, 30 and even 40 years of experiences.

Due to the nature of my work and position, pictures and project samples were strictly classified and I am unable to share a lot of details due to confidentiality issues.

 

2013 Expo Success Story: Daniel Castrillo

Daniel Castrillo is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Daniel CastrilloAeronautical University and recently begin a co-op rotation with Gulfstream.

Below is his first-hand experience at the Industry/Career Expo 2013 held in Daytona Beach, FL.

I walked into the 2013 Career Expo week not expecting much; little did I know that by the time that week ended I would have set up my future with the world’s largest leading business aviation company. I had prepared weeks in advance for the events to come that week. In order to properly prepare myself, I attended as many of the Career Services events as my schedule allowed. Getting to know the Career Services staff is very helpful in preparing for the Career Expo due to their wealth in knowledge of obtaining a job at the career expo. Luckily for me, I had Sandi Ohman and Lisa Kollar as my UNIV 101 professors during my first semester at Riddle, and I will never forget how they inspired me to work hard for my dreams and obtain a co-op.

My first introduction to Gulfstream came in the fall of 2011 when they came on campus for the 2011 Career Expo, I immediately fell in love with the company and after sitting through their information session I decided to go up and talk to the Campus Relations Consultant, Cassie Batayias. After talking for a few minutes she invited me to interview with her and her team the next day. Although I could not receive an offer since I had just started as a freshman, it was an opportunity for me to network with some professional engineers and get familiar with Gulfstream’s interviewing process. The following fall of 2012 I applied for the Co-Op position with Gulfstream, I attended the Meet and Greet event they held on campus but mostly kept to myself and then attended the information session. I interviewed the next day with two of Gulfstream’s engineers for the position. Unfortunately I did not get the position and I was heartbroken. Being rejected from your dream job hurts and I almost didn’t bother applying the next year. Fortunately I decided not to give up on my dreams and applied again for the position the following year. I attended the Meet and Greet event that Gulfstream held in the Fall of 2013 and this time I tried to talk to everyone from Gulfstream that I could. I believe it is important to show them your face and engage them in an intelligent conversation so they can put your face to your name later on when they’re deciding who gets the job. I then attended the information session and stayed after to talk to Mrs. Batayias to once again introduce myself and converse with her.

The next day was the interview and I made sure to dress my absolute best. It is crucial to come into the interview with plenty of resumes, a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewers, a notepad, and a pen. To help myself stand out from the other students being interviewed, I brought thank you cards but did not fill them out till after the interview. After the interview was over, I sat down in a chair and wrote out my thank you cards, placing personal thoughts and ideas that stemmed from the interview. Make sure to thank the person for interviewing you and try to sell yourself in the card by repeating your strengths and what you can bring to the table for them. After finishing with the interview, it was time to wait. I attended the Industry/Career Ex[p the next day and went up to the Gulfstream booth to show my face one last time so that they could remember me, I talked to a few more people and left. After 3 of the longest weeks of my life, I was called by Mrs. Batayias with an offer to take my talents to Gulfstream. It was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life because with the Co-Op position there is a 95% chance of obtaining a full-time position with Gulfstream as soon as I graduate.  Not only because of that but because of all the exciting work I will get to be doing here at Gulfstream.

Overall I recommend preparing weeks in advance before the career expo, and talking to and listening to what the career services staff has to say. It was Sandi Ohman’s idea to use the thank you cards and I honestly believe they played a big role in obtaining the position. The best thing you can do is to make yourself stand out from the rest of the competition by any means possible.

 

 

 

Intern Spotlight: Fabio An

FabioFabio An is a current Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering student and completed his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, FL campus.  He is an active student on campus where he works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and is a leader with the Brazilian Student Association.  Understanding the importance of experience, Fabio worked for a full year with US Airways as an Engineering Co-op.

How did you obtain your internships with US Airways?

I found this opportunity on the Embry-Riddle EagleHire Network website. I had applied for the position through the website and was contacted by US Airways within two weeks to schedule an interview.

What were some of your responsibilities?

