Beyond the Classroom, the Importance of Internships
- Author: Taylor Heath
- Author: Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
Internships are high impact practices that help students acquire new skills and knowledge outside of the classroom. They are ways for students to take classroom learning to the real world and network with professionals. Several WKU Engineering students participated in internships over the summer.
Kaylee Ranburger, a junior Mechanical Engineering student, participated in an internship over the summer with Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems in Scottsville, KY. Ranburger says that her internship has helped her in her school work and furthered her knowledge of mechanical engineering. Ms. Ranburger having completed many projects including one that involved wiring relays to send a signal from a machine light to a ceiling light, developed skills that would help her in her final years attaining her degree. The project was her first experience using Molex connectors and safely wiring electrical relays, forcing her to adapt to her surroundings. She worked full time over the summer and is now working part time during the semester. She remarked that she would love to participate in another internship somewhere out of state.
Nikola Cvijanovic, a senior Mechanical Engineering student, participated in an internship with Shoals Technologies in Portland, TN. Shoals manufactures solar balance of systems products for the PV industry, and Cvijanovic played a key role. Among locating and evaluating proper solutions for any problem that occurred, he was able to design a specialized wiring harness clip that allowed proper organization and cleanliness of a solar panels components. Strangely enough Cvijanovic did not hear about his internship from his professors or peers, rather his church choir director. He remarked that it was beneficial in the long run, doing more of what he liked and applying his skills in school confirmed his love of engineering. When asked what he would tell someone considering an internship, he replied “Do it! Just do it! Have connections with someone inside the company. Form relations with key leaders and be a part of the process.”
Courtney Smith, a senior Electrical Engineering student, participated in an internship with the American Synthetic Rubber Company (ASRC)/Michelin in Louisville, KY. She chose electrical engineering when her AP Physics teacher in high school suggested the field. I had a wonderful experience at ASRC. Ms. Smith remarked that she “learned a lot that [she] didn’t know beforehand such as AutoCAD, project management, PLC programming, etc. [she] grew as an individual and learned important skills to be successful in [her] career. [She] gained valuable friendships, resources, and connections from [her] three months at this internship.” Her experience was so great that she decided to participate in another internship over winter break. She continued to say that “when you graduate, companies look for experience and skills that you have that could help them. An internship is more valuable than what you may get out of a regular summer job.”
Jessica Lenoir, a junior Mechanical Engineering student, participated in two internships; Daicel Safety Inc in Beaver Dam, KY and Stupp Bridge in Bowling Green, KY. During her time with Stupp Bridge Ms. Lenoir designed and manufactured a fitter’s manual for the specialized employees, it includes the instructions and SOP. Not only did she create a manual, but she made diagrams and proper protocols of cranes, chains, hooks, basic materials to build garters for bridges: all specialized and specific. When asked if she would participate in another, she replied “Yes, it’s the easiest way to make yourself stand out when everyone now has a bachelor’s degree.” Regardless of how old you are, it is never too early for an internship she advises. The willingness to work and work hard is highly sought after in today’s economy. She started her first internship a week after she turned eighteen, noting that internships “are what you make them, be a self-starter and ask for more projects.”
For more information on intenship opportunities, visit www.wku.edu/seas.