Hear from UM-Dearborn students about their successful internship and co-op experiences.

Experiential development is part of the DNA at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  Annually we help over 700 students take advantage of the myriad of opportunities available in the workplace both in the Detroit metropolitan area and elsewhere.  Here are a few samples of what some of our students have gained as a result of their experiential development opportunity.  

Designing Experiments on New Material Application for the Ford F-150 

Breana Cappuccilli 
Dual Major: Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering

College of Engineering and Computer Science Co-op: Materials Research, Ford Motor Company

"I was selected as a Blue Oval Scholar from the College of Engineering and Computer and represented UM-Dearborn on Ford’s material research team for the F-150. My role was to investigate thermal properties of aluminum alloy in order to understand how it would behave as part of the vehicle body.  As part of one of the top research teams at Ford, I was able to design my own experiments in the lab and deliver formal presentations on the data collected, which were included in published internal technical reports. My experience allowed me to hone in on where I want to take my career.  One thing I did not expect is how much I was able to contribute within the company.  People assume that interns are at the bottom and hardly have a say in the work they do, but I was surprised by how much my opinions and ideas were valued by my team."

Developed Applications for NASA Augmented Reality Simulations

Rabab Alrayes
Major: Electrical Engineering

College of Engineering and Computer Science Co-op: Application Development, NASA Kennedy Space Center

"During my co-op with NASA Kennedy Space Center, I had the opportunity to develop software apps for NASA employees as well as hardware for an augmented reality project.  This project strengthened my software development skills and allowed me to learn new coding languages.  The hardware I developed was for the IDEAS wearable technology headset, which featured a heads-up augmented reality display to be used by technicians and astronauts during their missions.  I was able to learn the process of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design and worked with embedded systems.  By the end of the internship, I had completed four PCB boards that were implemented into the headset. My co-op experience at NASA was incredibly valuable, and it taught me so much more than I would have been able to learn in school.  It is very rewarding to know that the work you completed as a co-op will affect projects bigger than your own.  Completing a co-op has helped prepare me for a career after graduation by teaching me how to use the skills I have learned at school, as well as on the job, in real-life settings."

Improving Productivity with Web-Based Applications

Waseem Hijazi  
Major: Computer Science

College of Engineering and Computer Science Co-op: IT/Project Management, Ford Motor Company

"My co-op was an IT program/project management position at the Ford Customer Service Division at Ford Motor Company.  I worked on a team developing a new vehicle diagnostic tool for dealerships and authorized repair facilities in Massachusetts to assist with the state’s Right to Repair Initiative.   As part of the co-op, I was responsible for performing daily project management tasks, including milestone and risk/issue management.  Additionally, I reported metrics to business partners and program stakeholders using CA Agile Central and Excel tools.  I was able to enhance my skills through Ford’s training opportunities in Project Management and software training. I had the opportunity to work with an IT business team instead of a development team and learned it requires more than just writing code for projects to succeed."

Aerospace Supply Chain Management at Rolls Royce

Allyson Coppock 
Major: Supply Chain Management

College of Business Internship: Supply Chain Management, Rolls Royce 

“I was a Supply Chain Design Intern in the Planning and Control Department with a concentration on Aerospace Defense for Rolls Royce.  I was responsible for presenting key findings on data collection and analysis to managers and stakeholders who were responsible for establishing a business case for a materials management warehouse for a historic $600 million investment Rolls-Royce Indianapolis site, called Project Condor.   The project focuses on consolidating facilities and upgrading the infrastructure with an emphasis on reducing the environmental footprint.  In order to consolidate the plants, it was my responsibility to create a Plan for Every Part so that materials to build engines could be transported. The experience taught me that it is okay to make mistakes and ask questions.  It was a great opportunity to gain ‘real world’ experience, which is very different from what is learned in the classroom.”

Gaining a Broad Perspective on Finance

Taylor Sorgatz 
Major: Finance

College of Business Internship: Finance Analyst, Ford Motor Company 

"I worked as a Product Development Finance Analyst Intern. Finance is cross-functional at Ford, so I also spent a lot of time job shadowing in other areas such as Ford Customer Service Division, Ford Credit, and Treasury. In Product Development, the Finance Analysts are responsible for material cost target setting for future vehicle programs.  My project involved improving and documenting a new cost target setting process.  The goal of my project was to develop an efficient and repeatable process. I felt like I made an impact on Ford Motor Company.  Ford does a very good job of assigning meaningful and challenging projects to interns.  On my last day, I walked away leaving behind important work products, which added value to my internship.  My supervisor and manager always challenged me to go one step further than what was required, which helped me to grow and learn a great deal.”"

Writing NAFTA Compliance for English Major

Theresa Smart
Major: English

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Sanders & Travis Trade Advisory

"I am responsible for my client’s NAFTA (North American Fair Trade Agreement) compliance. I prepare legal documents for import/export border crossing shipments.

The best part of the co-op experience has been the people and the personal connections that I’ve made. Working with people who really understand NAFTA compliance issues and their willingness to pass on their acquired knowledge and experiences has made a great impression on me.  

Additionally, the organization has been extremely supportive and welcoming to me. They have offered me a full-time position to continue working on NAFTA Compliance.  From this experience, I’ve learned to have faith in myself. The boost to my self-confidence has been worth more than a just a paycheck."

Gaining the Big Picture of Taxes: Preparation and Compliance

Mario Gonzalez
Major: Accounting

College of Business Internship: Deloitte Tax, LLP; MASCO Corp.

"At MASCO, I was part of a team of six interns that did monthly compliance for MASCO companies; at Deloitte, I worked on a variety of projects from large corporate compliance to high income individual tax preparation.  