Fabio and wheelsAt US Airways I worked directly with three engineers: avionics, propulsion, and structural engineer. I was very fortunate to have obtained this position as I was able to gather experience from almost every aspect of the airline maintenance engineering. Working with the structural engineer, my main responsibilities were to provide repair instructions to the mechanics and ensure, mathematically, that those repairs followed FAA regulations. While working with the propulsion engineer, my main duties involved investigating the root cause for engines components failures and premature engine removals. Lastly, with the avionics engineer, I worked on projects ranging from avionics software updates to assisting in the implementation of Service Bulletins fleet wide.

What advice do you have for students interested in obtaining an internship?

Fabio with planeExtensively use the help of Career Services to ensure your resume is properly formatted and with the correct information on it. Additionally, I recommend doing mock up interviews; never be afraid to say you don’t know the answer for a specific question. I also recommend sending a signed thank you letter after the interview is done.  After I was accepted at US Airways, I asked my supervisor if he had received the letter I sent and to my surprise, out of the 40 candidates, I was the only one to have sent a thank you letter, I was told the letter was not the main reason for hiring me, but he said he was pleased to have received it.

Co-op/Internship Spotlight: Nathalie Quintero

Participated in an amazing internship experience.NQ

Featured in Boeing’s Women in Leadership Association publication as the BWIL Member of the Month.

Successful on-campus leader. 

Nathalie Quintero should certainly be in the spotlight for her various accomplishments.  Nathalie is in the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach.  She is President of the Society of Women Engineers ERAU Chapter, and she is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  She participates on the  SAE Women’s BAJA team and is a Women’s Ambassador Program and O-Team member.  As an active student on campus, Nathalie has served as a mentor for various student groups.  Nathalie also spent the summer as an Interior Payloads Configuration 747/767/777 Intern at The Boeing Company in Everett, WA.

Here is what Nathalie had to say about her internship experience.

Having the opportunity to intern with a global corporation, such as The Boeing Company, was an extraordinary experience this summer. This internship not only allowed me to see other possible areas within engineering, but it also allowed me to explore options into engineering management. This internship allowed to create connections and network with different managers along my commodity and different groups across the company. It has been an experience that will definitely benefit my engineering education and my future in the aerospace industry.

As part of the Intern Experience and understanding the customer needs to elaborate new Interior Configuration for our airlines customer, I visited the “Customer Experience Center” (CEC). This center showcases mock-ups of the interior configuration for the 787, 747-8i, 737, 777-300ER. They also have flight deck configuration, where the customer can experience and use a high tech aircraft simulator for the new 747-8i. The photo depicts me flying the new Qantas 747 and understanding flight controls for the new aircraft that is sky rocketing the market of long distance airlines.

CEC Tour 005

Co-op Spotlight from Summer 2013: Jason P. Alvarez

Embry-Riddle’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program at the Daytona Beach campus had 144 participants this past summer term.  Students gained practical work experiences in co-op or internship positions with approximately 103 companies in the U.S. and across the globe.

Jason is just one of the students whose summer was spent gaining valuable experience in an environment where he was being mentored and supervised by other professionals.

Jason P. AlvarezJason boeing

Estimating & Pricing Specialist Intern

Commercial Aviation Services Core Finance, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

My internship this summer in CAS Finance has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. My manager, Vance Bader, has been an excellent leader and has given me lots of flexibility to dive into complex projects and get a good understanding of how the business model works in CAS. Additionally, he allowed me to explore other fields (marketing, sales, finance, etc.) by conducting informational interviews with managers and the leadership team. These informational interviews have allowed me to expand my network, seek advice, and see how the other business units fit in the overall strategy of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

A few of the teams that I worked on projects for (besides CAS) were Flight Services and Digital Aviation. The Flight Services Estimating Project that I worked on with Kristen Roller was to clean up historical data and have it easily accessible to read and decipher. I broke down the costs to the right level of the specific business case activity and looked at costs by teardown, Jason another Boeingpackaging/boxing, shipping land, shipping sea, set up, and re-certify the simulator for training. The Digital Aviation Project that I worked with Rich Crowley was to contact AeroInfo, CDG, and ILS and see how they catalog and update prices for services. This project allowed me to contact the chief financial officers and ask them a variety of questions in order to gather the data for which I was looking.

My time away from work was enjoyable as well. For example, a lot of my time was spent outdoors (running, hiking, etc.) and traveling. I was fortunate enough to travel to San Francisco, Alaska, and Las Vegas. Also, I got to spend my 4th of July with my roommates/friends watching fireworks on the water and kayaking most of the day.

