Benefits of Student / Industry Internships
BAE enjoys a positive relationship with industry that creates great opportunities for students through internships. Partnering employers with students helps develop the student's skills working in an engineering arena and helps industry identify up and coming graduates who they may want to invite to join their team. Undergraduates who experience internships return with a sense of reality, and they feel acknowledged for their contributions.
Here is what our students have to say:
Jonathon Biron - Sandia National Laboratories
My engineering internship at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) gave me a profound understanding of renewable energy and the current developments in this field.
Sandia National Laboratories is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation and their main mission is securing our nation's nuclear weapons and material stockpiles. Sandia also has extensive research in alternative energy, material science, mathematics, and several other research areas. Even though Sandia focuses on nuclear stockpiles and programs, my internship focused primarily on renewable energy resources and their impact on the country.
As an engineering intern at Sandia, I aided a multidisciplinary team in gathering information about renewable energy systems and developing new ways of using renewable energy in remote areas of the Midwest. My primary goal was to learn and analyze different types of renewable energy while developing new approaches.
During my summer at Sandia, I was impressed with the unique programs they had to offer. Sandia has summer internship positions in all interests areas. Although the first few days of the internship involved a lot of paperwork and training, the majority of the internship was a combination of office work, field visits, and attending conferences and workshops.
I highly recommend Sandia National Laboratories as a possible employer. They makes you feel like you belong, and the majority of the employees have worked at there for more than 20 years. They have great benefits and truly care about their employees. Sandia National Laboratories have several locations throughout the United States . The Sandia National Laboratories located in California focuses on biological systems and may apply more to our biosystems engineering major.
One of Sandia's primary goals is operating a research laboratory that has the least amount of impact on the environment. This goal, along with several others, makes Sandia National Laboratory a truly remarkable place to work. My internship was unforgettable from the pristine landscape to the lives the renewable systems impacted. This educational and memorable experience will help guide me through my future endeavors in the renewable energy field.
Eric LaChapelle - Lockheed Martin
The summer before my senior year was spent as an intern for Lockheed Martin in metro Washington DC. I worked as both a systems engineer and test engineer in the Integrated Systems and Solutions sector of the company. Because of Lockheed Martin's role in national security research and implementation, the company was interested in students with a systems approach to engineering and an interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Michigan State's Biosystems Engineering program gave me experience in both of these areas. Upon completing my summer internship, I was offered a full time position as a systems engineer. I gladly accepted, and I am looking forward to being a part of the Lockheed Martin team after graduation.
Shelley Crawford - Kellogg Company
Few students can say that they spent their summer working for one of the world's most known figures: I spent my summer in Battle Creek, Michigan, working for Tony the Tiger. During my three months at the Kellogg Company, I worked in the Snacks Department of the Research, Quality and Technology Division. The Snacks Department is comprised of Cookies (EL Fudge Sandwich Cookies), Crackers (Cheez-It), and Wholesome Foods (Nutri-Grain Bars). My primary focus was on the Keebler Fudge Shoppe Brand line of products.
Over the summer, I was able to visit production plants in Muncy, Pennsylvania; Cary, North Carolina; Battle Creek, Michigan; and Louisville, Kentucky where I was very fortunate to see how several of Kellogg's products are manufactured including Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain Bars, Murray's Sugar Free Cookies, Hydrox Cookies, Cheez-Its, Austin Sandwich Crackers, Raisin Bran Crunch, Rice Krispies Cereal, Fudge Shoppe Filled Cookies, Sensations Cookies, Soft Batch Cookies, and Frosted Shredded Mini-Wheats. It was quite an eventful summer!
While at Kellogg, I had the opportunity to complete an individual research project. The cookie I worked on had a creme filling that included an unusual ingredient. One day, while running a test in the pilot plant, we happened to make two batches of this crème, one with and one without this expensive ingredient. After learning the purpose of this proprietary material, I noticed that the two cremes did not appear different. I asked my supervisor if I could compare the rheological properties of the two cremes, to ensure that by excluding the "special" ingredient, we would not alter the process or the product. In addition to running tests on the creme itself, I also made some product, which contained both variables of creme and subjected them to sensory evaluations. Upon completion of all of the tests, I came to the conclusion that the cremes were rheologically identical; advising the team to remove the ingredient, which resulted in a significant cost savings for the project.
Overall, my summer was very exciting and educational. I was able to assist on many tests and plant trials for several different products. I was exposed to several different processes and equipment. I voiced a concern about a product, and was given the opportunity to test a processing hypothesis, which resulted in a savings for the company. Overall, I feel that my experiences at Kellogg have not only helped to mold me into a better engineer, but also into a better person.
Matt Lindsay - Chore Time - Brock
My summer internship at the Chore Time-Brock International Headquarters in Milford, Indiana was a valuable real-world learning experience. As an engineering assistant in the Egg Production Systems Division, I tested egg collectors; in the engineering shop, I made and assembled various parts for egg production systems. I evaluated manure drying systems and designed, prototyped and tested parts for collection system improvements.
