Student Ambassador Ji Soo '20 on the benefits of doing a summer internship through Randolph Connect.
At the end of my sophomore year at Randolph, I knew that I wanted to do an internship, I just didn’t know where or with whom. My future was very blurry to me, and still I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.
I wasn’t aware of the internship opportunities within my community in Huntsville, so I applied for the Summer Internship Program. PeggyLee Wright, Director of Strategic Relations, played a huge role in my summer internship experience.
Initially, I wanted to gain exposure to the medical field because I enjoyed my science classes, Human Physiology and Biology.
However, as I continued to communicate with Mrs. Wright, I started to shift my perspective on the different options of internships. Mrs. Wright introduced me to Stratolaunch, an aerospace engineering company with a Propulsion branch here in Huntsville. Founded in 2011, Stratolaunch seeks to provide convenient, reliable, and routine access to space while also helping to advance the technological abilities of the modern world. They have built the world’s largest plane, located in the Mojave Desert.
Mrs. Wright connected me with Jeff Thornburg, the Vice President of Propulsion, and after the interviewing process, Stratolaunch offered me a place to intern with them.
I had never been exposed to the engineering world and had no idea what to expect, but I knew that it would be a great way for me to see the other career paths I could take.
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Over my first week at Stratolaunch, I was able to meet a wide range of people, from accountants in the office to designers in the warehouse. I was able to interact with and learn from anyone I could. I shadowed Mr. Thornburg and Elizabeth Robertson, the Project Manager, mainly throughout my internship. With them, I learned about the basics of propulsion systems, the “behind the scenes” of a newer company like Stratolaunch, and the day-to-day life of being an aerospace engineer.
I was in charge of smaller projects in the warehouse and was able to see models and parts that make up the propulsion systems for Stratolaunch.
Initially, my internship was scheduled for the month of June, but as we neared the end of the month, Mr. Thornburg and I decided to extend my internship throughout July until I started school in August. Thanks to this extension, I was able to really become accustomed to coming to work every day and became more and more comfortable with the people I worked with. I built relationships with the Stratolaunch employees and opened my eyes to the world of engineering.
I hope to intern again this coming summer. This experience has helped me find my passion and has made my future more clear. I’d like to thank Mrs. Wright and Randolph Connect for all their help and, of course, Mr. Thornburg and Mrs. Robertson at Stratolaunch for taking me under their wings for the summer.