My time in Seattle has exceeded my expectations, and I cannot wait to return in the summer of 2014 as an intern in pursuit of an MBA!

Co-op Spotlight from Summer 2013: Antoine Daugny

Embry-Riddle’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program at the Daytona Beach campus had 144 participants this past summer term.  Students gained practical work experiences in co-op or internship positions with approximately 103 companies in the U.S. and across the globe.  Several students, upon graduation, have full-time job offers from the host companies.

Antoine is just one of the students whose summer was spent gaining valuable experience in an environment where a student is being mentored and supervised by other professionals.  Interns often have the opportunity to learn from the company or organization team members and network while working in a corporate culture.  They develop new skills and enhance others, including decision making, leadership and communication while making the transition from student to professional.

The photo was taken in a Falcon 7X just before engine start prior to a taxi test.

The photo was taken in a Falcon 7X just before engine start prior to a taxi test.

Antoine Daugny, Aerospace Engineering

Dassault Falcon Jet, Little Rock, Arkansas

Flight Test Engineering Intern

Here is Antoine’s feedback on his experience.

My internship was at the Dassault Falcon Jet plant in Little Rock. I was working for the Flight Test department, which was in charge of testing each Falcon that was produced, before it was presented to its future owner. My usual task was to prepare test orders to be performed during test flights, install test equipment in the aircraft (such as temperature probe and sound recorders) and process data gathered during flights. I also participated in some test flights and in troubleshooting problems.

This internship was very valuable as it introduced me to the flight testing world and enforced my motivation to pursue [a career] in that direction. This second rotation, I had a more “hands on” experience as I was working a lot on the aircraft itself. I learned a lot about the various systems of the Falcons which was my goal.

Co-op/Internship Spotlight from Summer 2013: Jeremy Asomaning

“You go to school for a degree that makes you marketable, but an internship can land you a career.” (JP Hansen, career expert and author of the Bliss List) 

Embry-Riddle’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program at the Daytona Beach campus had 144 participants this past summer term.  Students gained practical work experiences in co-op or internship positions with approximately 103 companies in the U.S. and across the globe.  Several students already have full-time job offers, once they graduate, from the host company. 

Jeremy is just one of the students whose summer was spent gaining valuable experience in an environment where a student is being mentored and supervised by other professionals.  Interns often have the opportunity to learn from the company or organization team members and network while working in a corporate culture.  They develop new skills and enhance others, including decision making, leadership and communication while making the transition from student to professional. 

Jeremy studied and analyzed  the existing structure in the 787 to determine which structures would be impacted after structural changes were complete. It involved the use of Boeing Software which was able to load the entire geometry of an airplane unto one’s  computer screen. He had to undergo a month-long training to learn how to use this and other software.

Jeremy studied and analyzed the existing structure in the 787 to determine which structures would be impacted after structural changes were complete. It involved the use of Boeing Software which was able to load the entire geometry of an airplane unto one’s computer screen. He had to undergo a month-long training to learn how to use this and other software.

Jeremy Asomaning, Aerospace Engineering

Structural Engineering – Design Intern

Boeing Commercial Aircraft,  Everett, Washington

Here is Jeremy’s feedback on his experience.

As a Structures-Design intern on the 787 Program this summer, most of my work was centered around performing a study on the structure in the upper half fuselage section, right above the wings of the 787-10.

I had to become familiar with and analyze the structure in this part of the airplane, which took weeks to complete, after which I documented and presented my findings to leadership on which structures would be impacted upon resizing some key structures within this area.

Working at The Boeing Company has been absolutely phenomenal. I had the opportunity to learn and be taught by people who were experts in their respective fields. I was also challenged by my project as it involved the use of new software to be able to successfully carry out the tasks assigned to me.  At Boeing, everyone worked together for the success of the project and that meant that you could walk up to anyone and ask them for their help or advice on what you were working on. People were just glad when you showed interest in what their work entailed or when you sought their expertise on a problem.

