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MU Engineers share their summer internship stories

The University of Missouri has been collecting stories of students and their summer internship experiences from this summer. College of Engineering students have been doing work at some world-renowned companies, getting valuable work and leadership experience along the way. Here are some of their stories in their own words, along with photos they’ve provided.

Abraham sits at a computer in a Pepsi shirt with his thumbs up.

Photo courtesy of Timon Abraham.

Timon Abraham

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: PepsiCo-Quaker

Location of company: Columbia, Mo.

I am currently working as a manufacturing operations intern. I am working on improving the rice cake production process using different process optimization tools. This internship is helping me to apply what I am learning in my classes; for example, I am designing a continuous batch system, so it is mandatory to use the chemical engineering thermodynamics to set mass and energy around the mixer. In addition to that MatLab, process engineering and statistical controls classes are playing important roles in my project to analyze the data and expect the outcomes. My summer 2017 internship at PepsiCo-Quaker is strengthening my engineering skills and helping me gain huge technical experience in the food production process.

Stephanie Atkinson with mountains in the background.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Atkinson.

Stephanie Atkinson

Major: Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: Dish Network

Location of company: Denver

“This summer, I completed a 10-week internship with Dish Network in Denver.  The program started with a “Base Camp” training program to familiarize interns with the Dish business and culture. During Base Camp, every intern went through customer service training and spent a full day taking customer phone calls. We also got the opportunity to shadow and assist Dish Technicians for two days installing and repairing satellite dishes for customers. Once we completed training, we worked on our final projects and presentations for the remainder of the summer. The internship program culminated in a climbing Mount Yale (a 14,000 ft mountain) with Dish Network Founder Charlie Ergen. This internship has given me great business and technical experience as well as a love for the beauty of Colorado!”

Baker stands in front of pipes wearing a hard hat and safety glasses.

Photo courtesy of Katherine Baker.

Katherine Baker

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: The Dow Chemical Company

Location of company: Freeport, Texas

“My co-op experience with Dow has given me the opportunity to learn about so many chemical processes and how they all work. I’ve been able to meet and collaborate with different types of engineers in a variety of roles, which has helped me discover what kind of work I am passionate about. During this experience, I’ve utilized what I’ve learned in the classroom and have been challenged to take it a step further to apply my knowledge in new and innovative ways.”

Bakula leans against a space capsule.

Photo courtesy of Laura Bakula.

Laura Bakula

Major: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Year in school: Junior

Company name: The Boeing Company

Location of company: St. Louis

My internship experience at Boeing this summer was everything I thought it would be and more. From hands-on immersive experience to crazy networking opportunities to the kind of tours I would have never thought I would be allowed to see. The work I did was definitely very cool to me in that, working in support of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-15 Eagle, I really felt like what I was doing had a direct impact on the safety and security of real people. Overall, this internship has been essential in furthering where I want my career to go — the defense and/or the space exploration business.”

Hoffman stands in a jumpsuit and hard hat above an oil refinery.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Hoffman.

Andrew Hoffman

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: HollyFrontier

Location of company: El Dorado, Kan.

Over the last three months, I had the opportunity to work as a process engineering intern at HollyFrontier’s petroleum refinery in El Dorado, Kan. Throughout the summer, I had the responsibility of leading numerous projects that allowed me to utilize the engineering knowledge obtained from my classes and apply it to real world situations. Overall, this position provided me with an extensive view of what working as a full time engineer is like in the oil and gas industry.

Jacobsen stands outside his workplace.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Jacobsen.

Joshua Jacobsen

Major: Electrical Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: Black & Veatch

Location of company: Overland Park, Kan.

In pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree from Mizzou, I sought to use that degree to make a positive impact in the world. I chose Black & Veatch because their motto, “Building a World of Difference,” really struck a chord with me. This summer, I was able to work with a team in the Power Delivery department, and it opened my eyes to all the factors involved to ensure that the lights come on when I flip the switch at my house. Additionally, there are many intern events to network and socialize with other professionals.  We were also accommodated well, and the company paid for us to stay at a nice apartment complex.

Nguyen wears a lab coat and works with materials in an incubator.

Photo courtesy of Julie Nguyen.

Julie Nguyen

Major: Chemical Engineering and Music

Year in school: Junior

Company Name: Idaho National Laboratory

Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho

“I completed my Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Internship at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). During my 10-week internship, I worked under INL’s Energy & Environment directorate in a membrane sciences group. The project I was tasked with studied a chemical reaction used in a novel forward osmosis water treatment system. I am grateful for the opportunity to intern at a national laboratory and to work with experienced scientists on new technology. This internship helped me cultivate good scientific and professional habits — habits I will take with me when I go on to graduate school.”

