Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Ford Motor Company
Position Title: Product Development Intern
Major(s)/Minor(s): Mechanical Engineering
Work Term:Summer 2018
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
I work as an intern in a branch of Product Development called Body Exterior. Specifically, I am on a team who works with water management and water leak issues on vehicles. I have participated in multiple tests on vehicles and my project focuses on hole sealing process to prevent water from entering the car. I also have been working on my technical writing on the day to day by drafting design rules on various issues.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I actually obtained this internship in a very unusual way from the typical apply, interview, hire process. Ford came to UMBC for the first time in 10 or so years in Fall 2016. At that time, I was a sophomore and was very interested in working on cars or possibly going into automotive engineering. The Career Center was holding a networking event for Ford where two representatives who went to school in MD, one from UMD and the other from UMBC to try to recruit interns and full-time employees. I went to the event and made a contact, John Reed from UMBC, who is actually now my manager. I applied for their summer 2017 internship, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my interview was right after their hiring process was underway and most interns had been hired by October 2017. I ended up not being hired by Ford for that summer. However, I decided that I was still invested and determined to have another opportunity with Ford. I kept in contact with John Reed through email and talked with him when he came for the Spring 2017 career fair. Between his first visit in Fall 2016 until I reapplied Fall 2017, we sent around 30 emails back and forth. He remembered my name and my experiences and would always want to know how I was doing in school and in my extracurriculars. Through keeping contact, John was able to find me a spot on his Body Exterior team and it was a moment I'll never forget as a first step in my career.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
I have enjoyed meeting the people I have so far. Ford is a huge company, and everyday I’m always meeting new people from such diverse backgrounds, even more so than UMBC. Everyone has a different story, and it’s something that has always intrigued me about others. I’ve gotten so much support, and learned more than I could have imagined, especially thankful for my supervisor and everything she has done for me. It’s also pretty cool to see and work on vehicles that come out in the next 1-3 years.
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
I believe I have made an impact and will continue to make an impact after my internship is over through my summer project. Even though the end product will be a small part to a large process Ford has in designing, manufacturing, and launching their vehicles, it’ll help save the company a lot of time and money through preventative measures and checks.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
Two things: One, understand everything happens for a reason and just keep trying. When I first didn’t get the internship with Ford, I was devastated. I knew since high school that I had an interest in the automotive industry and to be denied that was heartbreaking. But I didn’t give up, and John encouraged me to stay in touch and reapply for the following summer. So I made sure I still held my head high, and do the most that I could, which was talking to John. Two, networking is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your career. I believe I got this job at Ford almost fully because of networking. Obviously, you have to meet certain criteria of the company and have basic knowledge to have the position, but I impressed John and showed him my passion for working for someone like him and a company like Ford.
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