I also had the opportunity to work with other interns on a project which was highly beneficial. This experience with other intern teams helped me to better understand how iterative the process of building an aircraft is. There was heavy team collaboration which involved meeting regularly to discuss progress as well as challenges which kept springing up. One key thing which helped us to come up with solutions quickly to the problems we faced was the nature of our group intern project; Boeing gave us, interns, room to come up with solutions or figure it out. We were not restricted on how deep we could go or how broad we could extend our study to. Through this, we were able to develop an engineering mindset and come up with solutions which on some occasions had never been tried  or thought of by the company’s engineers.

Overall Boeing invested into me, giving me the opportunity to not only learn new skills but to think farther outside box.

Co-op/Internship Spotlight: Steven Bohlemann

photoSteven Bohlemann is a senior in the Aerospace Engineering program, concentrating on Propulsion with a minor in Aircraft Maintenance Science at the Daytona Beach campus. Through his minor, Steven is working on his A&P license. Steven has completed two internships to date and just started his third. His first internship was completed with GE Global Research in Munich during his junior year after a semester of Study Abroad in Germany; his second was with Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Component Services in the United States. Steven will be spending this semester working as a Service Engineering Intern with United Airlines in Houston, TX.

How did you land your internships, and how did you navigate the process?

I obtained the internship with United Airlines in their Service Engineering Department in Houston, TX as a result of the Industry/Career Expo. Make sure to go prepared to the interview; you don’t need to be an expert about the company but know simple facts. Also, the most important advice, I unfortunately realized a little late, is to BE YOURSELF in the interview. I used to think I would have to be exactly who I thought they were looking for, and this always made me really nervous. In my experiences, I have accepted three internships and been offered more; I found I had the best results when I prepared for the interview. While I change my daily attire and behavior to fit the formal occasion, I do not hide who I am. I clearly tell them what I love to do and why I am passionate about it, and if they ask, I tell them my deficiencies as well as dislikes. Remember if you play it safe, like I used to do, you will never be put at the bottom of the pile, but you will remain safely and jobless in the middle of the pile of applicants. You have to stand out. All of us, even us engineers, have unique personalities and sets of skills; let those shine through in an interview.

What have you done, and what will you be doing on your next internship?

I completed my first internship my junior year while I was having the time of my life studying abroad in Germany. I studied there for a semester, and the following semester, I was lucky enough to get an internship with GE in their Research Center in Munich, which at the time was one of their four Global Research Centers in the world. These research centers were where the next leap of technology were created, and it was incredibly awesome to work with those people. I worked in the energy production system department. I learned so much from this internship and really loved it. I became hooked on the internship experience.

My second internship was with Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Component Services in the United States. This one was far less technical when compared to my GE experience, but it was great to get another perspective on how the business and technical world coexist. I did a lot of reliability and performance studies of various components which was then presented to customers where financial consequences were discussed.

My third internship will be with United Airlines with their Service Engineering Department in Houston, TX. I am really excited to be able to call a hangar filled with airplanes, including the new 787, the office where I work.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

Do not wait; I regret not going to Career Services my freshman and sophomore years and not attending the career fairs. While you most likely will not get an internship your freshmen year, get out there and practice. I used to be a very shy person and was super awkward in these type of situations. The only way you are going to get over those feelings of fear and intimidation is to PRACTICE. Put yourself in uncomfortable and foreign situations; you will inevitably learn and grow from the experience.

Did your international status cause you any challenges in attaining an internship in Germany?

It was hard to get an internship in Germany as my conversational German was pretty fluent, but I severely lacked technical German language skill, which made it harder, but not impossible, to get a position. Where there is a will there is a way, and I got an internship and overcame the language barrier. My co-workers were patient and very helpful. I was even able at the end of the internship to give a 15 minute technical presentation in German, all thanks to their help and patience with me during my internship. Here in the US, I had no problem as I am an American citizen.

What are your career aspirations and have they changed since you started your internships?

Other than being able to accumulate technical knowledge and skills from internships, these experiences have also helped me decide what I want and what I do not want to do. For example, I never thought I would’ve liked to work in Research and Development, as I mistakenly used to think it would be boring and not hands-on enough for me. I was hesitant to accept my internship at GE’s research center, but ultimately I said, I am here in Germany to expose myself to new adventures, so I decided to accept the offer. There is almost no other event in my life that has influenced me more professionally and personally than my internship at GE. I desire to ultimately work in field service/support engineering or R&D. I like that both career paths are exciting in their own respects. I would either like to be part of a team in R&D which may develop the next technological breakthrough or in field service engineering where you never know what you will be doing that day, as you cannot predict the problem that lands on your desk. From my own experiences, I have realized I love creating and building devices which are solutions to difficult, out of the norm problems, and I enjoy thinking outside of the box.

