During the summer of 2018, I had the privilege to work as an intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work at JPL and I got to live it as a part of the Integration and Test team on the Mars Helicopter Project (which will be headed to space on the Mars 2020 mission).
You may think “Wow, she must have done a lot to get an
internship at JPL!”. However, my resume was as built as any inexperienced
college student. One thing to keep in mind is don’t dismiss activities or
projects done in high school; an engineering project I did in high school is
what caught my JPL mentors’ attention when they decided to contact me for a
One my first day, I was extremely overwhelmed because the
project was well underway, and I needed to catch up. My mentors were very
understanding and welcomed any questions I had throughout my internship. I was
tasked with assisting with testing as well as writing procedures for future
Aside from work, JPL held several activities for interns the entire summer, like speaker events, short movie series, and facility tours. My most exciting experiences as an intern were: (1) participating in the NASA Summer Intern Challenge, (2) being interviewed for an article highlighting some projects at JPL, (3) participating and watching any Mars Helicopter test activities.
One thing I learned from my experiences at Embry-Riddle is to be patient because hard work and a little luck will pay off. I’ve had some hard semesters where I thought I wouldn’t make it through a class, but I studied hard and got the grade I needed on the finals. The curriculum that was most helpful to me during my internship at JPL was Technical Report Writing. While different JPL projects have their own formatting requirements, I used what I learned to section the procedures I was writing, make sure that the steps were detailed, and ensured that there was enough information for each step with images, callouts, and tables.
This past summer I had an internship with BendixKing. To Embry-Riddle students, the name might sound familiar as our King building is named after King Engineering which merged with Bendix a while back. Fun fact: they actually have a picture of the King building hanging up in their lobby.
King Engineering, Prescott Campus
At the internship the environment was friendly and within my first week I felt like I had been there forever. My boss told me multiple times ‘we will treat you like a real engineer only we pay you less and you might need help sometimes’.
Now at first this sounds scary and leading up to the internship I was worried that I would not do well; although after that first week I was not worried to fail. Everyone was willing to help me or point me in the direction of someone who could.
Honeywell is BendixKing’s overarching parent company and they are the ones that hosted the interns; which means there were a lot of activities and lessons that they put on for us. One that especially helped me was these online seminars where they talked about all aspects of aviation. We were able tour the Honeywell facilities and get a background into what all they do. Honeywell likes to keep their interns as long as they do well over the summer.
On my last day before I left my internship I was offered a position to return to BendixKing. I will be returning to Albuquerque NM to work for BendixKing as a software engineer. The lessons and methods that I have been taught at Embry-Riddle helped me; the ‘learning how to learn’. I was only able to accomplish this because of what I have learned at Embry-Riddle and through the great connections that they have.
Over the past two summers I have had the privilege of interning at Micron Technology, a world leader in innovative memory solutions, in my home town Boise, Idaho. Let’s just say there is a reason I went back a second time – working there is awesome!
During my internship I was a DRAM Product Engineer working on designing test programs and gathering component-level data to detect errors and debug DRAM modules. The techniques and application of many design tactics and programming practices that I have learned over my first three years at Embry-Riddle helped me immensely during this time. For example, my knowledge of circuit theory from my Linear Circuits course and lab directly translated to a quick understanding of a DRAM module and what to look for when one of the modules wasn’t passing tests. In addition, my classes in coding (such as C and MATLAB) helped me quickly pick up Python, the language I used over the summer to develop and contribute to programs already being used throughout the department.
Picture of myself (middle), my supervisor (left), and mentor (right) down in our lab.
Work at Micron was also made much easier by the great group of people I was surrounded by each day. Over a simple 3 month period (6 months including last internship) I met multiple people who I still keep in contact with today and genuinely treasure as some of my good friends. A couple of times a month we would all get together and play board games and simply have a great time. Along with getting to work on some great and emerging technology, these connections with my coworkers are a reason why I highly recommend Micron as a place for anybody to work at and/or get an internship for a fantastic summer!
Jumping in to an internship can be a scary experience. However, I can honestly say I was well prepared through the help of my coursework from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I am look forwarding to learning as much as I can my last year here at ERAU so I can be the best engineer possible!
Picture of all the interns at Micron for summer 2018
At the beginning of my freshman year at Embry-Riddle, my goal was to study computer engineering with a focus on cyber security. As my education progressed, my focus shifted, and I instead became increasingly interested in working for private companies to develop new technologies. Classes like Digital Circuits, Microprocessors and Operating Systems taught me how to solve complex problems using both hardware and software solutions. My coursework at school also taught me invaluable lessons about troubleshooting code and circuits and approaching problems from many different directions.
This past summer I interned with Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho. Micron is a semiconductor company that produces memory devices such as dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and flash memory as well as solid state drives. My job as an intern was to develop software to improve the testing of Micron’s DRAM products. In this job I was required to learn two new computer coding languages, and the specifics of how DRAM operates. While the task of learning two new languages sounds daunting, my courses in learning computer languages at Embry-Riddle prepared me, and I was very successful in writing the code for my internship. My courses in circuit theory and design gave me the necessary background information I needed to learn about how DRAM operates.
Picture of myself (left) and my coworker (right) and the cubicle we shared.
