Terps at Work: Rachel Romano | A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland
Rachel Romano MPR intern at the US Capitol
I did much more technical work than I was expecting, and I got to sign my name on real projects that actually brought value to the company.
Name:  Rachel Romano
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Employer:  MPR Associates
Location:  Alexandria, VA


How did you find the internship/co-op?  What was the interview process like?  I found the internship when I was looking through companies to visit at the career fair in the fall.  I also went to an info session to learn more about the company. I was invited to a 45-minute long on-campus interview after I submitted my application, and a few weeks later I was invited to an on-site interview at their office in Alexandria, VA. There, I had lunch with the UMD recruiting engineer, got a tour of the office, and had two 45-minute technical interviews with senior engineers. I heard back within a week.

To what extent did your internship meet your original expectations?  It exceeded my expectations. I did much more technical work than I was expecting, and I got to sign my name on real projects that actually brought value to the company.

Were opportunities provided to develop your problem-solving abilities?  The entire summer was problem-solving. I was able to work on a large variety of projects in different areas of mechanical engineering (fluids, thermodynamics, stress analysis) while being fully supported along the way by the engineers on my teams. 

Why would you recommend this experience to other students?  MPR is a technically challenging place to work, and I learned a lot over the course of the summer. You are treated just like a full time employee, so it is a great way to see if you would actually enjoy the work at the company.

Did you develop or improve effective writing skills through the internship?  Most of the products that the company produces are written: reports, calculations, memos, etc. As such, I took a short class during the internship on how to write effective technical documents.  I had a lot of practice preparing my own short documents, editing coworkers' documents, and receiving feedback on both experiences.

What do you plan to do differently as a result of this experience?  I plan to work at MPR as a full time employee when I graduate because I had such a great experience as an intern. I realized how much I love technical work and incorporating writing into my career.

What advice would you give other UMD engineering students seeking an internship or co-op position?  Apply, apply, apply, and use the Engineering Career Services Office to your advantage! I did mock interviews to prepare myself, and made sure my resume was impeccable before sending it to employers.