I have spent the past two summers working at the Lockheed Martin as a paid high school intern. This experience has provided an awesome opportunity to network with experienced engineers, get my hands on real space hardware, and learn to survive and thrive in the commercial world.
Lockheed Martin Engineering Explorer Post
How did I get my internship?
During my time in high school, I have been readily involved in the Lockheed Martin Engineering Explorer Post, an extracurricular high school program put on by Lockheed Martin. As part of this program, I worked through group engineering challenges every other week. Every year this club culminates with a final project requiring the construction of some competition ready machine. During the 2018-2019 school year, the final project was to construct an autonomous line following hovercraft.
As the group leader of my 6 person team, I organized the construction of this robot and served as the lead coder for the project. Our team ended up performing extremely well in the final project showcase, and we were named the winning team for the challenge. At the final design review, my efforts in both leading my team and in my programming abilities were noted by Lockheed Martin staff, who invited me to apply to the inaugural class of high school interns. You can find out more about the hovercraft using the link on the right.
2019 Summer Internship: Systems Engineering
After creating a resume and making my way through the interview process, I was invited as one of 50 students across the country to be part of this brand new internship. During this summer, I worked as a systems engineering intern to support the assembly and testing of a commercial communications satellite. I was primarily responsible for ensuring that the electrical ground support equipment (EGSE) could be properly connected to the spacecraft for an upcoming thermal vacuum test. This required me to read up on and thoroughly understand space grade cable connectors, understand and implement technical testing diagrams, and locate connectors for pretest bake out, all within a cleanroom setting.
Outside of my regular duties, I worked on a number of small projects including the review of electronic box design for an upcoming deep space mission in which I found and diagnosed a number of errors. I also took part in regular intern professional development workshops, and even had the chance to meet with Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson.
Beyond my work duties, I also participated in the intern talent contest and ended up being named one of three winners among over 6000 high school and college interns nationwide. I showcased my talent for creating electronic gadgets through a 60 second montage of my projects. I also attended the intern kickball tournament, barbeque, and more!
2020 Summer Internship: Manufacturing Operations
Eager to see a different side of the company, I applied to a manufacturing operations role the following year. Despite the global pandemic cutting down the number of positions available, I was welcomed as one of 38 interns among 500 applicants for a second year at the company. This year I was assigned to optimizing the facility setup and processes of an aging manufacturing center. I had the pleasure of working with two new high school interns in this role, and I acted as a guide as they adjusted to the program. My fellow interns and I employed a 6S approach to production processes to find and implement improvements in this facility. This work was complemented by a high profile customer during his tour through the facility.
In addition to these duties, I worked on a number of projects outside of my scope. I worked with my 2 intern teammates to add functionality to an internal WordPress site for our assigned building. This allowed for new employees to find resources faster and was so well received that it was selected to be implemented in other buildings around campus. I also took a leadership role among the intern cohort by organizing a nationwide intern outreach event for students interested in STEM careers. I led the group through planning and executing the virtual event for 3-7th grade students. The event focused on the importance of communication and educated the young students about what Lockheed Martin does through a series of fun communication based games in breakout rooms.
Beyond my work related activities, I coordinated an all intern group for the campus wide virtual fun run. Our team was awarded the title of "best dressed" for our elaborate running costumes. I also took home the prize for "best running companion" for running with my rescue dog. My two intern coworkers and I also developed a rubber band catapult for the intern catapult contest, but lost despite throwing the longest distance and having the coolest color (no hard feelings, but maybe hard feelings).