Tag Archives: Internship

Interning at General Motors

by Ashley Devore

This summer, I interned at General Motors in Lockport, NY.  As an environmental and ecological engineer, I never thought I would end up working for a car company; cars emit carbon dioxide which kind of goes against the goals of environmental engineers.  But, as I learned more about General Motors as a company, I found that they are actually very conscious of their environmental footprint and the impact their actions have on the environment.  The plant I worked at this summer is so environmentally friendly, that they have met the requirements to be classified as a land-fill-free facility! 

As an environmental engineering intern, I worked on a number of projects.   I assisted with meeting compliance measures, such as doing tests to make sure the plant was meeting certain air requirements, and making sure the used-oil containers had the proper labels.  Compliance is important to sustainability because in order to do great and amazing sustainability projects, you have to meet the compliance measures first. 

Another project I worked on was developing a plan for my site to get certified with the Wildlife Habitat Council.  The Wildlife Habitat Council is an organization that honors and recognizes companies and organizations that are implementing projects that aim to preserve wildlife and their habitats.  My site was looking to get re-certified next year, and wanted me to develop a plan for them do so.  Creating this plan involved me researching projects, figuring out how to implement them, learning about the certification process with the Wildlife Habitat Council, and writing a report detailing my proposed plan.  This project was really cool to me because it incorporated a lot of sustainability principles that I learned in my classes. 

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to intern with General Motors.  This was my first internship, so I definitely learned a lot about environmental engineering and what it is like to work as a professional.  In addition, I was also able to learn more about what my interests are professionally and career wise.  Interning is a great way to discover what your future career interests are and to learn more about what sort of things you might be doing in a full time job. 

Learning that Internship Lingo

a panoramic picture taken by me of FedEx Ground’s corporate headquarters in Moon Township, PA
a panoramic picture taken by me of FedEx Ground’s corporate headquarters in Moon Township, PA

I am a sophomore in Industrial Engineering, my name is Marissa, and I bet you will not pronounce my first name correctly on the first try. It took a whole month for my coworkers this summer to get it right.

I never thought I would be writing this. I never thought I would have gotten the chance to intern the summer after my freshman year especially one so close to home. I never thought that I would be so lucky to get an internship that was so rewarding and beneficial where I did not mind some weird hours and where I did not want to leave. But I did. It was hard work to get the job, and I could not have been happier. On one of my first days, someone remarked that I was the least connected, because I did not have an “in” to the company – I wasn’t a relative or neighbor of an executive. I liked it that way, it set me apart.

I started my internship on June 1st, 2015, in the Field Engineering Support team of FedEx Ground’s Inbound Operations of the Operations and Engineering Department. From the beginning, everyone kept telling me I would be working on an important project but they kept using all kinds of words and abbreviations that I could not even guess the meaning. There was an entire language for FedEx employees and I was being thrown head first into it. I did not know what a DOES was, or what a DPOS did either (at first I thought it was depots, because I only heard it verbally) but I did know that my team directly supported the DPOS, whatever that meant. And, of course, there were DAQs, and IOES, and HODES. It took me a while, but I eventually got used to and understood the lingo. On my second to last week, I learned that there was a dictionary for all of the FedEx acronyms – I wish I knew that the first week.

When I first got into  actual work and was not just meeting more people, I did a lot of reading. For my big project I had to read, study, and understand MOST Work Measurement – and since I had not been in any major-specific classes yet, I did not know anything about work measurement. I spent two weeks really studying up on it and then implementing it through practice examples around the office. At the time it seemed that I was not being used to my full advantage, but that quickly changed. I started going to stations, which are the intermediate stops before a package arrives at its destination, to see how the employees work at their 4 am sort of packages to be delivered that day. I took notes on their body movements and maneuvers and noted if they should have been doing anything  differently. I took these notes back to the office, and started to implement MOST. I went to stations six different times, and typically had to be there by 4 am. Some stations were more than an hour away! What really excites me about this project was that I was able to talk directly to people in the field – my cousin included – and the results I calculated are going to be used as the new company standard. I was there for not even three months, and I am changing a forever-used standard. That really hit me. I never thought a measly intern like myself could make a difference in such a large company.

Overall, my internship at FedEx let me learn and experience so much in one summer. At the very least, I learned Visual Basic code through automating reports and MOST Work Measurement through creating new standards, both of which I hope will help me in my future industrial engineering classes. I received hands-on industrial engineering experience that bettered my understanding of industrial engineering practices. I witnessed how a large company works and its culture of, in this case, a family-like atmosphere. I loved almost every second of my internship, and I am so thankful for the opportunity. If nothing else, I met some great people in my fellow interns, co-workers, and other people in the company that I hope to stay connected with for a long time.