Egg collectors are machines that transfer eggs from conveyors running alongside the cages to another conveyor moving perpendicular to the cage rows. Over the course of the summer I conducted over 450 tests on egg collectors at various sites, studying the effects of egg orientation and collector adjustments on impact magnitude. The tests used a custom built sensor that replicated a Grade A egg in shape and weight. The sensor transmitted impact data wirelessly to a handheld computer unit. The reliability of the sensor was a major frustration because it broke frequently. In addition, the test results had a large degree of variation due to numerous variables, so much to my annoyance, I had to statistically analyze the results. While this was not my favorite part of the internship, in retrospect, it was very useful and necessary.
My largest project was designing, producing, and testing prototype parts to improve upon existing collector features. Handling an egg at first inspection seems to be a rather simple task. As I later discovered, this could hardly be farther from the truth. The variation in egg sizes and constant changes in collector installation were problematic. Also, it was hard to discern why one modification would work well at one site and seem to have no effect at another site of identical set-up. Another dose of reality came when I would try a modification, only to be informed by the engineers superior to me that they had tried it five years earlier, and I "really did not want to do that." I enjoyed having the freedom to design and build my own parts. It was a very good real world experience, where everything is not done under laboratory conditions, if any are at all.
In the end the internship was a very valuable learning experience for me. The industry is the only place to learn the value of performance and flexibility. I was surprised at the responsibility given to me. There was no one to hold my hand and tell me the next step. I was given a task and working out the details was my job. I also found the people I worked with to be some of the nicest I have ever met. Not once did I ever feel out of place and I really appreciated that.
As a Division of CTB, Inc., Chore Time-Brock International develops, markets, and supports equipment for poultry, egg, hog, and grain systems and solutions worldwide. Their US Headquarters is located in Milford, Indiana.
Natalie Finkbeiner - Antel BioSystems Inc.
Antel Biosystems, Inc. is an animal disease testing center and a USDA-accredited laboratory that provides Johne's disease testing via bovine milk, serum, and fecal samples and Leukosis testing via bovine milk and serum. I have worked, part time, as a lab technician for AntelBio in Lansing since November of 2004. I am a senior in the Biosystems Engineering Program and specialize in Biomedical Engineering. I spend my time at AntelBio initiating orders, generating customer reports, running the ELISAs (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays) tests, mailing testing kits, and maintaining the lab.
During the summer, I completed an independent study research project assisting in the development of a new ELISA designed to test for Johne's disease. I conducted extensive research to become proficient with the optimization of ELISAs. I conducted all of the experiments and kept a laboratory notebook to document all my work. My supervisor served as a mentor during the project. After the experiments, he would ask me to explain what I thought happened during the test based on the results, and what the next action should be. It was quite a learning experience and provided a great insight into what a career in research would be like. My favorite part was not always knowing how the experiments would turn out. It was also amazing when we started using the test that I helped design to test samples in a commercial setting. I felt like I did something that really made a difference for other people.
I have learned more in this job than I have in any class. I have learned what it is like to work in a professional environment and the importance of being able to communicate effectively. I went into this job with a little laboratory experience. Now, I have learned a completely new procedure and how to use several new pieces of lab equipment. I have found that doing well in a job delivers rewards. Hard work does not go overlooked and it definitely pays off in the end. Currently, I am learning a new procedure for testing fecal samples and assuming additional responsibilities. I am looking forward to continuing to work for AntelBio through the rest of my senior year.
AntelBio is a USDA-accredited laboratory specializing in the diagnostic analysis of milk samples.
Shane Bennett - Spicer Group, Inc
My engineering internship with Spicer Group in St. Johns gave me experience that expanded my understanding of water resource issues. As an engineering intern, I assisted the Governmental Services Group, which provides watershed management engineering design and construction management services to federal, state, and local governments. I also worked with the Surveying Group on projects ranging from simple property surveys to topographic surveys needed for road and bridge design, storm sewer design, and for the mapping of flood prone areas.
My summer began with assisting design engineers with hydrologic analyses needed for the delineation of flood risk areas. This work was commissioned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update their Flood Insurance Studies. I used computer software including AutoCAD, ArcView, HEC HMS, and Excel to analyze digital soils, land use, and topographic data for the production of runoff coefficients, times of concentration, and peak flow hydrographs for riverine systems. These hydrographs are required to develop hydraulic computer models, which are needed for identifying floodplain elevations and flood risk areas.
During the remainder of the summer I served as a survey rodman, collecting topographic survey data required by the engineers for the FEMA floodplain studies and other construction and storm water design projects. I operated survey equipment such as total stations, levels, and Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment and performed ALTA/ACSM surveys and line and grid surveys.
My time at Spicer was great and I feel that I learned a great deal about the industry. It exposed me to technology and engineering techniques needed to design solutions to storm water management problems and to identify flood prone areas.
Spicer Group, Inc. is a full-service engineering, surveying, and planning consulting firm with locations in Saginaw, St. Johns, Caro, and Detroit, Michigan.