My Internship: Learning and Landing My First Job

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Hi, my name is Douglas Dillion, and I am currently a junior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School. This past summer I was honored to participate in the Conexus Interns Program along with nearly 300 other students in Indiana. I was interested in the Conexus Interns Program when I heard about it. I figured it would be a great experience and it fit perfect with my career pathway. I had previously taken a robotics engineering class along with a CAD class at my high school. In my robotics class, I was certified for basic programming on a yaskawa motoman robot used in industry for packaging items. Since I was so interested in the area of technical education, I decided to apply for the internship.

            To apply for the internship, I was asked to provide a summary of the CTE classes I have taken, the grades I have earned and the reason I was interested in the internship program. After filling out this information, I waited to be contacted by a host company who wanted me to work for them. Stark Industries in Terre Haute was the first company that contacted me. After they contacted me, I met for an interview and to tour their facilities. About a week later I got an email telling me that I was selected as one of three interns for the six-week internship program.

            During this past summer, between my sophomore and junior years, I worked as a temporary intern. Each week, I rotated to a different department at Stark Industries to see what I enjoyed and what I was best at. During the first week, I worked in the quality control department checking deflector shields that went into jet engines. To do these checks, I learned how to use many new instruments I had never used before including a CMM. The CMM used a probe that I would touch off of certain points on a part, and it would check to see if the part was in tolerance. I would also do plate checks, which included checks using manual instruments.

            The following two weeks I worked in the CNC mill department. My first few days I learned how to run one of the smaller mill machines, and I made tiny washers. After the washers came off of the mill, I deburred and cleaned them as well as checked and made sure certain aspects were within tolerance. For the rest of my first few weeks, I ran a different mill machine and made a different type of washer. After those washers were done, I also deburred and cleaned them. For the rest of the time I was in the mill department, I watched the process of how dome plates were made and did simple plate checks on them to make sure they were within tolerance.

            The next part of my internship with Conexus included a 2-day summit at IUPUI for all of the Conexus Interns. This was a great experience. We heard from many business owners about their business and industry. We also went to workshops where we worked on our employability skills, like an elevator pitch, along with various engineering challenges, such as building a hover craft with only a CD, balloon, and water bottle cap.  We also participated in non-internship- related activities such as playing basketball on campus and doing a scavenger hunt with our new friends. The final day of the summit we went to a company’s facility to tour and see what different industries are like.

            When I returned to work at Stark Industries, I was in the lathe department. The lathe department was very similar to the mill department. In the lathe department, I got to see how various parts were made, and I learned about some basic programming of the lathes. I also deburred and did plate checks on the parts after they were finished.

            The next department I went to was the EDM department. In this department, machines use electronic currents to make slots, cut, or put holes in various parts. I did a little bit of everything in the department. I did everything from setting up a sinker to popping holes on mixers. My favorite thing to do was running the Tek-4 where I placed a mixer in the machine, and it used an electrode to pop holes in the mixers. While a part was being popped, I cleaned, deburred, and checked the parts. I checked the size of the holes with gauge pins and flow tested the parts in an air tunnel. I enjoyed the EDM department the most, and I was also the most efficient in this department.

            About a week or so after I finished my internship, Stark Industries sent me an email and asked me to return and work for them part time during the school year. I am currently working part time in the EDM department at Stark Industries after school. The Conexus Interns, program not only got me my first job, but it also gave me the opportunity to see what industry is truly like and see what I’m good at and enjoy.

            I would like to thank my host company, Stark Industries, and Conexus Indiana for this amazing opportunity.

Douglas Dillion is an associate at Stark Industries and a student at Terre Haute South Vigo High School.