From both experiences, I gained a valuable understanding of how to work on analytical projects and tax research, as well as how to manage long term projects and client engagements. 

What I valued the most from my internship experience is that I got a jump start on my career before I graduated.  The College of Business Internship Office did an incredible job of preparing me for my internships."

Behind the Scenes for a Major Exhibit at a National Museum

Caitlin Wunderlich
Major: Art History - Museum Studies

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Intern for the Registrar, Cranbrook Art Museum

"In every aspect of my internship, I was able to look at the behind the scenes world of a nationally recognized museum. In a key project, I compiled a comprehensive list of exhibitions held at the Museum over the past 81 years. This involved researching the Cranbrook archives, library, and museum files, since a complete and accurate list did not exist. In addition, I am very excited about my involvement in the current exhibit, No Object is an Island. I was able to properly handle and install the art while working with the Exhibition team."

"This internship gave me a great opportunity to explore my options. Now, I have a much better understanding of the direction I want to pursue. And, that is a master’s degree in collections management.”

Food for Thought-Leveraging Alumni Database to Enhance Non-Profit

Rachel Ruta
Dual Major: Digital Marketing, Information Technology Management

College of Business Internship: Detroit Food Academy

“My primary task at Detroit Food Academy, a non-profit after school leadership program for young Detroiters, was to create an alumni database.  I also worked to improve the organization’s digital marketing and conducted research on product trends.  The experience taught me the importance of keeping a detailed and current database for alumni.  With it, the organization is able to stay in touch with former students and allows alumni to provide feedback, new ideas, and outreach.  They can stay connected and remain involved. I really value the connections I made during the internship. It not only strengthened the organization’s network, but also my own.”

Making an Impact from Radio Ads to Corporate News Coverage

Roger Castillo
Major: Communications

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Diesel Marketing Communications Internship, Robert Bosch, LLC

"From the first day at my internship, I was expected to deliver professional quality work, meet deadlines, and participate in key decisions. I have been involved in all aspects of public relations and marketing communications, including writing proposals, plans, press releases, articles, radio ads, and monitoring social media for the company’s strategic events and trade shows. For the Woodward Dream Cruise, I wrote radio ads that aired on 104.3 WOMC as well as identified giveaways to complement the theme for the event."

"In addition, I’ve written compelling news stories about the Bosch Kentwood facility and operations for internal communications. The most important outcomes of this experience were learning to remain confident, act in a professional manner, and be able to adapt to any situation."

Gaining the Big Picture of Taxes: Preparation and Compliance

Jamila Owens
Dual Major: Accounting and Finance

College of Business Internship: Tax Preparation, Deloitte Tax, LLP

"In my internship position, I was able to work on a diverse array of projects from large corporate compliance to small partnership and high income individual tax preparation.  The internship provided an excellent opportunity to work directly on large, long-term projects in a team-based environment.  

The most valuable part was the experience in learning about the path I want to take for my professional career, and the type of company that best fits my career goals."

Finding the endangered Redside Dace in the Rouge River

Robert Muller
Major: Environmental Studies

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Survey of fish in three tributaries of the Rouge, Friends of the Rouge

"Working with another intern, my responsibility was to observe, identify, photograph and record the different fish species found in the Rouge and tributaries. Of major interest was an endangered minnow, the redside dace, which was last identified in 2005. Several sites were picked for our samplings.We identified the types of stream beds (muddy, sandy, speed of the current) and identified, captured, photographed, and measured the fish found at the sites.

As part of our internship, we were responsible for leading and teaching a group of volunteers to help us with the project. What I didn’t expect from the internship was interest in the survey from biologists with the Michigan DNR, MDEQ as well as the overwhelming interest from the general public and local media. The a-ha moment came when I was able to find and photograph the redside dace."

Developed Environmental Educational Programs for Engineers

Ian Tran
Dual Major: Environmental Studies, Environmental Science

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Engineering Society of Detroit

"During my internship, I was involved in outreach programs for engineers that included developing technical and education programs on environmental sustainability and economic development issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.  I also helped plan and coordinate an educational symposium for area schools on green initiatives.  Additionally, I lead a team of fellow interns that analyzed and made recommendations for improving the organization’s website. 

Based on my internship experience, I have been selected to an advisory committee for sustainability in environmental education and community development.  In addition, I was hired by the Future City 2011 Project to develop integrated learning modules that complement requirements for the Future City program with state and national education standards."

Gaining the Dual Perspective on Taxes: Preparing and Auditing

Matthew Keigher
Major: Accounting, Finance

College of Business Internships: Tax Preparation, MASCO Corp., and Auditing, Deloitte Tax, LLP

"In my internship position, I was able to see both sides of the tax and auditing process. During my first internship at MASCO, I was a part of the company’s internal tax preparation team. In my second position at Deloitte, I worked as a member of an auditor team. The Internship Program is the single greatest asset available to UM-Dearborn business students. It’s the reason I was able to lock in a full-time job at my dream accounting firm... nine months before I graduated."

Learning the Art of Cinematography from a Master

Charles Ashley-Pelham
Major: Journalism and Screen Studies

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Internship: Video Production Assistant for Campus Media Services, UM-Dearborn

“With a passion to become a cinematographer, my internship experience has been extremely beneficial. I am responsible for producing video for coursework as well as recording events and seminars. This includes working on every aspect of completing a project: videotaping, lighting, sound engineering, digital editing, and adding special effects."

"I have been able to work with a master in the art and learn how to improvise when necessary to achieve exceptional results. It has been the day-to-day, hands-on learning experience that I have valued most from my internship.”