What advice would you give students who are contemplating doing an internship experience?

Umm…why in the world is someone contemplating if they should or should not do an internship? As respectfully as possible, I would say it would be ridiculous and, frankly, not smart to pass up the opportunity to do an internship. The whole purpose of going to school is to become educated to ultimately land a job in the real world. While school gives you a great foundation, it amounts to very little if it is not coupled with real world, practical experience which can be achieved through an internship. Through an internship you convert the raw knowledge learned in school into practical useful knowledge and a set of skills for your career. Doing an internship does not remotely guarantee a job; it does provide you the opportunity to set yourself apart from the next candidate, and hopefully with some luck, it is enough to get your dream job.

Please tell us about your learning experiences, both professionally and personally. What are the benefits you will take away from these experiences?

I have been at ERAU now for 5 years; I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering with AOC in propulsion and a minor in Aviation Maintenance Science (obtaining my A&P License). When I look back on my college experience, I think of all the fun I had being part of the university soccer team, going to study abroad, great memories from various clubs, fun times with friends, and my internship experiences. These are the best times of our lives, so I cannot say enough, we should get out there and experience all that we can. Now is the time to try and pursue your different interests and truly see where your passion lies.

I can say my life changed when I went to study abroad, an experience which is by far the best decision I have made in my life. Not only did I have the most fun of my life, I grew as a person academically, professionally, and personally. My internship at GE Global Research Center in Munich was a great learning experience, as I was working for an American company in Germany, and my colleagues were from all over the world, to just name a few: Spain, Ireland, England,  Germany, America, Kenya, China, Mexico, Italy, Singapore and many more. This proved challenging in the beginning, as each culture was different, but what I took away was there were many different ways to get to the right answer, and you didn’t always have the right one. I learned how to work with a group of multicultural people and concluded that a diverse team may have initial short term obstacles, but I believe they are more effective and stronger in the long term than a culturally homogenous team. When employers ask me about a hard experience I went through or why I think I am a strong team player, I have a myriad of stories to provide them of evidence through the EXPERIENCE I had of living, studying and working abroad.

At GE, I was lucky to work as part of a team of scientists who took me under their wings, and they strongly impacted the person I am today and the professional I hope to be one day. I can say, I got my second internship as a result of my study abroad experience; they really liked that.  I took the lessons from GE to Lufthansa Technik, where I was mentored as well and was able to continue to develop my professional skills. These skills are invaluable to my career, and you do not learn these in school. You have to go out and experience these lessons, and hopefully, you do this before you begin your full time career.

Also, from my internship experience  and help from my advisor, I realized it would be a good choice for me to get my Airframe and Powerplant license to complement my engineering degree. I would have never done this had it not been for my time at GE, where I saw the value of not just designing some theoretical device, but also the ability to build it and comprehend the difficulties that come with constructing and maintaining components. I have definitely seen the benefit of pursuing my A&P license along with my engineering degree from employers this past career fair, as this was often the topic of conversation when I conversed with them.

I hope more students embark on adventures while in college, if that be through studying abroad, getting an internship, or putting themselves in some type of new foreign environment/experience, because not only will this make them a better professional  but also a more well-rounded person. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I believe we should live life to the fullest and experience all we can while in college, and that includes doing an INTERNSHIP!

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Matthew Vaughan

Matthew Vaughan, ERAU, Applied Meteorology

Matthew Vaughan, Senior, Applied Meteorology

Matthew Vaughan, a senior in the Applied Meteorology program at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus, grew up in the hills of Western Massachusetts in the small town of Dalton. Since preschool, Matt has had a strong interest in flying and weather, so he planned to become a professional pilot when he grew up. He attended Mt. Greylock High School, playing varsity soccer and tennis. Matthew was an active Mt. Greylock student; serving on the Student council, representing Greylock at Massachusetts Boys’ State, and delivering the commencement address  at his graduation ceremony were among his activities. Induction into the NHS and recognition as an AP Scholar with Distinction status rounded out Matt’s academic success before heading to Embry-Riddle.

