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.


Industry/Career Expo Success Story: John Lobdell

By John Lobdell

John is a First Year student in the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus

DSC_2692The Industry/Career Expo is one of the most publicized events on campus. Starting from the time you arrive in early fall, you are constantly reminded of it through e-mail, posters, teachers, and even certain organizations. And for good reason–some of the top aerospace companies in the world attend, looking for students to hire as interns or full-time employees. It’s an amazing opportunity–but one that is highly competitive, as hundreds of students are contending for the same positions. It’s really quite frightening to think about the odds of actually obtaining one of these positions; because of this, many students–especially freshmen–feel as though it’s pointless to even try. I was one of those freshmen for a while.

It didn’t take long from the time I arrived on campus to realize how big of an event the Expo was going to be, from all the advertising. Fairly early on, I knew that I wanted to attend, but actually getting an interview–much less a position–with one of these companies was far from my mind. I was a freshman after all, and freshmen don’t get internships. The idea of getting an internship for the summer after my freshman year didn’t even cross my mind until I actually met an upperclassman who had gotten one his freshman year. At first it was just a small thought; I figured it would be a great experience to get an internship my freshman year, but I also thought it highly unfeasible. Then I met several more upperclassman who had gotten internships their freshmen years, and I started to think that maybe it was possible.

At that point, the idea really started to sink in. Rather than just a thought, it became a goal. I realized how unfeasible it was, but I was determined to at least try. That way, even if I failed, I would still have a much better idea of what I needed to do for next year. But I really didn’t know what to expect at the Expo, and had no idea how I should prepare. I decided that the best thing would be to go to one of the Expo preparation sessions, hoping that it would give me at least an idea of what to expect. Little did I realize just how helpful one of these sessions would be. They went over everything from what to expect from the recruiters, to how to format your resume, to what to wear, and everything in between. By the time the Expo came, I had gone to several of the different sessions and was feeling quite prepared. And then, after weeks of waiting and preparation, it was time for the Industry/Career Expo.

On the day of the Expo, I was feeling quite confident. My resume had been polished several times over, I had a nice suit that looked professional, I knew exactly who I wanted to talk to, and I had a general idea what to expect from them. I arrived at the ICI Center, walked in, and suddenly… lost all confidence. How could I honestly have thought that I could get an internship? I hadn’t built up my resume nearly enough to be competitive. I began walking around, eying out the different companies. Finally, I got up the courage to go up to one. Figuring that I was ready, I decided to go to one of the companies that I had researched before the Expo. I got in line and waited until it was finally my turn to talk to one of the recruiters. I walked up, shook his hand, handed him my resume, and got so nervous I couldn’t remember what I was going to say. I mumbled and stuttered every time he asked me a question and am fairly sure that my words were not completely coherent. It was a disaster.

I felt pretty unconfident after I finished talking to that first recruiter. I lost all hope of getting an internship. I was just too nervous to be able to accurately display myself to recruiters. So I decided to just go to various companies and practice talking with them. I went to several companies, but although I was slowly growing more used to talking to the recruiters, I was still nervous, and it was obvious. Soon it came time for me to leave for my first class, so I decided that I would visit one more booth before I left. I had noticed General Electric‘s booth earlier in the day and decided that I would talk to them. As I began walking to the booth, I started to think about some advice that a friend of mine had given me before the Expo. “Be yourself,” he said.  So I decided to go up and talk to the recruiter not as a recruiter, but as a friend…someone I knew. When I got to the booth, I walked up to the recruiter and just had a normal conversation with him. By treating him as a friend, I was able to dispel the nervousness. He asked me a few questions about my resume, and at the end, he pointed to the top of my resume where my phone number was, and asked, “Is this where we can reach you?”

