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Riya Patel standing in front of John Sevier Combined Cycle Plant

Student Spotlight: Riya Patel

Electrical Engineering major Riya Patel provides advice and tips for students who are seeking internships and co-ops.  Riya also shares stories from her journey through internships and co-ops with multiple companies.

Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to participate in multiple internships. I completed 2 summer terms with Eastman. There were several important projects that I worked on during this time.

After completing my first term of internship at Eastman in the summer of 2021, I accepted an offer at TVA in the fall of 2021 as a power operations intern. There were several benefits that I enjoyed while working at TVA. Currently, I will be completing my 4th term at TVA. It had been a pleasure working with the group. Going to plant visits for work really excites me since I’ve been expanding my knowledge and learning new concepts every single day. Working as an intern/coop while studying in school helps you to build not only your engineering skills but also your communications, documentation, management/leadership skills. Studying the concepts in school and then implementing those concepts in the real-life application helps you gain a lot of practical experience. These opportunities have helped add to the success of my early engineering career.

This summer I have accepted an internship to work in a control group at Burns and McDonnell in Atlanta. I cannot wait to start this new and different experience. I do believe that the more internship experience you achieve, the easier it is to find your specific work interests.  Internships and co-ops not only help you boost your skills but also motivates you to stand out during your real-world challenges. I encourage everyone to look for any available internship opportunities because it is important to learn how to convert skills taught in the classroom into practical applications. There are many career opportunities and job fairs organized by UTK such as the Engineering Expo, VolTrek, and other networking events. I got my very first internship opportunity at an Engineering Expo. Also, a fun part of internships is relocation, since this will help you explore more cities and help figure out where you want to live when you accept a full-time position.

My mentors have done a great job making my engineering career successful. I would like to thank my managers/supervisor and mentors for their guidance and support. I also would like to thank the office of Engineering Professional Practice for organizing all the job fairs and networking events which help students with their internship/co-op opportunities and careers.

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