Pizzullo stands underneath an ATG logo.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pizzullo.

Andrew Pizzullo

Major: Information Technology

Year in school: Senior

Company Name: Advanced Technology Group

Location: St. Louis

Advanced Technology Group has provided me with an exceptional internship experience where I’ve been able to contribute to actual client projects. I’ve always wanted to find a job that had the perfect balance of working within the tech space and working with people, and consulting at ATG has certainly fulfilled these expectations. With a fun company culture and continuous learning, this internship has provided me with exposure and training in the quote-to-cash space as well as knowledge within the Salesforce platform that will without a doubt help fuel my career after graduation.”

Robertson sits on the edge of cliff overlooking water.

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Robertson.

Kelsey Robertson

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: Burns & McDonnell

Location of company: Kansas City, Mo.

As a civil engineering intern in the Energy Global Practice at Burns & McDonnell, I worked on site development for power generating stations across the United States. Whether I was designing a layout and grading plan for a new settling basin or creating a cost estimate for the closure of an ash pond, Burns & McDonnell provided me with the opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced individuals in the field. As someone who wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted my career to go, an internship with a large company like this gave me the resources to go on multiple site visits, job shadow and network with industry leaders in fields ranging all the way from aviation to waste water treatment. With over 100 other interns at the KC headquarters, I also made lifelong connections at organized events like Royals games, intern BBQs, service projects and weekly intramural sports.”  

Sammy See holds a fish while wearing a hat and sunglasses.

Photo courtesy of Sammy See.

Sammy See

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Northwest Division, Kansas City District

Location of company: Kansas City, Mo.

I was part of a team of biologists who spent the summer on the Missouri River assessing habitats of and monitoring populations of an endangered, native fish — the Pallid Sturgeon. Every day was spent collecting samples, identifying species and recording data. While I’m studying freshwater habitats this summer, I hope to eventually study marine life. During my time spent with the Corps, I was introduced to many professionals who gave me incredible career advice. It was through talking with them that I became more certain of my career goals, more proactive with networking myself, and eventually more employed! The Corps has offered me another internship next summer. I would be with the Process Engineers (Chemical/Environmental engineers) and thus more aligned academically with my career goals. My internship this summer was an incredible learning experience that gave me insurmountable amounts of experience. I met some incredible people, heard some incredible stories and would highly recommend doing an internship before you graduate!”

Solomon poses for a glamour shot.

Photo courtesy of Alonis Solomon.

Alonis Solomon

Major: Information Technology

Year in school: Sophomore

Company name: Kauffman Foundation

Location of company: Kansas City, Mo.

“This summer, I had the pleasure of interning with Kauffman Scholars, Inc. at the Kauffman Foundation located in Kansas City, Mo. The internship provided me with a variety of skills including leadership, networking, professional development, and presentation etiquette, all of which I plan to utilize throughout my profession. I’ve been able to connect with people in the IT field, work on special projects and create relationships that can be of assistance and motivation to my future career goals.”

Marlon stands in front of a tall Hallmark Cards building.

Photo courtesy of Marlon Taylor Jr.

Marlon Taylor Jr.

Major: Industrial Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Location of company: Kansas City, Mo., Center, Texas and Metamora, Ill.

“As an industrial engineer, getting a breadth of experience is vital to one’s success because this discipline is so very applicable to so many industries. Luckily, this summer I had the opportunity of working with Hallmark Cards Inc. as a Supply Chain and Business Enablement Intern. In addition to gaining a breadth and depth of experience, I also was afforded new insights on my future goals of becoming a leader in supply chain management. During my time here I had such a challenging, yet very rewarding, experience which exposed me to: traveling to three different facilities, networking with executive leaders and sharpening my technical talents producing my own tool (The Taylor-Tool). Being able to gain this unique internship experience while being fully embraced by a strong company culture of valuing connections has me sad to see this summer come to a close.”

Warren stands atop the stairs on a private jet.

Photo courtesy of Sammy Warren.

Sammy Warren

Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year in school: Senior

Company name: Garmin

Location of company: Olathe, Kan.

“I worked this summer at Garmin, where I helped design products alongside other engineers. I was able to learn how to apply theory learned in the classroom to tackle real world problems. This internship has helped me shape my future plans and goals as I get closer to graduation.”