I spent my summer, and STEP Signature Project, interning at Allegion specifically working in the engineering department of Global Portable Security. This included a move to Boston, MA for the summer where I learned all about their bike locks and the company. My main project for the summer was to perform testing on their different bike lock products in order to rank them and compare against their competitors. I also did smaller new product development projects and came up with a new test set up to test one of their new products.
My STEP Signature Project opened my eyes to what my strengths and weaknesses are as an engineer compared to what I thought they were. Going in to the summer I had never worked as an engineer so this was my first experience in the industry. I learned a lot about how the engineering process works instead of just learning about it in school. My manager and mentor was also able to teach me valuable skills to be successful in the workplace.
Throughout my time working at Allegion, what I thought was going to be my favorite project turned out to be my least favorite and what I thought I was going to hate was what I was most proud of. I went into the summer thinking that I wanted to do new product development after I graduated. After working on a new product project however, I found out that it was not what I enjoyed doing or what I had a natural talent for. This helped me better understand myself and where I want to be in my future. I found that sustaining and validation of products was very interesting to me and I thrived in that environment. I am excited to take these new skills and realizations of my talents to help mold and enhance my career goals and aspirations.
Throughout the summer, I worked very closely with my coworker that worked in the machine shop on creating prototypes and validating designs. He taught me a ton about working in the shop. I had very little experience with many of the tools and machines and he was able to make me comfortable in all parts of the shop. In the beginning of the summer, I was afraid to work on many of the different machines since I had no experience and they could potentially be dangerous if used incorrectly. He was very patient and showed me the correct way of using not only the machines used to test the products but also other tools like the CNC machine, lathe and milling machine. When designing products, it’s important to understand how different parts can be made and this aided in that learning.
While my coworker taught me to be comfortable in the machine shop and how to use the different tools, I learned that I really enjoyed this type of work. I found testing the different products to be a lot of fun where I could examine the locks after testing to see how they failed. After preforming different tests, I could predict how the product would fail in the real world which would allow us to alter the design based on these failures. By the end of the summer I found that not only did I enjoy doing this work but was more talented at this than expected.
Because of this relationship with my coworker I was able to transform my ideas of what my future career in engineering will be. As a mechanical engineer, there are plenty of different parts of the engineering process that I could be a part of. After completing my project, I feel that I have a better idea of the direction I will take in my future career.
This transformation in finding out what I enjoy and what I don’t is very valuable to my life. It is important to enjoy what you do in your work life and this development will aid in me finding a job I will like after I graduate. I will be able to change my future plans and goals to better reflect what I want to focus on and what I am good at.