Interning at Cook Biotech by Missy Ullmer

Cook Biotech Interns travel to Bloomington, IN, to join the rest of the Cook company interns across the U.S. for the annual Intern Orientation.
Cook Biotech Interns travel to Bloomington, IN, to join the rest of the Cook company interns across the U.S. for the annual Intern Orientation.

As the spring 2015 semester came to a close, I was looking forward to my first summer spent in West Lafayette since beginning my college career in 2012.  I loved exploring Chicago the summer before during my internship, but there was something exciting about staying near my church family and friends for the summer.  After the semester ended, I packed up for home to take a break for a couple weeks before beginning my internship at the end of May.  (I advise everyone to take weeks off as the opportunity arises because although you may be ambitious, you will never have the same kind of time off when you start your full-time career.)  Returning two weeks later, I began my adventure as a Quality Assurance Intern at Cook Biotech.  Within the first few weeks of the internship, it was apparent that the Quality department not only hired me to aid them in incoming inspection but truly lead a project which other employees did not have time to complete.  I was given project aims and information about the resources which were available, and I was given great freedom to seek out more resources and information.  By the end of the summer, I gained a passion for something new, Quality and Process Development.  I would have never found the opportunities which lie outside of design or R&D if I had not been willing to try a new position.  What else helped me find this new passion, you may wonder? Below are a few tips that I found helpful during my past two internships:

Journal your experiences:  Each day spend a few minutes noting anyone you met and all of the positive and negative parts of your position or the company.  This will help  when you need to contact someone for help as well as narrowing down your expectations for the company you begin with full-time.

Talk to as many employees as possible:  Set up meetings with anyone

My final presentation day at Cook Biotech.
My final presentation day at Cook Biotech.

you meet to learn more about their position as well as their route to success.

Take a notebook everywhere:  You never know when someone will provide you with useful information to complete your project or for more information about their position.

Now I look forward to further exploring opportunities in Quality and Process Development!  Companies may not always hire engineers in other departments, but if you are willing to sell yourself and explain why you believe you are qualified for the position, almost any company will consider you for a position outside the “norm.”  Thank you to Cook Biotech and my supervisor for all of their guidance and advice as I move toward a full-time career.

My Internship Experience, by Meredith Shannon

At the end of this past May, I stuffed my car full of my belongings and drove up to southern Minnesota for the 11 week program as an Industrial Engineering Intern. I knew what the internship program entailed and the basic job description but my summer turned out to be so much more than that. My job took place in a massive plant that felt on par with a small city. I could hardly keep from getting lost and seemed to discover something new every day. As the plant IE intern, I had typical Industrial Engineering duties but was also included on a variety of high dollar projects. I was able to help work on new, old and ongoing projects with people from all different departments. They treated me as one of their own and it made a world of difference. I learned a lot about myself; what I can do, what I excel at and what I need to improve upon as an upcoming Industrial Engineer. Things were excitingly dynamic which made going to work an adventure each day. I felt as if I learned something new each day and never felt work become repetitive. Although plant life is far from glamorous, the hands on work that turned into successful projects far outweighed not being able to wear nail polish, having to wear functional clothes over fashionable clothes and never maintaining nice hair (hard hat hair is definitely a struggle). My takeaway from summer with Hormel is don’t ever be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone. I started as a city girl with little to no manufacturing experience and spent the whole summer outside of my comfort zone. Industry seems scary to those who have little experience, but it is incredible to have your projects and hard work pay off in an observable and tangible manner. As IR week comes to a close, don’t discredit companies who may seem intimidating or out of your desired work setting! You never know where the path less traveled may lead.

International Graduate Q&A: Question 6

What advice do you have for other international students pursuing internships and full-time employment?

Sajit Chitty – IE Graduate: Your summer is the most important “semester” of all! Why? Because summers are the only time you will have the opportunity to sample full-time work experience in your field of interest. Especially for international students, your chances of full-time employment after graduation are much more favorable if you have U.S work experience. U.S work experience will hold more weight than work experience in your home country. Do not make the typical mistake of heading home every summer to party with your friends because you just survived a winter in Indiana. I know this is easier said than done, and I agree that it is hard to seize an opportunity for U.S work experience without already having…U.S work experience. Although, the chance of a company giving you an internship opportunity is higher than the chance of a company giving you a full-time position. So, put on a suit and go to every single career fair that comes your way from freshman year, and, network, network, network. You should be building up a professional network, not only when at career fairs, but throughout your entire college career and beyond.

