*This post was originally featured on purduewiep.blogspot.com
Coming out of my last final this semester, I felt nothing but relief, excitement, and immense confidence; it was time to take on summer. This summer would be special as I was going to take that leap into adulthood by working at my first internship with a steel manufacturing company. It was going to be that initial taste into what life after college will be like and honestly, after that semester of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics, how hard could this really be?
As I drove up to the main building on my first day of work, I was pumped. Ecstatic. Meeting the other interns and going through orientation only elevated my anticipation for what was to come. The completion of our safely training marked the end of orientation and all of the interns were sent to their respective departments; I was stationed to work at the rolling mill where steel slabs and ingots are rolled out into flat plates. I tagged along my mentor as we attended the daily mill meeting, a meeting I would not forget.
As the meeting commenced, I felt myself teleporting to another planet; abbreviations and numbers were thrown around and the phrases used seemed like a foreign language. My once in-the-clouds confidence began to follow an exponential decay even with all the side explanations from my mentor. After the meeting, I made my way to my desk and that was when it all hit me. Was I really cut out for all this? I did not understand anything at that meeting even though a lot of it had to do with concepts I learn in my major. What if I mess up, what will all these experienced engineers think of me? I could not fathom the thought of becoming fluent in the language that was so casually spoken here. Just minutes after these thoughts I heard crashing against the roof in the form of a torrential downpour; to my mind at the time (which was in slight panic mode), this was a bad sign.
Fast forward a month and these concerns took a turn for the better. By now I would have attended and spoken at numerous mill meetings, assisted with the completion of an important experiment, and was starting to understand all the abbreviations and common lingo used at the plant. I was given the freedom to go off on my own and figure out how each part of the mill fit in with the other and got to inspect defects on plates firsthand. I befriended the operators, asked them about their responsibilities and how they would go about resolving a certain situation; the operators spend the most time with the machines and plates, making them a wealth of knowledge and information for almost anything that happens at the plant. Speaking with the engineers at the plant gave me insight into how a lot of the machinery worked and how specific delays or malfunctions can lead to different defects on the plates.
That first month taught me a lot, but most importantly to ask questions, and a lot of them.Curiosity does not always kill the cat, it makes it more alert and observant of what is going on. I made sure to clear up any doubts I had at the start of my internship and it sure made the transition a lot easier. My curiosity often led to impromptu projects and allowed me to interact with a diverse group of individuals on an everyday basis. My opinions where always heard and sometimes challenged but it all contributed to the learning experience. I no longer doubt whether I can undertake a particular task because there is always a way to the solution and a person to talk to. My confidence level continues to rise a little every week and I am excited to see what the next month will hold and how much I will learn in that time. There may be another horrible thunderstorm again, but it will not bother me because I know I can get through it.
My name is Alex Marcellus. I am a junior in Computer Engineering, and this summer I worked as an Application Developer at Intel. I worked in Intel IT as part of the Collaboration and Productivity organization. I got the job through the Industrial Roundtable, a career fair that is put on by the Purdue Engineering Student Council during the fall of every school year. An Intel recruiter was at the fair. I handed him my resume and talked for a while about the company and about what I knew from previous internships. After an interview at the Union the next day and a couple interviews over the phone, I learned that I would be interning at the Intel offices in Folsom, CA.
One of the first things I learned when I went to Intel is that anyone from any major could find an internship there. Many of my friends at the company are Computer Engineers and Electrical Engineers working on the microprocessors and software there, but I have also met Industrial Engineers working on processes, or even Chemical Engineers and Material Engineers working on cutting edge materials for new products. Many of the interns I eat lunch with every day even major in diverse fields such as business or supply chain management.
Computer Engineers even get a choice in what type of work they do. Since Intel is a microprocessor company, many ECE graduates are working on those, but I have the opportunity to work on higher level software. Although most of the rest of my team are Computer Science graduates, I am working on web applications that employees throughout Intel use to collaborate with each other and increase productivity, regardless of the work that they’re working on or what product group they are working with.
The one main takeaway that I am bringing back from Intel is that you should always keep your eyes open no matter what company you are interning at or what you are doing. You may love what you are doing like I do, but there are always opportunities to see what other people are doing or how other companies operate. Who knows, you may find something that you love even more. My experience with Intel has taught me a lot about both working in a corporate environment, and what a Computer Engineer can do when he or she leaves Purdue with a degree.
This summer is the first summer I’ve had an internship and I’m so lucky to be working for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, OH. I started May 14th and I have loved every minute since. We had a lot of training and these first two weeks I have just been trying to learn as much about the company and my projects as possible. The great thing about this internship is that P&G actually gives its interns real work to do. My 4 projects I have to complete by the end of the summer will all be used globally by managers and employees.
So here’s how I got this internship: Purdue has an event in mid-September called “Industrial Roundtable”. It’s basically a huge company recruitment event where about 300 companies set up tables on the Memorial Mall and you can walk up and give your resume and talk with company representatives. It’s a great experience – even as a freshman when you’ve only been through about a month of school – because you get that experience of talking to company recruiters and developing your “elevator pitch”. This is basically a 30 second speech talking about yourself (your degree, leadership, etc). I went as a freshman and my resume was mainly high school activities and leadership I had then, but I still got interviews! Recruiters love to see freshman take the initiative and talk with them, and they actually remember you! I know it seems ridiculous because they visit so many schools, but I had a couple of company reps recognize my face and resume the next year.
Anyway, so once you give your resume to as many companies as you want, most of them conduct first round interviews as early as the next day (because the reps are travelling and want to get to the next school). So a company may call you back the next day and then you interview with recruiters (possibly the ones you met at IR). After that first round interview, a couple weeks later, you will have a second round interview. This is usually with high ups in the company and could potentially be an on-site interview. That is when the company pays for you to come to their offices and interview on location. I had an on-site interview in Cincinnati and it was a great experience being able to see where I could work and interview with more people.
So that’s how I got my internship! I did well in my interviews and got a call in October saying that I was offered an internship. Being able to get work experience is the most valuable thing I think you can do in college. Not only does it look great on resume, but it give you an idea of if you would like doing this particular work in the future. It allows you to change your major or specialty if you discover that you dislike the work associated with it.
I love working here and I can’t wait to fill you all in on my Cincinnati adventures: I’ve already been to a Reds game and tonight a bunch of interns are going to Taste of Cincinnati! Here are me and my roommates eating dinner out a couple of nights ago:
One of my goals for this semester was to find an internship that would expand my experience in Software Engineering. I went to Purdue’s Industrial Roundtable, which is the largest student run job fair in the nation, and talked to as many software engineering firms as I could. I had the opportunity to talk to companies such as Microsoft, Lexmark, IBM, Garmin, Amazon, Lutron, and many more.
3 weeks later, I was offered the opportunity the fly out to Olathe, Kansas(a suburb of Kansas City) to visit the campus of Garmin International. It was an absolutely amazing experience! We were able to learn about all the different sectors of their company and how I could fit in as an intern. We also were given the chance to network with many of the engineers there while hanging out at Dave and Busters. So basically, I got to play video games with a group of Engineers! On the final day, we had two 30-minute interviews as well as a few more presentations. A week later, I was offered a position as a software engineering intern for next summer!
My trip to KC was an absolutely amazing experience! I was able to meet a lot of students from Purdue who were also applying there, many of whom may end up there this summer as well. I know that I wouldn’t have had such an amazing experience without Purdue. Purdue has provided me with so many opportunities to grow and succeed, and I am so thankful for that!