Later that day, I got a phone call asking if I could come in for an interview the following afternoon. I, of course, accepted. That night, I did as much research on GE as I could in order to prepare for the interview. I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Going into the interview the next day, I was prepared with not only as much information as possible, but also the same mindset that I had when I had talked to the recruiter the previous day. Treating the interviewer as just another person that I can have a normal conversation with helped once again calm my nerves and allow me to accurately represent myself. The interview went well, and I left feeling quite confident. And about a week later, I got the e-mail offering me a summer internship with GE.

It is not impossible for a freshman to get an internship, as I can attest to. If you want one, you will be able to get one; you just need to put in the effort. Many freshmen feel that they don’t have enough experience to get an internship, but the truth of the matter is that companies that hire freshmen interns realize that they won’t have experience. What these companies are looking for is not a vast amount of experience, but passion…passion about what you do and about what they do. And they are also looking for people who can just be themselves. So when you talk to either a recruiter or interviewer, just be yourself, and show off all of your skills and talents. Find a way to weave in what you’re passionate about, in particular if it has to do with the job position. When all you have to go with is a resume, it’s a little more difficult, but the same concept applies. Get involved with clubs and activities that correspond to your major or your desired career. Not only will these things provide invaluable experience, if you are truly passionate about your major, they will also be enjoyable. And having them on your resume will show that passion.

Finally, one of the keys to getting an internship is being prepared. Do your research on whatever companies you may be interested in. And take advantage of Career Services and all that it offers. The sessions on what to expect at the Expo were invaluable to me; I doubt I would have gotten the internship had I not gone to them. They tell you exactly what to expect, and they give you many useful tips to help you get an interview. Make sure your resume has been polished several times over as well; a poorly formatted resume can give a bad impression to recruiters and may keep you from getting the opportunity to express yourself more fully through an interview. I encourage everyone, especially freshmen, to aim for an internship because as long as you are willing to put in the effort, there is nothing stopping you from obtaining one.

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: 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.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Gonzalo Canseco

Gonzalo during the delivery of the 1st Boeing 787 to launch customer ANA.

Gonzalo during the delivery of the 1st Boeing 787 to launch customer ANA.

Gonzalo Canseco graduated from the Daytona Beach campus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in May of 2006 and holds multiple degrees, which include Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautical Science, and Applied Meteorology. And yes, there is a story for all the degrees, but you’ll have to contact Gonzalo if you want to know the details.

During his time at Embry-Riddle, Gonzalo did two internships, first with LAB Airlines as an aircraft dispatcher for Boeing 727/737 and Airbus A300 aircraft and later as a Certification Engineer with Kosola & Associates working multiple Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) projects on commercial aircraft (B727, B737, B747), helicopters (Sikorsky S-92, Eurocopter EC135), and structural testing.

In June of 2006, Gonzalo joined Labinal/Safran Engineering Services as a Requirements Validation and Verification Engineer and was later promoted to his current position as a Certification Engineer in 2007. In November of 2011, Gonzalo was given the delegation of Authorized Representative (AR) by the Boeing Regulatory Administration on behalf of the FAA (Designated Engineering Representative – DER delegation).  This delegation allows Gonzalo to approve engineering designs that show compliance with the airworthiness regulations. During his time at Labinal, Gonzalo has supported and helped achieve critical B787 milestones, including engineering requirements verification, type certification with the FAA and EASA regulatory agencies, and multiple customer introduction certifications. Gonzalo continues to be involved with his role as an AR in the B787 program for customer introductions and the new 787-9 model. In the Safran Engineering Services division, Gonzalo has also supported STC programs such as an avionics upgrade with Heli-One for the Los Angeles Sheriff Department on Eurocopter Super Puma rotorcrafts and most recently a military modernization of Eurocopter rotorcrafts for the Brazilian Army.

Gonzalo holds an FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate with Single Engine, Multi Engine, and Instrument ratings and an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License. He currently resides in Everett, WA together with his wife Darcy and their two dogs.

Tell us about your position with Labinal/Safran Engineering Services.  How did you get this opportunity? 

Labinal came to Embry-Riddle to interview for design engineer positions, and when I interviewed with them, the recruiter noticed my previous experience working in certification with a DER (internship with Kosola); plus I had also expressed my interest and goal to one day become a DER myself. A week later when decisions were being made, I was asked to do an additional interview with the Director of Certification since they had an opening for a requirements engineer, and when asked if that was a career path that I would be interested in instead of design engineering, I had no hesitation in saying yes!

Seven years later, my career has progressed much quicker than I ever expected. As a certification engineer, I get involved in all aspects of design projects, from the early planning phases when the certification plan and agreements are reached with the regulatory agencies all the way to design reviews and aircraft inspections to ensure that the final product meets the applicable airworthiness regulations.

Gonzalo and his wife Darcy during the delivery of the 1st Boeing 787 to launch customer ANA.

Gonzalo and his wife Darcy during the delivery of the 1st Boeing 787 to launch customer ANA.

What is one of the most interesting/exciting parts of your position?

This position allows me to work on several different projects at a time, from the Large Transport Category and modern Boeing 787 to small rotorcraft modifications and upgrades in both the civilian and military worlds.

There is always something exciting going on with this position, but the one that I enjoy the most and which brings the most satisfaction is being part of the review and inspections process to ensure that our designs comply with the airworthiness regulations. For this activity we perform design reviews of all the 3D models, 2D drawings, and process documents and in most cases are also required to do on-airplane inspections before it can be certified and delivered to the customers. As an AR, I also have the responsibility to sign the required FAA forms stating that our design is in compliance.

At the end of the day, I see our job as making sure the final product is safe for the airlines and passengers. We take this job very seriously and also take pride in it.

What attributes and accomplishments do you feel led to your success as a Certification Engineer at Safran Engineering Services?

There are many things I learned during my time at Embry-Riddle that have helped me progress in my career that it would take a lot to write them all, but I think these are some of the more important ones:

1. There’s a lot more than just studying and memorizing things in college:

  • Learn how to work with diverse groups; you will be doing that for the rest of your life in the engineering world. I had the opportunity to get a lot of experience in this area by working as a Resident Advisor and Resident Director in the housing department as well as with our Preliminary Design and Senior Design projects.
  • Get involved in campus organizations; get a part-time job; get internship experience. They will all make you a well-rounded individual and better candidate for most companies. I can honestly say that without the internship I did while at Embry-Riddle I would not be where I am today.

2. However, don’t forget the studying part:

  • Not every single thing you learn in school will be used in each individual career, but it will make you an overall well-rounded engineer who can have educated conversations on any technical topic with other senior engineers, technical managers, etc. This will make you stand out among your peers and help you advance in your career. I was able to experience this first hand when I got selected as an AR candidate and had to interact with several mentors and advisors all of whom had different backgrounds (mechanical engineering, systems engineering, etc.).
  • If you want to be a good aerospace engineer, get some actual flying experience (i.e. take a private pilot’s ground school, some Aeronautical Science classes, or even better get your license). Something I see a lot is people that know all the engineering models and techniques but have no clear understanding of what it really means to be at the command of an aircraft, what it feels to be in the shoes of the pilot, and that can limit your capabilities to contribute as an engineer. In my case having a pilot’s license allowed me to become a more valuable employee and has come very useful when trying to explain the effects that some designs and failures can have on the aircraft and on the pilots.

What advice do you have for current students to help them succeed post-graduation, based on your experiences?

  • Learn to be patient; most design projects in our industry can last several years, and they don’t get done in one semester like they used to in college. Also, when dealing with promotions, if you become anxious in a couple of  years when you are not seeing progress in your current job and decide to move to another company, you probably have to start all over again, when waiting an extra year could have made the difference at your existing job.
  • Take challenges at work; everyone does their normal 8 to 5, but to stand out you have to be willing to take challenges. That project that your boss wants as an improvement and no one else is willing to take may be the one that gets you recognized and on a better career path. Also, taking challenges will force you to learn new things and become a more valuable employee.
  • Always have a positive attitude. Yes, I can guarantee you that there will be stressful days at work, tough co-workers to deal with, deadlines to meet, and many other things that will make you forget why you even got into this job. But becoming bitter will not solve anything. Instead remain positive and look for ways to improve the design, improve the process, improve the work relationships, or improve the schedules. There is always room for improvement, and as an engineer, that’s one thing you should always remember.