Brandon Puccio -AAE Graduate: The advice that I would give to other international students is to work harder than the person beside you. Because of the limited opportunities for international students, you have to be at the top of your game to get an employment opportunity. Not only do you have to have a great knowledge of your specialty, you need to have good communication and teamwork skills. Use the resources Purdue offers to gain an upper edge compared to other students. Research the companies that allow international employment and show them that you have a passion to work for them. I have been to the Purdue Industrial Roundtable as both a student and a recruiter. The company that I work at looks for three main things when at career fairs: good knowledge in your subject area, good communication while talking to the recruiter, and extracurricular activities that set you apart from someone else. If you have a passion for what you are studying, you have to show it when you talk to the people interviewing you.

Siddharth Chhabra – IE Graduate: Do not let the immigration issues deter your efforts and motivation to pursuing your dream.  Rely on peers and faculty for advice and opportunities.  Take full advantage of resources available ISS, CCO, etc.).

Xianzhe Zhou – ECE Graduate:  Finding internships and full-time employment is essentially finding a match between the supply and demand curve in the labor market. You are selling your skills to meet the labor demands of employers, which ultimately come from this society and all its consumers. Having two things will ease the matching process. One is information and the other is data. You need to know where most of the opportunities will be, such as companies, locations and policy restrictions. This is the data part. Knowing information means reaching potential employers in their channels. Networking, putting yourself online and calling someone you don’t know are all ways you can reach these opportunities.

Niharika Chaubey -Chem. E Graduate: To the international students who are pursuing internships and fulltime position, work hard because you will always have more to prove than domestic students.

Semester Study Abroad: Part 3 of 4

As a member of the Office of Professional Practice’s Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education or GEARE program, I must complete an international research or internship experience prior to graduation.  I can chose to fulfill this requirement in any country that I would like to, but I chose to look for opportunities to extend my time in Colombia.  Thanks to a very proud Purdue industrial engineering alum originally from Medellín, I was connected with Grupo Nutresa.  Grupo Nutresa is a food processing conglomerate and the fourth largest food company in all of Latin America in terms of market capitalization.  It also is consistently named one of the best companies to work for in Colombia.  I successfully completed an interview in Spanish with one of Grupo Nutresa’s divisions, Compañía Nacional de Chocolates, and was hired as an operations intern for the summer of 2015.

Marissa (on right) with her supervisor

For my internship, I worked in a smaller town outside of Medellín named Rionegro in Compañía Nacional de Chocolates’ largest production facility.  I lived many students’ dream, and for ten weeks I worked in a chocolate factory.  The factory produces a wide array of products focused on chocolate, nuts, and cereal bars.  I was concentrated in the nuts zone.

My internship was so valuable, for both my professional and personal development.  I received the normal benefits of putting my engineering education into practice and gaining work experience, but I also learned much more than that.  I developed enough of a technical vocabulary in Spanish that I am now able to comfortably write technical reports or give presentations in Spanish.  I learned how to relate to and work with coworkers who not only spoke a different language than me, but who also were accustomed to an entirely different work and professional culture than mine.  In fact, it was an invaluable lesson for me in being flexible and adaptable to the professional situation I am placed in.  I also had the opportunity to work on a joint project between research and development and operations and was able to put my English fluency to good use as I served as the sole point of contact with a United States based provider for a new raw material. 

As an intern, I was given a large amount of responsibility and allowed to work on activities that branched outside of my field of study.  I also have made great international contacts for a potential career in South America.  And all of this was made possible through the Purdue network.

Mayank Makkar: Getting the hang of interning

Co-op! Internship! Work! Money! These are all the words that come to mind when most people hear about any career fair, but one thing that most of us forget about is what will we be doing at work and how the people are over there. Nobody knows the answer to these questions, because until you are at the plant, office etc., you don’t really know what you will be doing. You do have an idea, but you still don’t really know. It was the same for me, and fortunately, it was exactly the kind of work that I like. My internship taught me many things. One of the many important things I learned from my internship was how to deal with people.

At my internship, I had various kinds of projects. I was planning events, creating the strategies for plant wide audits, creating guidebooks for team managers, etc. Because of the wide variety of projects I was able to work on, I got to work with lots of different people. I worked with people from the corporate leadership, administrative assistants, technicians, interns, operators etc. Working with each one of them was completely different; each person had a different background, style of doing things etc. Some people did things like I like to do them, while some were completely opposite. Some did things without me asking twice, some had to be asked a lot more times. Overall, I think the key to working with so many different kinds of people is to understand who they are and how they work. You have to know if they will need to be reminded about what you asked them to do or if it will be done before you even think about asking them about their progress. For me, it was a little hard at the beginning, but eventually I got the hang of it.

In a nutshell, I think taking that internship taught me a lot. It did teach me about things related to engineering, but it also taught me a lot about one thing that most of us engineers don’t really think about until the very end: people.

Weathering through those First Internship Jitters by Varsha Ganapathy

*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.

Interning with Intel

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.

A Cincinnati Summer

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: