After months and months of applying, waiting, interviewing, and waiting some more I have finally accepted an offer to intern at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. I’ll be working as a member of the Aeromechanics Team focusing on rotorcraft research. I’m ecstatic about the opportunity and I can’t wait to begin to 10-week internship in June. I’ve never been west of Pittsburgh so this will be a great travel experience for me. What’s surprising about this opportunity is that it was one of the most popular internships and received just under 700 applications! I was one of the lucky ones and received an offer over spring break. In total there’s expected to be around 50 or 60 interns at ARC this summer. I’m lucky to have Prof. Terry Hart as my academic adviser. As a NASA astronaut himself, a letter of recommendation from him really helped my application. Its times like this that make me very glad I chose to come to Lehigh.
However, lets take a step back though and look at the whole internship application process. It started early on last semester at the Fall Career Fair. I began by distributing my resume and getting contact information at various companies. After that I applied to some positions listed on the LUCIE website (career services). I applied to GE, Lockheed Martin, Volvo, Voith Hydro, DuPont, W.L. Gore and others. While waiting to see if I had any interviews from those, I researched companies and applied to their own postings online on the company websites. I applied to positions at Lutron, Boeing, Lockheed Martin (again), Orbital Science, Northrop Grumman, NASA, and others as well. In total I applied to somewhere in the range of +/- 60 positions with varying roles in mechanical engineering.
I really only heard back from seven or eight companies, some of which just informing me that I was not chosen for the position. I had been selected for five interviews: Lutron, Voith Hydro, DuPont, W.L. Gore, and NASA. Some interviews were over the phone and others were in person on campus. I personally think that my interview skills are much better in person so my phone interviews weren’t the greatest but I didn’t think they were bad in any way. Some of my interviews I thought went really well, I thought I had nailed them. Unfortunately for me that must not have been the case, I was rejected from just about everything. This is what makes this whole process somewhat funny. One would think that I’d have the smallest chance of getting a job with NASA due to the level of competition but it was the opposite. After weeks and weeks of waiting and being denied from job after job I was beginning to get discouraged. I thought about trying to find a research position here at Lehigh for the summer instead. Then, over spring break I got my offer from NASA. I technically got two offers (out of the 15 positions I applied to), and chose the position at ARC.
But the scary thing is that now that this process is over another one fills its place…..job hunting for after graduation. Oh boy…..I hope that goes a little more smoothly.