If there’s one thing all Florida Tech students have in common, it’s having big ambitions. They don’t just strive to get a good education so they can get a secure job, they strive to get the best education experience possible so they can achieve the career of their dreams.
Florida Tech empowers its students to achieve such lofty goals by offering unique degree programs, hands-on experiential learning and resources that, in turn, help students secure internships and get their feet in the door of those dream jobs.
Meet just a handful of students from across various majors who are testaments to this experience, as they share how they landed their internships and offer advice for future Panthers with equally lofty ambitions.
1. Meet Andy Traficante.
Internship Host: Northrop Grumman
Major: Aerospace Engineering
“In Northrop Grumman’s logistics and modernization team, we provided support for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. We coordinated the post-delivery technical support of the aircraft, including technical publications for servicing, modeling and simulation of component replacements and supportability for maintenance tasks. Being proactive in your internship search is a must. Many professors have years of working experience in the aerospace industry and can provide invaluable introductions and recommendations. My advice would be to network as much as possible. Seeking out opportunities and organizations in addition to Florida Tech’s resources will go a long way. Looking beyond this experience, I look forward to starting the next step in my education. Florida Tech is one of only a few universities with a master’s program in flight test engineering—my intended career path. I met a few flight test engineers during my internship and was fortunate that my academic advisor was the head of the flight test program. I will soon begin taking classes and plan to have my master’s by May 2025. The availability of this program was a significant factor in choosing Florida Tech,” he says.
2. Meet Conner Welch.
Internship Host: NASA Short-Term Prediction Research and Transition Center out of the Marshall Space Flight Center
Major: Meteorology, M.S.
“This internship was made possible through the connection I made with assistant professor Michael Splitt. My NASA mentor recognized my GSA mentor, professor Splitt, because of our aviation weather research and some of the work we were doing that was submitted to the National Weather Association conference. Looking forward, once I complete my master’s degree, I am aiming to pursue a Ph.D. From there, I would really like to continue working with SPoRT, helping to research, develop and evaluate products for weather forecasters to take advantage of in order to improve their forecasts. My advice for Florida Tech students is to have confidence and apply to as many internships as you can, as you never know who might reach back out. Actively search for opportunities and ask for help from both professors and other students,” he says.
3. Meet Mason Greene.
Internship Host: ACT Engineers Inc.
Major: Ocean Engineering
“During my time at ACT, I was able to work on a variety of coastal-based projects, including a dredging inspection, bathymetric survey of local coastal towns, ribbed mussel spawning and much more. The connections I’ve made at Florida Tech were an important contribution to me acquiring the internship. The hands-on work I completed as a work-study student under Dr. Robert Weaver in his coastal engineering lab greatly prepared me, together with the advice from upperclassmen and graduate students. Florida Tech’s career services and other résumé/interview-building opportunities also gave me the ability to build skills that were required to make a professional impression. The best advice I could give to someone seeking an internship opportunity is to reach out to a company, even if they don’t have an official position open. In my experience—talking with other Florida Tech students, as well—a lot of companies don’t have internship positions actively posted but may consider opening a position if you show interest,” he says.
4. Meet Shayla Wilhelm.
Internship Host: NASA-Kennedy Space Center
Major: Aerospace Engineering
“This summer , I worked in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations lab. I was fortunate enough to return this fall and gain additional laboratory experience, working in the Applied Chemistry Lab. Florida Tech sets up students for success by providing them with rigorous coursework that is both challenging and enriching for students’ education. In particular, Florida Tech’s aerospace engineering program makes panthers competitive candidates in the job market by refining their technical skills through assignments, design projects and research endeavors. My advice to internship-seeking Florida Tech students is to make connections with important people in academia and the industry you desire to work in. After that, apply, apply, apply! I applied to many internships before receiving my internship at NASA, but the process of applying over and over again refines your application. My college and career experiences thus far have encouraged me to pursue an M.S. in aerospace engineering at Florida Tech. Presently, I am halfway through my junior year and plan to work at Kennedy Space Center until I graduate with my B.S. in aerospace engineering. After completion of my master’s degree, I would like to work at NASA-Kennedy Space Center as an engineer or scientist, preferably on a project dedicated to in situ resource utilization for the Artemis program,” she says.
This piece was featured in the spring 2023 edition of The Pursuit.