Two of the most interesting aspects of my internship were having the opportunity to analyze engine test data as well as filter and sort fault codes on various engine test bed machines.
Name: Allison Griffith
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Employer: Caterpillar, Inc.
Location: Sanford, NC
How did you find the internship/co-op? What was the interview process like? I found my internship during the Society of Women Engineers International WE20 Conference. After talking with one of the Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) recruiters during the fair, I was selected for an interview which was conducted over Zoom by two current CAT engineers. They asked me a variety of behavioral questions about my previous experiences that I had listed on my resume as well as why I was interested in interning for CAT.
What were the most interesting aspects of your internship? I worked with two different types of engines for Compact Track Loaders and Skid Steer Loaders for the majority of my summer internship. Two of the most interesting aspects of my internship were having the opportunity to analyze engine test data as well as filter and sort fault codes on various engine test bed machines. I was able to get hands on experience using a variety of different engineering softwares such as PTC Creo and Microsoft Power Bi.
What campus activities or courses do you think helped you, or would have helped you, with this internship? As a mechanical engineering major, many of the classes I've taken so far helped significantly with my internship. ENME272 (Introduction to Computer Aided Design), ENME202 (Computing Fundamentals for Engineers), and ENES232 (Thermodynamics) were particularly helpful for me since I primarily worked on both the design and testing aspects of engines. Some campus activities I participate in like the Flexus Women in Engineering Living and Learning Program and the Society of Women Engineers taught me a lot about what to expect in an internship, how to work efficiently in a team environment, and how to become a better public speaker.
How would you describe the company culture? What was the most helpful thing your supervisor did to make you feel comfortable at the organization? They are a very friendly company filled with employees who will go out of their way to help each other and make each other feel valued in the workplace. My supervisor, in particular, was absolutely amazing. She made sure to connect me with other employees at CAT who worked in areas that I was interested in. For example, she introduced me to a team of engineers who are working on creating electric construction vehicles.
Was there a formal program for all interns at the company? Was peer support available throughout the internship? There was a formal program for all of the interns at CAT, and I was able to work with full-time engineers on a variety of projects. They also hosted different networking and social events for interns throughout the entire summer. This made me feel more connected to other interns, especially considering that my internship was fully virtual.
What advice would you give other UMD engineering students seeking an internship or co-op position? I would encourage students to start applying for internships/jobs as soon as possible and apply to as many positions that you are interested in and qualified for. Some companies open their job and internship applications as early as September, so it is beneficial to figure out where you want to apply, so you have enough time to research the company, as well as ensure that your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn are all up to date before you apply. I also recommend reaching out to UMD alumni and interns who are currently working or have worked at the companies that you are interested in.