Student engineers gain valuable on-the-job experience

MADISON – Engineering Academy students at Bob Jones High School have ‘punched the clock,’ dealt with co-workers and met deadlines during their work in first-semester internships in local businesses.

The possibility of engineering internships for Bob Jones students “increases relevancy, the application of core classes and hones soft skills at an early age,” Engineering Academy Director Jessye G. Gaines said. Gaines matches internships with students and prepares them with workplace etiquette.

Interns complete four-week training and then begin their 11-week internships. Mentors at host companies help students, who engage in meaningful work, tours, shadowing and meetings.

The internships are mutually beneficial. Companies receive free labor and can recruit prospective employees. “Students gain incredible life experiences and exposure to the real world,” Gaines said. The experience “can bolster their interest in a career or redirect them to another pursuit.”

All students in the Engineering Academy’s Fall 2018 Senior Internship Program gave final presentations to peers and professionals during two days at the end of first semester:

* Justin Byers and Chima Ugwuegbulam — Lojix Software LLC.

* Sam Andrzejewski — Discovery Life Sciences with HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

* David Barreto, Adam Bastien, Ethan Culver, Payton Gloschat, Jared Harris, Brook Heater, Elizabeth Kasprzak, Viet Nguyen and Claire O’Neal — NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

* Riley Bong — Trivector Services Inc.

* John Chen — City of Madison Engineering Department.

* Grace Palenapa — STI Electronics Inc.

* Francis Dinh and Matthew Do — Maximum Technology Corporation.

* Jacob Hasenyager and Angela Kinsey — ADTRAN Inc.

* Kat Maner — Penta Research Inc.

* Alexander Huynh — Brown Precision Inc.

* Jack Woods and Minh Nguyen — Craft Designs Inc.

“We value our business partnerships in the community,” Gaines said. “They are an integral part of empowering our students for global success.”

The engineering internships were initiated at Bob Jones in 2009. To-date, Gaines has placed 200-plus students.

In 2018, Gaines was named High School Teacher of the Year by a Tennessee Valley engineering society to recognize her contribution for increasing students’ knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM curriculum. Gaines also sponsors Patriot Racing and Society of Women Engineers at Bob Jones.

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