Finding Success through a Year of Turmoil: Matthew Smith

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My Name is Matthew Smith. I am a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering following the robotics systems track. For my fall semester of 2020, I interned at GE Aviation in Clearwater, Florida. It is my first rotation with them. I started on September 14, 2020 and ended on December 18, 2020. I obtained this internship experience by going to Embry-Riddle’s Meet the Geeks event with multiple copies of my resume and talking with different companies. GE Aviation liked what I had on my resume and what I had told them about myself and asked me to come by them during the Industry/Career Expo. I applied for a position that GE Aviation recommended me to apply for. After that, I was called back for an interview with GE Aviation and was offered an internship position. During my internship experience with GE Aviation, I worked in the Aftermarket with some of my assignments in the OEM. My job title was Aftermarket Engineering/Technology Intern. The group I worked with was composed of my manager (Production Supervision Manager), Senior Operation Management Staff Manager, an intern in the Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP), and Technical Support Specialist Hrly. Here, we manage the repair shop and find ways to improve production flow in the repair shop of GE Aviation. My task in this team was to apply Lean Manufacturing concepts in a high mix, low volume electronics shop. I developed digital tools to pull data from various systems and apply algorithms to optimize Repair Shop Processes and Group Projects. Key projects include: Process mapping Aftermarket Military ISO Process, Value Stream Mapping the 787 GPM Process, EHS Project for the safety for everyone in GE Aviation in terms of mustering, and Group Projects in the OEM (Preventative Maintenance Process and Functional Board Test Optimization). Unfortunately, one of my assignments, Shop Load Leveling Process, was canceled due to the fact it was supposed to take 8-12 months, but I did learn the aspect of the Shop Load Leveling Process. Additionally, I innovated and coordinated a Veterans Day Volunteer/Engagement Event. It was a three-day event for Veterans Day at GE Aviation in Clearwater, Florida. On the first and second day of this event, employees in GE Aviation obtained postcards and wrote letters of appreciation to the veterans at the Bay Pines Hospital in Clearwater. On the second day, employees would be videotaped expressing their appreciation for the veterans at GE Aviation and in America. The videos were made into one video and sent to everyone in GE Aviation in Clearwater. Due to a large tropical storm, the third Activity had to be postponed two days after Veterans Day. The third activity was that the employees would obtain an American and one of the Armed forces flags and placed it in the ground in front of the GE Aviation sign in a heart shape to show the veterans at GE Aviation that we care. Pictures were taken during this third event as well. Through these projects and events, I gained the skill of value stream mapping and improved on the skills of process mapping, problem solving, creativity and open-mindedness, leadership, and analytical thinking. In addition, I attend GE Aviation’s professional and educational Microsoft Team meetings. This included: This is Engineering, Building your Own Personal Brand and Get to Knows, This is Avionics and BGAIS, Goal Mapping, The Paper Engine Lectures, Advanced Materials: CMC, Managing Your Trajectory, Advance Materials: Additive, Introduction to Lean, Supply chain Lecture, and How to find your Passion within Engineering. Not only did these Microsoft Team meetings help me become more professional as an engineer but it educated me by introducing me to some aspects of engineering such as Materials, Ceramic Matrix Composite, and designing aircraft engines.

In addition, my internship experience was in person. My manager and the people who worked with me just made sure we follow the layers of safety provided by EHS. I do advise students who will be starting a remote internship this summer to get very familiar with Microsoft Teams and Skype and how to make meetings through these software with the people you work with. You will not be able to talk with people face to face as easily, so be patient with emails and make sure you have all your questions and concerns written down before joining or conducting Skype and Microsoft Team meetings. Additionally, to stand out as an employee/intern remotely, do not procrastinate on your assignments; instead, work diligently and be proactive to tackle other assignments even if it is not on your assignment list without overloading yourself. Even though I didn’t work remotely, if you are working remotely, do not get distracted on other tasks not related to the assignments your company gives you such as gaming or spending time on social media. Work will continue to pile on you. Even though your supervisor can not see what you are doing when working remotely, they will definitely see the quality and how long it takes to do your assignments. Additionally, practice effective communication verbally and through typing. If you can communicate effectively with your supervisor, leaders, and your fellow coworkers you will be able to effectively and diligently complete your assignments and progress as a better intern. Furthermore, make sure to connect with your HR, Site Leader, and other leaders/coaches in the company so they can remember you and potentially rehire you. Finally, continuously ask for feedback. Nothing makes a supervisor and/or company happier than to see an intern ready to take constructive criticism to better themselves to become a more efficient intern for the company. Furthermore, it will help you personally grow as a better person to be more accepting of the harsh truth about yourself and be a better employee/intern for future jobs.

Even though I have not worked remotely, I have learned to be patient and open-minded when waiting for a response or communicating with someone through email or other software due to safety reasons. I do not know what the person’s schedule looks like and the task they have to tackle. Instead of waiting on a response, be proactive, and tackle other tasks. In terms of not working remotely, I have learned that I can talk to my fellow co-workers and leaders, much older than me, similar to the way I talk with my peers. The way I was raised was to treat adults with the utmost respect and address them properly. It was really odd for me to call people older than me by their first name and speak to them as if we were on the same level. This caused me to have communication problems when coordinating meetings and caused the people part of the meeting to take over the meeting and direct me. I eventually stepped up out of my comfort zone and got better at communicating with the older adults remotely and in person.

I advise students seeking internships during the pandemic to continue to seek out internships. Make sure what you bring to the table (resume) matches with or comes close to the criteria of the company you are applying to intern at. To stand out, make sure you have enough leadership, teamwork, skills that the company practices, and software that the company uses since you most likely work remotely. In addition, make sure you do your research about the company you are applying to. Not only does that educate you to know what position to apply for, but it truly attracts a company to know that you know what they are all about. Due to this pandemic, companies are starting to minimize the number of interns they take in, so apply when you can. Also, I advise companies to make sure to get to know their interns, be patient and open-minded with them, adjust to working remotely, and make sure that they learn something related to their career and long term before they leave and move on to their next experience.



2021-02-05T14:39:02-05:00March 1st, 2021|Co-op/Internship Program, General|

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