In my signature project I took an internship at Tesla in Fremont California. I was hired to support production handling, helping to build some of the most S/3/X/Y cars in the world!
I really developed myself as an engineer; I took tools I learned in the classroom and applied it to real-world applications. Technical skills were not the focus, however. Learning how to work with people from different education levels, backgrounds, and experiences made the whole experience worthwhile. My job wasn’t the most compelling, but I learned that what is most rewarding is the process, not the outcomes of a project. Additionally, it was super exciting getting to explore new industries. I now am putting what I learned at Tesla to use in both in and out of the classroom. In interviews for future internships I am using my Tesla experience to give me an upper hand in the applicant pool.
My favorite parts of being in California was all the outdoor activities I was able to do. I picked up surfing, and it turns out I am pretty decent at it! I would go about every other week with a group of other interns. I did a lot of hiking too. At my Air BnB, I was the youngest of all 7 roommates! The ages were 31, 34, 35, 43, 45, and 52. It was pretty crazy being only 20 in a group home situation where you knew no one, but it made me more responsible. As crazy as it sounds, I now do my dishes immediately after I am done using them instead of letting them sit in the sink. This is probably my biggest transformation out there haha. I got to meet a bunch of really cool interns during car deliveries and met some OSU people too (shoutout Alex and Todd!)
I honed my IE skills such that I began learning things in my position that are currently taught in OSU in higher level classes. This is a benefit because when I attend these classes I will have previous experience actively using the tools which are taught. Additionally, my talents have been scoped out by companies like Zoom and SpaceX for internships and full time positions. I am proud to say I will be joining SpaceX next summer and it is all thanks to my experience at Tesla. The SpaceX recruiter knew that a Tesla experience means knowing engineering fundaments and having a fantastic work ethic, and now with Tesla on my resume I am not only able to talk about it, but it shows as a badge of honor.
My project which I worked on gave me hands-on experience working with production associates. It is interesting learning how to work with a group of people from all walks of life, but I was able to present myself well and train people on how to improve standard work, which is a large topic in my ISE 2400 class. Additionally, I am using radiation experience that I gained with my eKanban system to work on my senior capstone project which focuses on piloting a program aimed to help NASA get more electronics into space. These hard and soft skills have been very valuable and I am looking forward to being able to use them in future internships, classes, and full time opportunities.
The experience opened my eyes to the possibilities of what industrial engineers can do. My boss was absolutely inspiring and I got to see the processes behind Tesla and what makes it successful. I can use these key traits in the future when I manage teams or my own company. Additionally, I made some great friends and great contacts; I have possible internships lined up at Tesla for next year and keep in touch with people I lived and worked with. Catch me in Tesla-Texas working on bringing the world closer to 100% sustainable energy!