Summer internships supply future employees with knowledge and skills


Photo courtesy of Sonia Brania

Joseph Daniel, Contributing Writer

UA students employed the skills and knowledge they learned throughout the school year to take on internship roles at companies all across the country this summer.  From engineering to public relations, internships are helping students prepare for jobs they could do full time post-graduation day. 

Spending three months of the summer away from school allows students time to clear their heads for the upcoming school year. But many UA students utilize their summer’s by preparing for the “real world” by learning and completing job tasks that they might have at a full-time job as an intern. 

Ethan Haynie, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering and mechanics, took a role this summer as an intern at Northrop Grunman in Melbourne, Florida, doing contract management.

“I made consolidated parts list spreadsheets of 650 parts with all the information that is necessary about the parts in order to support the spares and repairs team under contracts,”  Haynie said. “I also drafted contract modification letters and contract close-out letters.”

He has always been interested in the engineering aspect of his major, but this allowed him to take a look at the business side of things. 

“Although it could be redundant at times, I found it very informative and meaningful to have had this experience and not limit myself in my future job intentions,” Haynie said. 

Haynie also listened to several guest speakers who provided him with career advice for the future.

“We would have VP positions come speak during lunch and tell the story of their career, how to network and move up through the company, as well as a description of what they specifically do,” Haynie said. “This only reiterated my decision about wanting to eventually work for Northrop Grunman in an engineering position at their Space Park location in southern California.”

Max Peterson, a senior majoring in public relations, had the chance to learn from another type of role model. Peterson was able to see Denzel Washington accept the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award and was a seat filler for the NBA Awards.

Peterson spent his summer as a publicity intern with WarnerMedia in Los Angeles. He wrote press releases, coordinated travel itineraries for talent and planned events and press conferences for TBS, TNT and HBO.

“What was really cool was when I would get to pull clips and parts of shows to use when talent had interviews,” Peterson said. “I also loved getting to interact with talent as a coworker more so than treating them like a celebrity because I met so many people I idolize and adore from the work I’ve seen them in.”

Another senior preparing for a job post-graduation, Max Duggan is in the Culverhouse College of Business and will be graduating in the spring with a BS in management information systems and a minor in mathematics. Duggan got to spend time in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, while balancing an internship at Enquire Solutions. 

Enquire Solutions is a software company that does contact resource management for senior housing companies.

“I knew my co-workers coming in for my third year, so coming in was an easy transition,” Duggan said. 

Duggan started projects in the first week of his internship because of his familiarity with the company, which meant he was already comfortable and didn’t need to go through the phase of getting acclimated to the nuances of the company again. 

“I developed an integration for syncing tasks from a client roadmap to an internal task list and imported data for new clients in the company’s database,” Duggan said. 

This company has since offered Duggan a position as a software developer for when he returns home from school. However, his plan is to try to find a different job as a software developer in the Denver area.

Lastly, Sonia Brania, a senior majoring in Environmental Engineering, spent her summer interning at Brandenburg Industrial Service Company in Chicago. 

She worked as an on-site engineer for this $15 million, 2-year power plant demolition job, managing a crew of over 50 members. Brania aided in managing of projects by creating and monitoring CPM schedules while drafting cost and completion projections.

“I was by far the youngest person on the job so I got the opportunity to learn exponentially from people who have been with the company for longer than I have been alive,” Brania said. 

Additionally, she directed the collection, classification and proper storage of universal and hazardous waste while managing and documenting all materials entering and exiting the job site.

“In the future, I would want to work as a project manager for a firm, so the on-site experience definitely helped me understand all facets of what goes on in the field,” Brania said. 

Although different career paths, these students all share a common goal as they start their senior year: to graduate and get a job. By engaging in their industries prior to graduation, they’re given an extra opportunity to make valuable connections and become familiar with processes in their fields.