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Katherine Clayton

Katherine Clayton


Memphis, Tennessee

During my time at DENSO Manufacturing, a Japanese automotive manufacturer, I worked three rotations in Maryville, Tennessee, from May 2018 to May 2019. I worked in the final assembly department in the instrument cluster plant working with production engineers to maintain, improve, and develop new production lines. During the Summer 2020 term, I interned virtually with PepsiCo working as a Supply Chain Intern for Frito Lay North America. Upon completion, I gained a holistic view of the supply chain and the criticality of each operation.

While co-op was not something I went in to college expecting to do, I actually didn't even know what it was when I went to the Engineering Expo. When I received my offer letter, it fit perfectly into my schedule and gave me the opportunity to experience in-field work.

During the first two rotations of my co-op, I worked on the addition of a product to a current production line. In the third rotation, I helped participate in the final customer required trial to ensure readiness prior to added the product to the line. Through this, I practiced all about lean manufacturing and the process paperwork that I learned about in my classes. This summer, I was nominated (1 of 8 interns from 980 total interns) to speak with PepsiCo's Chief Commercial Officer, Ram Krishnan, reflecting on the internship experience and discussing individual career aspirations.

Having a year of experience, I feel more attentive to my classes as I see the practicality of what we learn. I am able to relate concepts to things I previously had to do in the field. In terms of professionally, I think I am better prepared to enter a male dominant work force. I developed better communication skills and teamwork abilities.

A co-op is one of the most impactful experiences I have had in the past three years since graduating high school. I was able to find an area of work I was interested in, which led me to switching disciplines upon my return to campus. Although an internship gives in-field experience, the long term assignment of a co-op gives opportunity for meaningful work and contribution to projects.

I love hanging out with friends around Knoxville, trying new restaurants, and exploring the Smokies when I am not studying.

Katherine Clayton

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