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!

Conference Spotlight: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Annual Convention

by Kristy Amburgey

DSC_3557Attending conferences and events is an excellent way to professionally network, learn new information as related to your career and identify employment opportunities.  The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 39th Annual Convention, to be held March 27 – 31, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a great example of an event where you can both personally and professionally grow.  In fact, the annual NSBE conference, and the many events they host throughout the year, has resulted in great success stories for Embry-Riddle students and alumni.  Two such success stories come from Marie-Jeanne Steady Ndiaye (or MJ) and Vincent Bell.  We asked both of these alumni to share their experiences with the NSBE Convention.

Why did you decide to attend NSBE in 2012?

MJ: It was a very simple and pragmatic decision to come to. As an undergraduate student, I tried to attend as many professional conferences /conventions as I could; it is the best way to meet industry leaders and others who share your enthusiasm about your field.  The other reason why I attended the convention is that I quite frankly liked not being the “odd one out”. There typically aren’t many minority attendants; there’s this belief that we are not interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), so it’s nice to be reminded it is just a “myth”.

Vincent: I decided to attend the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Convention in 2012 after talking to Mr. Mark Lyden about working for The Boeing Company at the end of February or early March 2012.  He told me that Boeing and various companies go to the convention to hire knowledgeable minorities.  So my main reason for going was to obtain a job after graduating from ERAU.  However, I also saw an opportunity to present what I was working on at that time at the conference when I saw there were so many cancellations in the conference presentation schedule.

What was the conference like for you?

MJ: It was a bit overwhelming at first because there were thousands of attendees rushing and buzzing around. There was a multitude of sessions, workshops, and discussions panels. I just didn’t know how I was going to make the most of the convention and what events to attend. All I knew was that I wanted to take it ALL in!

Vincent: The conference was great, and I had an unbelievable experience.  The first day that I got there I met up with couple of other ERAU students.  And Mr. Lyden, who I had been in contact with prior to the convention, wanted to meet with all the ERAU students that attended the conference, and he invited us to an exclusive Boeing talk, to where we were able to talk to Boeing managers and Boeing engineers that came for the conference.  The second day I ended up presenting on what I was conducting research on with Dr. Bereket Berhane.

Everyone that has been to an ERAU career fair would enjoy the NSBE Convention.  The convention is one huge career fair with so many engineering companies/firms and graduate schools trying to get qualified students to come to their program and study. Plus this gives the companies opportunity to see what you know by means of presentation.  For example, after my first interview, which was with Boeing, I invited my two interviewers to my presentation, and one actually came.  So it was great experience for your potential employer to see what you know and how well you can present information to others that may or may not be as knowledgeable on the subject at hand.

Overall, it was great, and the feedback I received was amazing.

Where there any outcomes from NSBE Conference?

MJ: Definitely! I really enjoyed the Educational Sessions, including:

  • Professional Development sessions –  provided me with soft skills to my academic and professional career ahead
  • Mentoring sessions – provided a framework that I used for my grad school selection/application process. That session also helped me outline for myself how I wanted to maximize my grad school experience
  • Outreach sessions – we had an opportunity to interact with local high schoolers, conducting experiments and answering questions about different STEM fields. This sparked my interest for Science Outreach and more specifically promoting Space Ethos. So much so, that when I started working at the Kennedy Space Center, I joined the Speakers Bureau, which is a group of volunteers who represent the center at civic, professional, educational, and other public events. Bureau members are exceptionally qualified to discuss general and specific aspects of the activities and technologies associated with the space flight program

Vincent: Of course the big aerospace companies were there (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and others).  So I earned 5 interviews in those three days: Boeing, Raytheon, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, and Texas Instruments.

