Leah Lynch, Junior
Why did you choose your major?
"I took my first calculus class in high school and it was incredibly difficult for me because I wasn’t flying through questions as I used to in geometry and algebra. At first, I was incredibly discouraged, but over time, I started to love the challenge. This brought me to explore STEM majors and I decided to try a branch of engineering. From there, I signed up for Wright State’s Women in Engineering Day and really enjoyed the mechanical engineering presentation and activities. I immediately declared a major and began classes in the fall."
Why did you choose Wright State?
"I grew up in a small, rural town and didn’t know any other engineers, so I knew I needed to branch out find a school that was surrounded by opportunity. Wright State was incredibly attractive to me because Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is so close and I knew that the area would provide me with lots of great experiences toward my major."
How did you find your internship?
"I was a teacher assistant for SolidWorks during my first year for an adjunct professor who also happened to work in the industry. When I finished working for her, I asked her to keep me in mind for further opportunities. About a year later, I got a phone call for an interview at UDRI."
Why did you choose that specific company?
"I am very interested in additive manufacturing, but I never thought I would get to experience it firsthand. When I got the offer to work at UDRI as a design intern, I immediately accepted because I knew it would be a great opportunity to see if this interest was really for me. I also knew my professor worked there and enjoyed it so I knew I would be surrounded by supportive and helpful people."
What have you learned or gained from your internship experience?
"I learned a lot about the design process and how parts are created through additive manufacturing, but more importantly, I gained leadership skills and confidence in my problem-solving capabilities. When I first arrived at UDRI, I was grouped with several other interns of varying skill levels. Some of them had never used CAD software before so I was able to use my prior knowledge as a TA to teach them how to run the programs and mentor while also learning alongside them. This experience has inspired me to become a professor one day so that I can continue teaching younger students and pass down my knowledge to help others be successful.
The project that I was on during the summer also did not have many guidelines, I worked with my team to develop a streamlined engineering process that we carried out all summer. The process developed and changed with our workflow and allowed us to work efficiently and without confusion."
My experience was incredible, and I think I am very lucky to have gotten to experience the design process from beginning to end. Not many people get to say they recreated parts for an aircraft and then got to install their design firsthand on the plane itself. This experience was the perfect mix of desk work and hands-on fieldwork.
Any advice for students seeking an internship?
"I talked to Career Services several times before applying to jobs and worked on my resume with friends and other people in the industry so that I could get many different opinions. I applied to as many jobs as I saw fit and did several mock interviews before going to real interviews. Being a student job hunting is a tough schedule to balance, but it is worth the time and effort if you can manage the time wisely."