Engineering students compete in internship presentations


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Photo by Ronnie Mendoza |

Serena Mueller, a School of Engineering senior, presents last Monday at the “Interns Present” competition.


Nine School of Engineering students brought their first-hand experiences of internships to Rutgers last Monday at the first “Interns Present” competition.

It was a competition that pooled the best of more than 25 applicants to give 8-minute presentations to win prizes and relay internship advice and impressions to undergraduates, faculty and professionals.  

Amulya Kattimani, a School of Engineering junior majoring in electrical and computer engineering, started the program to change the outlook on internships in the University.

“The goal of this program is mainly to recognize the impact of internships and bridge the gap between classroom and industry … which needs to be addressed immediately,” she said.

Photo: Ronnie Mendoza

The panel of judges included faculty and professionals who evaluated the presenters on their experiences.

The judges for the event were Kevin Bailey, Helen Buettner, Steve Guttenplan and James Nelson — all are graduates from Rutgers.

The first presenter, Dorothy Libring, a School of Engineering senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering, interned at Mount Construction Co., Inc. in estimation and construction management.

Libring said she learned the most valuable internships teach students what they want in a career.

Serena Mueller, a School of Engineering senior majoring in chemical and biochemical engineering, interned at Mondel?z International, Inc. in research, development and quality for ingredient replacement in a cheese cracker to be released in Italy in 2015.

She said her education in engineering prepared her to learn on-the-job skills, such as trouble-shooting new equipment and developing new procedures.

“In college, you have the textbook. You always know what the answer is going to be,” she said. “In an internship, you make the answers.”

Mueller found Mondel?z was a perfect fit for her and accepted a full-time job offer from them.

John Berardi, a School of Engineering senior majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, said the process started when he seriously asked himself what he wanted to do with his future.  

He applied for an internship in research and development after watching a Bell Helicopter presentation.

He said the company felt the interns’ lack of experience was a good thing. The interns saw things with fresh eyes that others could have overlooked.

He said interning reminded him why he was working so hard in college and where he was going in life.

“Seriously ask yourself: What do you want for your future? If you’re not fully satisfied with your answer, then I hope you pursue an internship and seek a new one,” he said.

Michael Cornacchio, a School of Engineering senior majoring in chemical and biochemical engineering, said he joined many student organizations and went to CareerKnight for opportunities. 

As a result, he found his current one as a validation intern at PSC Biotech — his job included testing cancer-treating medical procedures, products and protocols.

Coracchio revealed that his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic and kidney cancer, so the real world applicability of the internship really spoke to him, he said.

“I came into this internship thinking it was going to be making coffee and running errands,” he said. “I learned the first day [that was not the case]. … This work affects our day-to-day lives.” 

Phil Lubik, a School of Engineering senior majoring in MAE, worked in Proton Onsite for hydrogen fueling systems. 

He felt one of the better parts of the experience was learning how important it was to design a product that was not only efficient but also easily serviceable.

Work culture matters, too, he said. He found how important it was for everyone in a company to believe in working towards a mutual goal.

“Volunteer your time [and] stay the extra bit, because you’ll be able to learn so much from that company and transfer that wherever you go,” he said.

The other presenters, interning in companies such as United Technologies Corporation, Humanscale, L’Oréal Group and Johnson & Johnson, were able to invent new procedures or products, implement real-life professional impacts and understand a little more about themselves and their futures. 

Carolyn Andia, a School of Engineering senior majoring in MAE, worked in aircraft armor development. Keisha Mullings, another School of Engineering senior majoring in MAE, worked in critical-to-quality procedures. Diane Jones, a School of Engineering senior in the Packaging Engineering program, managed cosmetics and hazardous materials. 

Tom Farris, the dean of the School of Engineering, points towards the great and growing internship program as a resource.

“Each of the School of Engineering’s seven departments, as well as Career Services, have valuable relationships with leading corporations that benefit both employers and students,” he said.

Mueller and Lubik tied for first for the audiences’ choice for “Best Presentation.” Mullings won third place. 

Keynote speaker Jeff Lowinger, senior vice president at Eaton Corporation, wrapped up the event by encouraging early initiative in students.

He encourages students to go to networking events such as these.

“Send your resume out --— these are key,” he urged. 

He especially hopes to instill a push for innovation in young undergraduate engineers.

“The way [industry’s] doing things now, we need to unlearn [them],” he said. “You’re going to have to come in with new bright ideas to create a new market.”


By Danica Sapit

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