Some campus activities I participate in like the Virtus and the Black Engineers Society prepared me for my internship because they taught me a good deal about professionalism and professional communication.
How did you find the internship/co-op? What was the interview process like? I found out about the internship opportunities through the career fair; I got there bright and early, talked with a recruiter for a good twenty minutes, and left my resume with him. The interview process consisted of a behavioral interview then NG gave out offers after that point.
What campus activities or courses do you think helped you, or would have helped you, with this internship? Some campus activities I participate in like the Virtus and the Black Engineers Society prepared me for my internship because they taught me a good deal about professionalism and professional communication. They taught me how to carry myself in a workplace environment and this definitely helped me network at Northrop and maintain good relationships with customers. One class that helped me during my internship was Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions. The class was centered around simulations that were done in groups that generally dealt with teamwork and solving an objective. This class showed me areas I could improve on my leadership and teamwork skills, while also providing a space to actually work on the things I needed to improve without having detrimental consequences. I would recommend it to any one pursuing an engineering degree if their schedule allows.
Was there diversity among your colleagues within the department and throughout your internship/co-op experience? Being at a location based in Maryland, I expected the site to be very diverse, and I was not disappointed. There were many people that looked like me and many people that didn't. There were many women in positions of power; our CEO is a woman as well. Being that engineering tends to be a male-dominated field, it was a nice change of pace.
Was there a formal program for all interns at the company? Was peer support available throughout the internship? The internship program at Northrop Grumman is a formal program, but it is not very strict or consistent as it pertains to what each intern actually does. Your work is dictated by the project and department you are assigned to support. I interned there for two summers but the work I did was not very similar. You are usually paired with another intern for the summer and this is great for peer support. It gives you someone you can connect with that is going through the same things you are going through. Also, there are many events which provide opportunities for interns to connect and develop a peer network.
What advice would you give other UMD engineering students seeking an internship or co-op position? The best advice I would give to UMD engineering students is to start your internship/job application search early, apply to as many places that fit your interests as you can, and find ways to gain experience or skills in your field even without an internship. Many job applications open up before school starts and some of them can even be on a rolling basis, so it would be to your advantage to get started on applications as early as possible. Logically, applying to as many places you can increases your chances of someone giving you a call back. Finding ways to gain new skills whether that be through research, online courses, clubs, or coursework is something people take for granted. Spending your free time gaining nothing for a whole year while you do not have a job or internship doesn't prepare you any better for the next job season.