The interview with Northrop Grumman was for thermal analysis engineering, and I never heard anything back from them.  The Texas Instruments interview was for mechanical engineering.  Texas Instruments never contacted me back again.  The interview with Goldman Sachs was for financial analyst, where, if I received an offer, I would be inspecting engineering project funding.  I had a follow up phone interview but ultimately did not receive an offer.  The interview with Raytheon was for Navigation, Guidance, Control (GNC) engineering and with the Raytheon Missile Systems.  Raytheon Missile Systems actually flew me to Tucson, AZ for a hiring event with about 100 other applicants for various job openings.  I ultimately received a job offer with them.  My interview with Boeing was for a fuel system engineer.  The day after this interview, I was told that I would receive an offer within the month for a job with Boeing.   I took the job with Boeing over Raytheon.

Why should students/alumni attend this conference?

MJ: Three words: networking, development, and exposure! I think that is pretty self-explanatory. If you are a black engineer, you NEED to attend the national convention.

Because the National Convention focuses mainly on the big 4 (Electrical, Mechanical, Software, and Civil Engineering), I would strongly urge ERAU students with interest in space to join the NSBE Space Special Interest Group (commonly referred to as Space SIG). It is one of NSBE’s star programs and is opened to college students as well as alumni.

They are actually hosting a conference in January, Space Technology Session 2013 (next one won’t be until 2015!) that is unlike other conferences in that it is actually a hands-on engineering session.  Participants are divided into groups with each group being assigned to work on a pre-defined set of deliverables for one of NSBE’s space-related technical projects.   It offers students an opportunity to work in an apprentice-like setting with industry engineers, managers, and scientists. This is how I developed and honed my technical proficiency!

Vincent: Students and alumni should attend this conference because companies come to this convention to hire participants.   Knowing that you have a huge chance of getting hired is a main reason why the ERAU family should attend.  Even if you are a freshman, you can standout for the upcoming years and help your chances either with a job or internship, when you are ready.  When you are looking for a job and applying via the internet, companies do not know you nor see your passion.  They only see what you put on your resume at the time.  And that is if you did your resume right and tailored your resume to that job announcement to which you just applied.  But at this conference you are talking to people who are eager to talk to you to see what you know, and you can pick apart their brains at any time.  They want you to ask a lot of questions as much as possible.  Companies are really looking for the best applicant possible that they can hire.  So I think for ERAU students and alumni, we are those types of people that they can hire and train very easily.

Vincent also has some additional advice for students who will be graduating soon.

The advice I would give students who are graduating soon is to go out there and apply and apply to all jobs for which you are qualified.  Before I went the NSBE Convention, I applied to about 350 jobs in 2 and half months.  From these that I applied to, I only heard back from 10 or 15 of the companies.  None of them offered me a job at all.  After the NSBE Convention, I had two offers after talking to 5 companies.

Another piece of advice I will give is when you get a chance to have an interview (either over the phone or in person), ask as many questions that pertain to the job or the betterment of you ultimately receiving an offer.  For example, in every interview that I have had over the past 2 years, I have asked the employers what about my resume stood out to them.  If something stood out to them, it possibly may stand out to others as well.  Another question I have asked is what is something that I can change (either on the resume or the interview itself) that will help with next interview you may have.  This question will show employers you are eager to learn something new about yourself and work on weaknesses that may be apparent to them.  Also, you should ask questions on relevant projects that company has worked on and/or on which they are currently working.  This will show your interest in the company with which you are hoping to get a job.

At the end of your interview, make sure you have business cards of all those people that interviewed you.  Wait about a week or two and then email them.  In your email, you just want to tell them thank you for the opportunity to talk to them.  You are not asking where you stand in the interview process.  This step will allow you to pop back up in their head because they received an email from you, and it is another way to stand out above the rest of the people that they may have interviewed.