While I am not allowed to discuss the specifics of the work I performed for Micron, my studies at Embry-Riddle fully prepared me for all the tasks I was given in my internship. The technology I worked with at Embry-Riddle was up to industry standards which allowed me to quickly integrate into my work environment. My successes at Micron Technology can largely be attributed to the foundation my studies have provided and I am very thankful for the experiences I have had at Embry-Riddle.
Picture of all the interns at Micron for Summer 2018.
The forensic biology program has so many possible career options, which may cause some difficulty in finding an internship if a career path is uncertain. Thankfully I have always known I wanted to work in the medical field so this was the perfect internship for me. My internship with Vive Peru combined my love of travel with my desire to learn more about the medical field. With this program, I was able to shadow doctors from several different specialties in multiple hospitals and clinics in Trujillo, Peru, assist with large medical campaigns, and volunteer in a small community adjacent to Trujillo.
Due to the nature of the program, shadowing doctors in hospitals in a foreign country, it was very structured and the only decisions I could make was which doctor I wanted to shadow that day. However, creativity could be used for the volunteer efforts. I could do all of the decision making for what activities we were going to do with the children we worked with, with only one constraint: the activity had to be related to public health. Due to the structure of the program, the learning objectives were set out for each of the hospitals we visited based on what the previous volunteers experienced in the past.
My microbiology course at ERAU was beyond helpful when working in the lab and explaining what was going on to my interpreter who did not understand any medical or biological sciences. I was able to point out differences between the way the labs run in Peru versus what we were taught in class. Many of the differences throughout the hospitals and clinics, not just in the labs, were due to lack of funding and supplies. It was definitely a culture shock to see the lack of sanitation and sterilization, but that only happened because they did not have enough supplies to use a new set of gloves or dental tools or even agar plates for each patient.
I am so grateful for this internship and opportunity. Peru was a beautiful place with beautiful people. The program does an amazing job of connecting volunteers with the community and making a real difference in the community. Many of the patients at the free medical campaigns said the only go see the doctors when these medical campaigns were held as they could not afford to see a doctor otherwise. The children in the community where I volunteered are so grateful for us and were so sad to see us leave. Learning about medicine and watching doctors work was amazing but seeing the change that my contribution made to the community was much more fulfilling.
When I started in the forensic biology program at Embry-Riddle, I didn’t exactly know what direction I wanted to go in. Since the major is filled with many different paths including biology, chemistry and even law, I wanted to explore my options. To challenge myself, I looked for an internship involving chemistry because after taking 5 semesters of chemistry in the course of my undergraduate career, I felt like it would be beneficial for me to explore the field outside of the classroom.
After searching around, I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to be an intern at Desert Tox LLC. This private drug testing laboratory was just what I was looking for.
My supervisor Mike was extremely open in allowing me to decide what I wanted to learn in this internship. With his help, we put together a list of objectives and before I knew it, my internship had started. I was able to observe drug sample collections, run validation studies and file reports, and see what it really took to run a successful lab.
I was very grateful for my chemistry background when coming into this internship. When I observed these tests and figured out how they worked, I was able to do further research on the exact mechanisms of detection that were being used and really understand not only what the machines were doing but what molecular mechanisms were at work. This was a really good feeling.
Student Madison Babione at her internship with Desert Tox, LLC.
This internship gave me a deeper understanding of not only chemistry but also one of the directions I could go in my career. It also helped me with my senior year biology classes because after learning what I did during my internship, it actually became extremely relevant in my senior year coursework. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to work there.
As an undergraduate student, finding internships in the medical field can be tough; most medical facilities are unable to grant undergraduate students an internship because they already have contracts with medical schools. Knowing this, I approached my biology professor, Dr. Eaton, to see if she had any creative ideas for an internship. I was pleased to hear that she had several and the one that popped out to me most was an internship at an animal hospital. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the office of the office manager at Prescott Animal Hospital discussing internship timelines and objectives.
My Embry-Riddle Forensic Biology internship at the Prescott Animal Hospital
The way we decided to design my internship experience was to start with simpler tasks and work my way up. This gave me ample opportunity to get to know the hospital and to really get the most out of my experience. I spent time in patient rooms, lab, radiology, dental, and finally worked my way up to the surgical suite.
Each area was exciting for me and I learned something new every day– whether it was something medical or about the equipment or myself or individual patients. Although I enjoyed each aspect of my internship, my favorite part was the surgical suite. Dr. Skinner was the surgeon I followed almost exclusively and he made the surgical experience exciting and loaded with information to learn. Dr. Skinner took the time to explain each task he performed whether it was which suture he used or the direction in which he cut the surgical site. I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I spent in surgery with Dr. Skinner; he was a wealth of information and experience. One of my favorite parts of surgery was that even when everything was planned and carefully thought out, if the body (after being opened up) showed that it required a different plan of action Dr. Skinner and his colleagues were able to assess the situation and revise any techniques. This took constant vigilance and it was amazing to see the gears in the doctors’ head turning in order to figure out a solution.
After the summer of working at the animal hospital and confirming my love for surgical medicine, I was thankful for all the experiences ERAU gave me to prepare me for my time at the hospital. Because of the classes I took at Riddle, I was able to be a part of the conversation and understand the terminology being used. I am so grateful for all I learned and hope other students are able to experience something so wonderful as my time spent at Prescott Animal Hospital!