The featured student this week is Elizabeth Fowler, a mechanical engineering student from Franklin, Tennessee, who worked as a co-op student at The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan.
Fowler specifically worked as Production Engineering co-op for the Ion Exchange, Anion Plant. As a Production Engineer, her main goal was to understand what a production engineer does from day to day. When first arriving at Anion, they were going through a shutdown. This was a great opportunity for Fowler to see the insides of vessels and learn about what happens during a shutdown.
Fowler’s projects mainly revolved around environmental issues. Her main responsibilities were updating the flow of organic materials going to the waste water plant, finding where the most delays happen in the process, and to constantly learn.
“Co-oping with Dow gave me a wide range of experiences in my field,” Fowler said of her experience. “It also helped me discover my strengths and my interests for my career, while allowing me to contribute real value to the company. I am now ready to hit the ground running when I start my first job.”
The Office of Engineering Professional Practice is hosting the following events during the fall semester:
- Information Session – August 29, 5 p.m.
- Engineering Cookout – September 1, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Engineering Courtyard at Perkins
- Prep for Success: Promote Yourself – September 6, 5 p.m.
- Interview Deadline – September 8, noon
Last day to be added to interview schedules in advance of the Engineering Expo
- Prep for Success: Interview Strategies – September 12, 5 p.m.
- Fall Engineering Expo – September 21, 2–5 p.m.
Thompson-Boling Arena Concourse, enter at Gate D
- Interview Day – September 22
Thompson-Boling Arena Concourse, enter at Gate D
By scheduled appointment only
Download an iCalendar file with these events
The featured student this week is Kenth Santibanez Rivera, an aerospace engineering major from Knoxville, Tennessee. He worked as a co-op student at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Santibanez Rivera worked specifically in the Heliophysics Division at NASA. Duties consisted of performing testing for a mass spectrometer called mini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer. His responsibilities included installing and modifying two vacuum chambers in the lab to test the mass spectrometer, designing parts and assemblies using SolidWorks, and purchasing materials for all testing procedures.
Santibanez Rivera’s work aided the department’s operations by adding a newer, larger, testing chamber to the lab which will assist in speeding up the testing of mass spectrometers allowing the department to operate more efficiently to meet all testing deadlines.
Santibanez Rivera was also given the opportunity to attend meetings related to the progress of WFIRST (Wide Field Infra-Red Space Telescope) which is one of NASA’s future space endeavors. WFIRST is the replacement to JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) which is the replacement to the Hubble Telescope.
Santibanez Rivera expressed his amazement at watching so many people work on such a large project at one time but stated the collaboration he witnessed regarding needed design improvements to the overall project was in one word, incredible.
“Having a front row seat in my work here at NASA gave me the courage to continue my studies while showing me that aerospace engineering, my current major, is the field I want to go into,” he said.
The featured student this week is Tiffany Onwu, a chemical engineering major, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who worked for DuPont (Chemours) in New Johnsonville, Tennessee.
Onwu specifically worked with the department that focused on the final product. Her projects included assisting with implementing and training of a new instrument that would be used to monitor the quality of the finalized product. Also, she was involved with a project that was used to improve the quality of the product by performing various laboratory tests and collecting data.
Her training consisted of instruments used to test for certain specifications on finalized products. She was able to learn new technical skills while on rotation as well on how to perform process capability; which displays the actual performance versus the customers’ specifications based on each quarter.
A challenge Onwu faced was being able to balance and manage her time between projects. This was easily solved with calendar scheduling and dedicating certain days to a project. She also learned that it helped to talk with her mentors frequently, which assisted her to prioritize various tasks. The most valuable benefit she received was to be open-minded when it comes to the different areas on site that you are considering working in, whether it’s in the lab or in the plant.
The featured student this week is Spencer Miller, an electrical engineering major from Kingsport, Tennessee, who worked as a co-op student at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport.
Miller worked specifically in the Control Systems Support Department in the PLC/ Hardware Group. The main focus was supporting the hardware and software on the control systems and supporting the programmable logic controllers at Eastman.
His main responsibilities included installing a cooling system on an electrical cabinet, collecting PLC software inventory for the entire plant site, uploading and categorizing a large amount of PLC manuals to the company website, creating and wiring a relay simulation, adding electronic badge access to two of our group’s buildings, and changing the wiring for the outside lights in the building.