I hope these tips help all ERAU students and alumni get jobs upon graduating.

Based on our alumni feedback, you can see that the NSBE Convention is a great opportunity for candidates seeking opportunities, both right now and in the future.  Besides professional development and networking opportunities, you will have access to many premier companies who are hiring like Battelle, Boeing, CIA, General Dynamics, Johnson Controls, Lockheed Martin, Toyota, United Technologies Corporation and many more.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Jake Sleyster

Jake Sleyster, Senior, Aerospace Engineering

Jake Sleyster is an Aerospace Engineering senior at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott, AZ campus. During the past two summers, Jake has worked as an Engineering Intern at Tamarack Aerospace in Sandpoint, ID, completing numerous projects and gaining experience that will benefit him greatly when he graduates this coming May. Jake works in the Embry-Riddle Admissions department as an Admissions Representative and Senior Tour Guide. He is also a member of Sigma Chi and captain of the Embry-Riddle Lacrosse team/club.

What kind of work did you do as an Engineering Intern at Tamarack Aerospace?

Tamarack is a small company, so I did a lot of everything, from design of aircraft accessories, reverse engineering of a throttle knob, test equipment, composite wet layups, and assembly of tips to wings taking into account deflection, riveting and wrote reports that were submitted to the FAA. I worked with two DERS on design certifications.

Did you work on the new Atlas program?

A little bit, but I’m under NDA, which is non-disclosure agreement. Take a look at the recent press releases on the Cirrus.

What was it like working at a small company? 

It’s like a family; we worked six days a week of long hours. Being at the airport, we watched planes land, and there was a fly-in of experimental planes at the airport. There was an experimental plane that landed belly down with no landing gear, so we got in a taco truck with our fire extinguishers. When we got there, the A&P told us we needed to get it on its wheels, so about 10 of us lifted it up, and got the gear extended.

What skills came in handy and what skills did you develop?

Knowing how to write reports, shop skills, CAD, and electrical engineering, in addition to my core aerospace courses.

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

It’s in my hometown. The owner was my lacrosse coach in high school, and he wrote my recommendation to get into ERAU. Networking is key.

Do you think it was important to do an internship?

Yes. It taught me what it’s like in the aviation world, aircraft components, concepts that classes alone can’t teach you. At the Career Expo, employers seemed more interested in me and my experiences than some other students. I think they spent more time talking to me than they would have if I didn’t have internship experience.

What did you do while on your second summer there?

Being the senior intern was cool. I reviewed the work of newly graduated mechanical engineers and worked alongside high-level engineers.

Did you gain any knowledge that will be useful to you back at school?

Understanding composites and strain gauges helped me with S&I class and Materials. Also, actually seeing how and why we do things is very important.

You got to represent Tamarack at AOPA. Tell us about that.

It was another great opportunity to talk about Tamarack to small and large companies, plus I got to experience an AOPA Aviation Summit – the aviation vibe is even stronger there than on campus.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick

Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick, DB 2009

Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick graduated in 2009 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.  While a student at ERAU, Jonathan had a strong interest in working and living abroad.  After completing a self-created internship with MTU Aero Engines in Munich, Germany, he helped establish an engineering internship recruiting relationship between MTU and ERAU that continues today.  From his experience at MTU Aero Engines, he built a network of contacts that helped him to find career opportunities living and working abroad after graduation.

Tell us about your current position and how you obtained this opportunity.

I currently work as a Stress and Aerodynamics Engineer at Assystem Germany GmbH in Munich. They are an engineering subcontractor based in France (the name translating to “Ace System”), and the aerospace division in which I now work used to be subsidiary of MTU Aero Engines but became a part of Assystem in 2011.

