Feedback from a High School Intern Pursuing a Career in Engineering:
“I have finally settled in here at Texas A&M. I wanted to once again thank you for the amazing and enlightening internship, which has strengthened my drive to pursue a career in engineering. As promised, here is my take on the internship.
One of my favorite parts of the internship was meeting with so many different people in different fields. This really expanded my view on what was really out there and as a senior in high schoo;, being enlightened as to what kind of fields there are other than what you are interning in helps in your decision as to what you want to start in at college. Another part of the internship that I very much enjoyed was the visits to the chemical plant. Before going to the chemical plant, I would hear the title “Process Engineering” and I was very confused, but talking with the engineering project manager about it got me very interested. Also, being able to see another place for chemical engineers and being able to see what is available with a chemical engineering major was something that I was looking for in the internship.
I also enjoyed learning the safety side of things. Putting together tox-sheets showed me how much effort goes into safety and how before I took it for granted. Learning about transportation and logistics in a company was also very enlightening. I already had an idea that transportation was complicated, but actually being a part of it showed me how important it is to the company. Though I enjoyed seeing what transportation was about, I wish that I could have had a project with engineering project manager that possibly introduced me a little more to engineering. Other than that, I enjoyed the internship and appreciate that you took four months to help guide this high schooler, while most would accept nothing less than a person with a year of college under his belt.
Once again I would like to take a moment to thank you for everything you have done for me. I will use my experiences with the chemical corporation and your teaching to guide me as I take the leap into college and soon into a career.
What can we learn from this?
1) I am proud to work for a company that supports an intern program. It empowers high-schoolers by helping them understand and experience life as an engineer.
2) Some of these interns may have such a good experience that they might end up applying to work for us.
3) I have found out that some of the school districts have formal intern programs where students can apply for an internship. They are accepted on criteria such as grades, career goals, hobbies and an interview with the School District Intern Coordinator. Our interns have come from the Richardson school district in Texas. If they have a positive experience and then decide to work for us, we are potentially getting the cream of the crop.
4) Recently, I discovered that there are high schools with Magnet campuses all over the USA. These are schools that get more focused towards career niches, e.g. The School of Science and Engineering in Dallas school district that has been recognized as among the best public schools in Texas.
5) Being proud of the organization I work for is an important component of what makes my job good. No job is perfect, and there are trade-offs. If an employee is considering jumping ship to work for someone else, this could be one of the factors that convinces him or her to stay – “the other company is offering me more money, but why should I move when the organization I work for makes me feel proud and treats me well?”.
6) The importance of good career choice is clear to me when I look at my coworkers and friends in the community. Some of them are in their 40’s and 50’s and still changing careers; even I have changed careers three times. Some of these people are deeply unhappy, caught in a rut in a working environment that does not fuel their passion- they cannot find a way out. They are handcuffed to pay checks, awaiting benefits to lock in, or feel they are too old to make a change – what a tragedy. This really helps drive home my passion to help young people get it right early on.
What can you do?
1) Set a goal to provide high-schoolers with an internship at your workplace, get the information on how it can be done, and help make it happen
2) If you own a business or can get permission for students to visit your workplace, why not contact schools to see if there is an opportunity for you to provide a real life career day for students that are considering a career in your type of industry
3) Participate in career days at schools
4) Talk to your kids and help them find their passion, listen to them and guide them. Once you start narrowing down the options, make the effort to find out how to get them to visit people in that business and learn the positives and negatives of the jobs. Help them learn what the trade-offs are
5) Give them the knowledge and help them set specific measurable goals to get grades that will make college become a reality. Reward achievement to encourage progress.
6) Before enrolling your kids in a school, take the time to visit the school and talk to the teachers and principal. Find out what challenges the school faces so you are well aware of the success potential. We live in a world of choices; make the effort to make good educated ones.