My name is Michaela Dayco, and I’m a graduating senior in the Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Since I was very young, I have always had a passion for Boeing aircraft and the skies due to how often I traveled. At first, my goal was to become a pilot. I always admired the captain and the crew for their skills and accomplishments, which was embodied in their confident strides across the airport; I wanted to be one of them–to one day be a 777 or 747 captain. Because of this desire, I discovered ERAU. Over time, I noticed that my passions have evolved. While I still one day want to learn how to fly, I discovered that my passion actually lies in Aerospace Engineering. I wanted to gain more insight about the life cycle of an airplane: the design requirements, constraints, preliminary design, testing, production, sustainability, and so on. Other than being an engineering student at ERAU, I am also the vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) (National Leadership Honors Society), a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and was previously the secretary of the Embry-Riddle Crew Team. Michaela has completed an internship with Embraer and The Boeing Company.
How did you land the internship and how did you navigate the process?
During the Spring 2018 semester, I attended NSBE’s 44th Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was actually able to land my internship by attending Boeing’s “Hospitality Suite,” which is an event during the conference for students to talk to recruiters prior to the actual convention. It was a tough experience, most especially due to the competitive climate, but I did learn a lot from it. I learned about my resilience and perseverance in attaining my goals. Also, while the experience was tough, I still held on to my confidence because I know that I came prepared.
How did you prepare to apply/interview?
I was an active member in NSBE and was able to get help from my fellow members on how to heavily improve my elevator pitch, resume, and presentation style. In addition, I was also coached by the then-AE Career Services Program Manager, Stephanie Rozboril. I signed up for a resume review session as well as a mock interview session. This was incredibly helpful because the mock interview was done in a format similar to STAR – the interview format that Boeing uses. This helped me practice answering questions in that particular fashion. For all those interested in Boeing Internships/Full-time Positions, I highly recommend utilizing Career Services and joining organizations like NSBE, SHPE, SWE, and AIAA in order to be prepared for career fair environments.
What experience have you had and what did you do in your internship?
In my internship, I was part of Detail Stress Analysis and Support Team (DSAS), which was under Structures Engineering and Design and Analysis Solutions (SEDAS) and Structures Core Engineering. In DSAS, I got to support a program that was still under product development. I helped them by creating an analysis tool that can rapidly size their critical structure based on the geometry, design, environment, and the loading that the structure will face. For this internship, not only did I utilize the knowledge that I acquired as an AE student at ERAU, I also learned new concepts – most specifically aircraft load paths and load transfer factors.
What are the benefits you will take away from doing the internship when looking for a full-time career?
There are so many benefits from having an internship with regards to looking for a full-time career. For one, there are valuable lessons learned during an internship that can be taken into the future for career development. In my internships at Boeing and Embraer, I was able to take away some very useful lessons that I apply today: I learned about my work ethic and drive, how to keep my thoughts and things organized for my productivity at work, how to schedule my projects, when it is appropriate to ask for help, how to adapt to new processes, how to do the building block approach when solving complex problems, how to always justify my results before getting my work peer-checked, and many more productive habits.
After obtaining an internship, a student will also be more appealing to other companies due to prior aerospace industry experiences. This is a benefit because other companies will see the value that prior experiences can add to their company.