Miller was also given the opportunity to shadow fellow employees, giving him an opportunity to learn from them and grow from their experiences. A big challenge he faced during his assignment was little knowledge of technical electric. This limited the complexity of the assignments he was able to do but by shadowing other employees, it was possible to gain the basics of industrial electrical skills and knowledge.
Joseph Schindler, a mechanical engineering major, from Del Rio, Tennessee, worked as a co-op student at Altec Industries in Burnsville, North Carolina. He worked specifically in the quality department. His day-to-day responsibilities were to perform inspections of parts when they were received and performed audits of associate’s gauges to ensure they are working correctly.
Schindler’s favorite project was to create a new system for testing one particular product that came in and is now creating a new standard because of it. He also helped to update standard operating procedures. He was given the opportunity to learn more about CAD (Solidworks) and welding projects with a blow torch and plasma torch.
Schindler’s monthly responsibility was to give a monthly report about gauges during the quality meeting in front of all the managers, many of the supervisors and some engineers. This was a difficulty to him as he does not like to speak publically in front of large groups, but this gave him the opportunity to come out of his comfort zone and to learn how to be prepared efficiently for larger meetings. The most valuable part he took away from his rotation was the actual opportunity to work in the field before he graduates to get a feel on how the workforce works.
The featured student this week is Jonathan Farmer, a Nuclear Engineering major from Tullahoma, Tennessee, who worked as a co-op student at Dominion in Richmond, Virginia.
In reporting on his rotation, Jonathan specifically worked in the Nuclear Analysis and Fuels department for Dominion Resources. The group he was in was called the Nuclear Core Design (NCD). NCD is in charge of monitoring all of Dominion’s nuclear reactors and most of the time is spent on analysis of data coming from the reactors to ensure that they are operating within NRC and Dominions guidelines.
In particular, Jonathan was responsible for the monthly reporting for the North Anna Power Plant reactors and Millstone Power Plant Unit 2. The monthly reporting consisted of running computer codes to simulate and analyze how the core had performed over the month, and then puts the results of that analysis into reports that could be shared with reactor engineering at the plant and could be used to prove to the NRC that they were operating within guidelines if required. This process took up the first two weeks of each month and then he would work with full time engineers with projects they were currently working on, such as pre-outage work and testing updates to computer codes.
The featured student this week is Jillian Schwendeman, a biomedical engineering major from Marietta, Ohio, who worked as a co-op student at ChoiceSpine in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Schwendeman worked in the Engineering Research and Design Department. The engineers assigned her different tasks as they needed to get projects done. She helped a lot with editing and creating drawings for their parts. She was also given design tasks for improving certain instruments.
Schwendeman was able to enhance her skills working with the Solidworks and the process of 3D printing and how to operate the SAP system. At times some of her assignments felt challenging since she wasn’t familiar with the systems they used for designing all the projects and to fulfill the expectations set for her but she learned how to ask a lot of questions and for the input or ideas of others.
Being able to work in the professional setting while still in school gave her a lot of experience with not only engineering, but communication and responsibility in the workforce.
The featured student this week is Isaiah Cash, a computer engineering major from Corryton, Tennessee, who worked as a co-op student at Motorola Solutions in Franklin, Tennessee.
Cash worked in the public safety communications department. Their land mobile radios are the basis for police, medical, and emergency services across the country. He was expected to coverage test areas with new radio systems.
Most of his time during the work term was spent with the customer or other Motorola engineers. Although driving around in a car testing radio strength is monotonous, he was incorporated with senior engineers to understand the system and network required for their radio systems. His training mostly involved being with other engineers in the field. There were few upfront guidelines or staged training, so he was able to take time learning from the other engineers or on his own.
Cash gained a few technical skills while on the job which included networking and the RF systems. A big challenge to him since the company is very spread out over the southeast, he had to learn how to travel at moment’s notice. It was important to plan travel and keep up with work responsibilities outside of the office.
The featured student this week is Cassandra Finney, a chemical and biomolecular engineering student from Clarksville, Tennessee, who worked as a co-op student at Exxon Mobil Chemical Plant.
In reporting on her rotation, Finney specifically worked in the technical department where they produce Santoprene. She was able to interact with all departments in the plant and gained a variety of different experiences.
Many projects were beyond her knowledge, but she was able to ask questions and take them one step at a time and accomplish them. A major lesson she gained from her co-op experience was that communications and business relationships with people are key for success.