After finishing my degree at ERAU, I arranged an internship at MTU Aero Engines in their Turbine Aerodynamics department. Because I had used a number of their published research papers in my Detail Design project, I was familiar with many of the technologies they were developing. Following that internship, I continued to work as a Student Employee, first directly at MTU, then as an External Employee through Assystem. After the project with MTU ended, I started working on Stress Analysis projects for Rolls-Royce Germany. There were numerous complications in writing my contracts along the way because of my visa status, but thanks to very helpful and flexible supervisors and the German immigration authorities, I’m now well on my way to earning residency.

How did your overseas internship prepare you for your current position?

My very first internship was during my studies at MTU. This contributed to opening up future opportunities in two critical ways: becoming intimately familiar with jet engines and learning German. My first internship was on the production floor, so English was a rarity, as was textbook German, because most spoke the strong Bavarian dialect. Thus I was forced to start speaking quickly. On a technical level, working on the production floor gave me insight into parts of the engine and their different manufacturing methods. Of course having already worked for the company, albeit in an unrelated position, was probably beneficial too.

Overseas positions require a Curriculum Vitae. Is there anything in particular students should highlight on this document?

CVs, in my experience, vary from country to country. The first thing to remember is to leave out the “Objective” line as seen on U.S. resumes. Education and relevant work experience should be on the front page–and yes–two pages is perfectly normal, even for entry-level applicants. When applying internationally, remember that education systems differ across the globe, so make sure you communicate how many years your degree takes and what the grades mean. For example: you might have a 3.8, but a 4.0 is failing in Germany!! Let them know 4.0 is the best attainable grade.

Also, don’t forget the meaning of “Curriculum Vitae”–Latin for “the course of life.” List relevant and also interesting things you have done or accomplished in life, such as living in different places, learning languages, hobbies, etc. Stays (not just vacations) abroad are especially seen in high regard, as is community service.

What were some of the challenges you faced moving outside the U.S. and adapting to your new position?

The most critical part of working overseas is also the most basic element: moving. Unless you plan on working within a few flying or driving hours of home or somewhere familiar, the act of uprooting your life can be hard and traumatic–not just for you, but also for loved ones and friends. Because I come from an international family, this was not a problem for me personally, but I have many friends for whom it was. I have seen how this is the single most challenging part of moving. Some made the move and stayed, some left after a year or two, and some never made it over once they realized the implications it would have. Consider this deeply and honestly.

Aside from that, there are the usual issues of the different stages of culture shock that people go through: language barriers, eating differently, and different perspectives on the world. I was confronted with all sorts of new things that are normal in Germany, but at best eccentric in the U.S. Some of it may sound ridiculous at first, but the most important thing is to keep an open mind and never stop asking “why?” – Why are so many Germans sporty? Why are they so concerned about sustainability when they’re already the most efficient country on the planet? Why are they so sensitive about their Nazi past? Why are they such big fans of U.S. culture but not of our politics?

Which brings me to the third most important part of living in a different culture: don’t be shy about your own! For example, don’t let people get you down about “bad American beer.” There are many wonderful beers in the U.S.  As an American, I have had to deal with all sorts of criticism from people that are dissatisfied with our foreign policy. Make it clear that they have a right to their opinion but that you don’t single handedly run the country. Every country has blemishes in its past, so don’t be afraid to stand up for the U.S.A.!

What advice do you have for students wanting to work/live abroad?

Looking  for work overseas is very similar to looking for work in the States. Research companies well and write directed and purposeful applications. Establish contact with someone at the company and follow up on that. Networks that are built internationally are very useful, because you never know who knows who and who might be important to you later. As you may have noticed, a healthy career usually needs a good deal of Vitamin C–Connections. Don’t know anyone at a company? Not a problem, contact their HR, see if they’re holding a seminar at a university, read up on their accomplishments and see if you catch a name.

Universities abroad also hold career fairs just like at ERAU, and nothing stops you from browsing websites. Find the website of a career fair in the country you’re interested in and see which companies operate there–you might be surprised! As English is the working language around the world and international students are everywhere, almost every site is also in English.

Back at home, be sure to turn over every rock, because you never know where a golden opportunity lies. Use all of the resources you have!

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