My Summer Internship

By Aurora Varela, Senior
Mechanical Engineering
California State University, Northridge

This summer I was hired by the National Nuclear Security Administration as a summer intern. I was given the opportunity to work in Morgantown, West Virginia for two months at the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory under URS engineers. Having a paid internship was a wonderful blessing because I was able to save money for college and support my family financially. Hispanic College Fund covered the cost of my flight to West Virginia as well as the hotel I stayed at for those two months.

I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at California State University Northridge, and during my internship I was excited to work alongside professionals in my field. In addition to growing my engineering skills, I also learned how to work with different kinds of people and to adapt to my surroundings since this was the first time I ever left California by myself.

Working with the engineers I was able to utilize a program called Inventor, which allows engineers to draw three-dimensional projects. I was also able to be part of an entire project process from start to finish. From having a meeting with all the engineers, to appointing roles, to designing an actual solution, and finally going to the site to check that our measurements were coherent with the engineering drawings. I worked with mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and even civil engineers. I could not have asked for a better internship this summer.

I believe I didn’t just grow as an engineering student; I also grew as a person. Traveling to the other side of the country was such an eye opener; at first it was overwhelming because the Latino population in Morgantown, West Virginia is almost zero. I felt like I stood out, but I held my head high, very proud of representing La Mujer Latina and my community of Boyle Heights all the way on the East Coast. I have become more independent and even more eager to reach my goals of graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and pursuing even higher education in Aerospace Engineering.