Originally published October 4, 2016
By Reina Treviño
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Driving through the gates of Lockheed Martin on my first day, I didn’t know what to expect. I was given the opportunity to intern over the summer at the Waterton campus in Littleton, Colorado. I had never had an internship before, so this was something new and exciting for me.
After going through all the necessary security protocol, it was time to start. I was given a badge and told to drive through to the building where I would be spending my summer.
Looking around the campus there is an amazing view. It’s the polar opposite of El Paso; there is wildlife and greenery at every corner. Once I got to the building I walked in and met with my manager. I was working with the GPS III antenna team. While the majority of the details of my project cannot be shared, I can say that I was working on the next GPS system that will be launched into space. The system essentially gives us access to GPS on our phones, in our cars, and even to play games requiring GPS signal, such as Pokémon Go.
In order to complete this project, multiple testing was performed on an antenna. I learned six different testing methods as well as how to understand the data that comes out of them. We had to be sure that all the tests met certain requirements. If they did not, they would not be approved for flight and would not be able to go into space.
Aside from testing I also did some modeling with a new CAD software, and most importantly shadowed an experienced mechanical engineer. Through shadowing I saw how different it is to work in the field compared to working in the classroom. Every day is hectic and somewhat unpredictable. I learned the importance of scheduling and making sure to allot time in order to comfortably meet deadlines.
One of the main lessons I was taught was the power of prioritizing. In a perfect world you want to ensure that you get all of your tasks completed, but in reality there are going to be times when you have too much to do without enough time. At this point you need to look at the big picture and realize that certain things are more important then others, and those take precedence.
Overall this was an amazing experience. Some of the other interns I met were from very prestigious schools such as MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley. It is clear that the students here at UTEP can make it among students from some of the best schools in the world. Picks up!