At the beginning of April, I was hired by United Equipment Accessories as an engineering intern. After just completing my sophomore year at Wartburg College, this was my first real work experience, so I did not know what to expect. It turns out that I learned and got to do more than I ever could have hoped. As opposed to a bigger company, UEA allowed me to do a wide variety of tasks and work on all aspects of the design process instead of working on just one specific component or doing the same mundane task all summer.
At the start of my internship, I went through the manufacturing process of a slip ring; I spent one day with each part of the process—shadowing the workers and also building the parts of the slip ring as well. The employees at UEA were exceedingly helpful and never hesitated to show me what I was doing wrong or offer some advice to improve my technique of whatever task I was doing. I could tell that the employees really cared about the quality of their work and made a conscientious effort to make sure they were producing the best possible product.
One of my main projects this summer was to update drawings and parts on UEA's CAD software, Solidworks. This was an exciting task because I had taken a class dedicated entirely to CAD programs, and it was fun to put what I learned in class to use in the real-world. My mentor, Kyle Riegel, let me do most of it on my own, and I had to figure out how to solve any problems I ran into which was difficult at times but ultimately gave me a much better understanding of the software and assemblies that I was working with.
In addition, there were some things that I learned at UEA that could not be taught in the classroom. Understanding how businesses work and all of the terminology and norms can only be learned at the office through experiences and being involved with the normal activities that take place at UEA. The engineers allowed me to sit in at their bi-weekly meetings which were very beneficial to me because I got to hear all of the different projects that the engineers were working on and see how they worked as a team to solve the problems that each individual engineer was running into.
Although the summer flew past and was only three months, the experiences and knowledge I learned here are indispensable and will help me with whatever job or task I am doing in the future. I am tremendously happy that I got this opportunity at UEA, and I think it gives me a distinct advantage over other students my age because of the variety of experiences I was able to have here.