777X
Topic Author
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:44 am

Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:17 pm

Hello,
I am a sophomore at the University of Illinois studying aerospace engineering. I'm looking for summer internships, and would appreciate any suggestions. I'm happy to share my resume with anyone who has a lead or knows someone who could help me out. Although I do not have any prior experience in the industry, I'm a quick learner and I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone more hard working or dedicated. Please PM me if you have any suggestions, and thanks!
 
Chaostheory
Posts: 1002
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:09 am

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:36 pm

Give Rolls Royce a try. They're a relatively short drive away in Indianapolis.

Read up on their social media sites and web pages for the latest tech updates eg advance 3 and their history etc. A quick skim through RR The jet engine wouldn't hurt either. You can probably find a copy in your uni library.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:26 pm

Look at the airlines. They have engineering internships available also.
"It's not getting to the land of the nonrev that's the problem, it's getting back." ~~Captain Hector Barbossa
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BravoOne
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:59 pm

Boeing has hundreds of interns. Check them out as well.
 
KPWMSpotter
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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:01 am

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:01 am

I'll second the airline suggestion. Having the flight benefits while you're still in school is a great perk; you can take all sorts of crazy trips abroad while you still have the free time. Plus the actual job can be pretty satisfying too - get to work hands on with in-service aircraft, instead of being holed up with some CAD software in an office all the time.
I reject your reality and substitute my own...
 
IADFCO
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 4:20 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:12 pm

I am a professor of aerospace engineering. Especially if you think you might be interested in research, consider an internship in the research group of one of your professors (you are in a department with a very strong research program). See if your school has a formal coop program: mine offers a five-year BS AE with two semesters spent at one of a fairly long list of aerospace companies. Finally, consider waiting at least one more year, or until you have finished your first courses in aerospace structures, aerodynamics, and controls. Right now you might not have enough of a background to take full advantage of an internship, but in a semester or two things will probably be quite different. Best of luck in any case, you picked the right field!
 
m007j
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:05 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:21 pm

GE Aviation in Cincinnati is also a great place to intern, had a few coworkers who interned there last year. Plus, there's always NASA if you're into some space stuff as well. I believe if you want airplane stuff as opposed to the space side, you'd have to go to Ames or Langley (CA or VA). If you don't mind doing things that are not strictly engineering related but STEM related, check out the Air and Space Museum! (ps I can help with that)
 
gtae07
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Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:22 am

IADFCO wrote:
I am a professor of aerospace engineering. Especially if you think you might be interested in research, consider an internship in the research group of one of your professors (you are in a department with a very strong research program). See if your school has a formal coop program: mine offers a five-year BS AE with two semesters spent at one of a fairly long list of aerospace companies. Finally, consider waiting at least one more year, or until you have finished your first courses in aerospace structures, aerodynamics, and controls. Right now you might not have enough of a background to take full advantage of an internship, but in a semester or two things will probably be quite different. Best of luck in any case, you picked the right field!


I'm an engineer at a well-known aircraft manufacturer... and I kinda have to go against the good professor...

If you're a sophomore, start looking for a co-op position NOW. Wait another year and most places won't hire you--you won't be able to do enough rotations before graduating (you want at least 3, preferably 4-5). I started co-oping after three semesters. And honestly, I didn't really need my classes that much when I started. I hardly use any of the qualitative stuff at all, outside of some basic performance calculations and some really basic structures stuff (which I learned well after graduating--our undergrad structures program was useless).

You'll spend your first rotation mainly learning the company--where data is stored, how to use their systems, and basic info about the product--but even then you can be useful if your employer has half a clue about what to do with co-ops. If you know excel, can do arithmetic, and have any kind of clue when it comes to even basic hands-on work, you know enough to be a useful co-op.

And I wouldn't go into research over a co-op or internship unless you're dead-set on staying in academia. You need an industry perspective, it pays better, and it's more of a foot in the door for later employment. My employer almost never hires entry-level engineers that haven't been through our co-op or intern programs. And most employers are going to value co-op experience over GPA.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 624
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Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:55 am

^^^ +1 (Although "... employer almost never hires entry-level engineers that haven't been through our co-op or intern programs or the USAF" may be true.)
 
gtae07
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:33 am

WPvsMW wrote:
^^^ +1 (Although "... employer almost never hires entry-level engineers that haven't been through our co-op or intern programs or the USAF" may be true.)


Not really, no. I'm referring specifically to engineering positions in the US--that is, positions requiring a BS in engineering (four year degree) doing design and analysis type work. I know other parts of the world use "engineer" to refer to a mechanic or technician, but that's not what I'm talking about here. And I mean no slight to them--engineers and mechanics have different roles, but that doesn't make one or the other "less than" or "more worthy".

