Describe the steps you took to obtain your internship/research opportunity/fellowship.
I started off researching different fellowship opportunities for graduate studies. I came across the National Graduate Committee (NGC) from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers in the process. The NGC consists of graduate students across the nation that are heavily involved in the organization, as well as instituting graduation success for undergraduate students. The NGC consists of NSF Fellows, GEM Fellows, and other prestigious fellowships for research in their Masters of PhD programs. Once I connected with them, I was mentored by Mauro Rodriguez, Mario Gutierrez, and Lucas Caretta whom assisted me in the fellowship and college application process. In addition, they also provided me helpful tools and insight about the selection process of graduate studies as well as finding the right fit for myself.
How far in advance did you prepare and begin applying for your experiential learning opportunity?
I began the application process beginning in the Spring Semester of my Junior year, where I sought out assistance from the Office of National Fellowships, as well as the NGC.
Describe some of your responsibilities or duties during your experiential learning opportunity.
Being a GEM Fellow Pre-Select enables me to work with a partnering company of the fellowship, The Eaton Corporation in this case, and at the same time will be provided funding for my graduate studies at a partnering university with the fellowship. In addition, being a GEM Fellow offers leadership development programs, and opportunities to network with other fellows across the nation.
What was a typical day like "on the job?"
I will be starting in September 2017, but I did have the opportunity to meet with my manager in Michigan for lunch! I will be working on additive manufacturing using materials such as graphene and metals for aerospace application. Overall, I am pretty excited to begin in the Fall.
What are some major takeaways from your experience? How will these help prepare you for the next step after graduation?
I cannot emphasize enough how you should start early in the application process! Many revisions of drafts will be made! I also believe that finding a mentor that has been through the application process is extremely crucial because they have been in the same position as you once before and are there to ensure you graduate successfully. Definitely get involved in professional organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to develop those relationships to ensure your success. Later on, you can give back and mentor someone else in the same position.
Did this experience help clarify your career path? If yes, how so?
It definitely did help clarify my career path as wanting to become a chief composites and advanced materials engineer. With my current degree, I needed to obtain a better understanding of materials properties as well as the manufacturing of them. As such, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Materials was what I needed to be one step closer to my career. I will continue my involvement in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers as a member of the NGC, so please don't hesitate to ask for help in the application process!
Emily Anne Vargas
“Get involved in professional organizations to develop those relationships to ensure your success. Later on, you can give back and mentor someone else in the same position.”
Major: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Class of 2017
Fellowship Experience: GEM National Consortium Pre-Select Fellow