At Embry-Riddle, Matthew continues to work hard on his academics. As a member of the university Honors Program, Matthew has the opportunity to work one-on-one with professors pursuing various research topics in meteorology and recently completed an internship with the NOAA National Severe Storm Lab. As president of both Chi Epsilon Pi meteorology honor society and the ERAU chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Matt remains active on campus. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports including tennis and archery, volunteering at the local HospiceCare, and reading. Matthew plans on going to graduate school for meteorology and hopes to stay in academia as a professor.

What was the application and interview process like for your NOAA internship?

Applying for the NOAA Hollings Scholarship Program was fairly straight-forward. The application was available online under NOAA’s Office of Education page. Eligibility requirements consisted of maintaining a 3.0 GPA, having U.S. citizenship, and majoring in a NOAA-related science field. The application called for 2 letters of recommendation, a resume, leadership experience, extracurricular activities, various honors and awards, and 2 essays. The essay topics concerned my career interests and how my academic pursuits aided NOAA and its mission. I sent in my application to be considered among the approximately 900 applications NOAA received each year, and fortunately, I was one of the 104 scholars to be selected.

After being selected as a scholar and attending the week-long orientation program in D.C., I was given a list of potential research topics at various NOAA facilities across the country. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) had some interesting experiments going on at the time, so I sent a resume and a letter of interest to a NOAA scientist there. Two other Hollings scholars and I were selected to intern at NSSL over the summer with each of us working under our own NOAA mentors. I travelled to NSSL over winter break for a site visit and a final interview with my mentors.

How did this experience help solidify your future career aspirations?

My experience at NSSL gave me an introduction to all the NOAA does to serve this country. Also, having NSSL co-located with the University of Oklahoma gave me an insider’s view of what it is like to work as a scientist and professor at one of the world’s most prestigious meteorology research facilities.

My research was an extension of what my NOAA mentors were working on at the time. We were attempting to improve tornado warning lead times by modeling a tornadic supercell within a high resolution computer model using geostationary satellite and local radar data. The scientists charged me to write computer programs and scripts to analyze the model output and determine how effective the simulation was at predicting the location, path, and strength of the storm. I wrote up my findings into a manuscript and am currently trying to publish the paper in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal. Being on the forefront of tornado research was exhilarating and has sparked an interest in research that I didn’t have previously.

“Research” was a frightening term before this past summer. It was a word that conjured up images of staying up reading technical articles all night and spending countless hours writing scientific papers. However, after being exposed to real research, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, I’m dead-set on going to graduate school and pursuing a Ph.D. in meteorology. I enjoyed the atmosphere at NSSL and OU, and I will attempt to find employment as either a government researcher or a university professor after I’m done with graduate school.

What was the most beneficial part of the internship?

Being at the National Severe Storms Lab was the most beneficial part of the scholarship program. Overhearing the office banter and discussions between the NOAA scientists there was incredible. The amount of information I gained simply by listening to the scientists was like an additional semester of 400-level courses. On the first day of work, a federal meteorologist from the Storm Prediction Center invited me to go storm-chasing with him that afternoon. Those few hours in his hail-dented Civic easily doubled my knowledge of thunderstorm structure and dynamics.

Also, writing a publishable article for a scientific journal was an invaluable experience for me. Not only did I learn new techniques in technical report writing, but I gained a significant amount of confidence from completing the manuscript. Writing long scientific articles and theses doesn’t seem like such a daunting task anymore. As a result, I’m greatly anticipating my time at graduate school and continuing my research.

 What advice do you have for other students searching for an internship?

The best advice I could give to my fellow students is to talk with your professors. I was a regular in my professors’ offices even as a freshman and sophomore. Ask about their academic careers and research interests outside of the specific course they teach. The professors here at ERAU are a cornucopia of information and can provide insights into the industry that textbooks can’t.

Lastly, increasing your skills as a public servant is an important part of your collegiate experience. Any government worker is, in essence, a public servant, and NOAA’s mission is all about serving the U.S. public. There was a strong sense of service among the employees I met when I visited NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Showing that you are a strong contributor to your community will make a profound impact on how a potential employer will view your resume, whether you are working to serve the public or a company.

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