My employer rarely posts entry-level engineering jobs at all in the first place; co-ops hire through a separate process but everyone else has to apply for the few open positions. And if you have intern experience here you pretty much go to the top of the stack. About the only thing that might give you an edge would be experience as an A&P or aircraft electrician, then getting your degree.

Simply graduating with a degree then serving as an officer for X years, or serving as enlisted prior to going to school, is not an automatic in. Unless your role in the military was in an engineering-type position, in which case you probably won't hire in at entry level because you have prior experience. You'll be applying for one of the "experienced" positions, which there are plenty more of.

That's not to say having military experience won't help you in general--it does, all other things being equal. If you're in school it will definitely help you get that co-op or intern position. But co-ops and interns are strongly preferred for entry-level jobs because they can hit the ground running--they already know how the company works. Companies like interns and co-ops. It gives them a way to evaluate potential future employees in a real workplace setting at much lower cost and risk, and they get useful work in return.


But back to the OP, one other thing that will really benefit you is hands-on experience. Airplanes are preferred of course, but cars, construction, etc. will be helpful too. Engineers really need to understand at least the basics of what's entailed in building and maintaining their designs. Unfortunately, too many do not.
 
IADFCO
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 4:20 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:00 pm

In my opinion, being dismissive of the research world does a disservice to our young colleague. Research is just a different part of the aerospace engineering ecosystem, with its own set of skills that need to be learned. Because, almost by definition, every major innovation starts as a research activity, aerospace research can be a fantastically rewarding career. Employment is absolutely not limited to academia, and in fact "ivory tower" professors are rarely successful in aerospace research. Aerospace research is carried out in universities, government laboratories, and to a smaller extent in industry. I am talking about TRLs of 0 through 2-3 (for the OP: look up TRL!). Just one simple example out of a million: there is no structural design, say of a wing or a fuselage, that is not based on large finite element models, and there are many finite element software packages available, and finite elements are taught at the undergraduate level. Well, 50 years ago finite elements were a research topic.

To be successful in aerospace engineering research, one needs to be fully aware of the state if the art in a specific area, identify unmet needs, show why addressing those needs is important and what the payoff could be, propose innovative ways of addressing those needs, and carrying out the work. These are all skills that need to be learned and practiced, and an internship in the labs of a good aerospace engineering department, like that of the OP, is an excellent place to get an introduction.
 
777X
Topic Author
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:44 am

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:35 am

Thank you for all of the advice.

To the professor and others who suggest research, I have already reached out to several professors. While none of them currently need extra help on their research teams, I plan on staying in touch with them so that I can join a team as soon as a position opens up. I would definitely agree that having research on my resume would immensely improve my chances of getting an internship.

As for internships and co-ops, I actually have a pretty good idea of where to apply, and have filled out many applications already. The biggest problem is getting personal contact with a hiring manager. I think that being able to speak to someone personally would greatly increase my chances of getting an interview. If anyone here would be willing to help get me in touch with someone at their company who does hiring, I would greatly appreciate the help.
 
gtae07
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: Aerospace Engineering Student looking for internships

Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:24 am

Your best bet for finding co-op positions is to go to career fairs at your school, and talk to their co-op office. The people who do the hiring go to the career fairs, and you can get very valuable face-to-face time with them. The co-op office will also know if there are any "back doors" into certain companies. When I hired in, all I did was talk to the co-op office and they lined me up with an interview with one company. I still work there, but now our co-ops are almost exclusively recruited through career fairs. Interns get hired through the standard hiring process unless they have personal connections.

A lot of companies have had to get very "by the book" in terms of hiring practices and HR will only accept resumes that have gone through the official application process. It's a CYA measure. Any manager or HR person getting emails from a random person saying "here's my resume please hire me" probably get summarily deleted, if they even make it through a spam filter.

If someone knows you and can vouch for you, and passes your information along as a referral, that can be a big opening. My brother got his current job because our dad was deadheading back home and was sitting next to a guy who worked in the biomedical field. One thing led to another and he gave my dad a business card, said "have him email me". But that's a small company, not a 10k-plus employee aerospace corp.

Random FYI: The term "hiring manager" typically refers to the manager/supervisor of the position being posted. There's not some person with the title "hiring manager"; there's a whole group of people that do that and they are usually part of HR. You want to speak to someone who might be involved in college relations or something like that. Linkedin might be a resource for finding those people.

In general though, not many people are going to just hand out contact info for managers and such that they work with because doing so is an implicit endorsement of the person the info is given to. No offense, but I'm not about to hand out my supervisor's contact info to some random guy on the internet, because I'd look really stupid saying "well, I don't really know him, he's just some random guy on the internet."

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