Wayne State engineering students continue to open doors through internships and co-ops

Grace Arnold standing in front of a pickup truck and the GM Technical Center sign
Grace Arnold, a senior biomedical engineering student with a minor in business administration, is a technology commercialization intern at General Motors.

Fundamental to the mission of the Wayne State University College of Engineering is nurturing talented and industry-ready graduates who have a clear vision of their professional goals. An Internship or co-op can be crucial for engineering students who want to understand how to succeed in the workforce from day one, and often prove to be the key that opens the door to one’s dream job.

These aspiring professionals work in a variety of settings, from smaller independent firms to some of the most globally known corporations, many located just a few miles from Wayne State's campus in Midtown Detroit. Interns develop both hard and soft skills; they learn the value of networking and establish a baseline of experience for future opportunities.

To celebrate National Intern Day in July, several College of Engineering students shared photos and anecdotes documenting their internship journey, including:

  • Grace Arnold, a senior biomedical engineering and a technology commercialization intern at General Motors
  • Aubrey Hammis, a junior electrical and computer engineering student, and a manufacturing electrical engineering intern at GM’s Factory ZERO
  • Senior construction management student Marcus Keys, a project engineering intern at Walbridge


What projects are you working on?

ARNOLD: I am assisting on a number of projects for the Technology Commercialization and GM eLibrary departments on updating interfaces, making processes more-user friendly and cutting costs where possible. Much of my work includes IP, patents and academic contracts.

HAMMIS: I analyze end-of-line electrical diagnostic tests for the Cadillac Escalade IQ. The end-of-line electrical tests conducted on this all-electrical vehicle show what faults or errors are present. It is my job to work with my team to analyze where the error is occurring, using schematic drawings to identify the root of the problem, and then to follow the steps that need to be taken to reach a resolution.

Marcus Keys
Senior construction management student Marcus Keys is a project engineering intern at Walbridge. He is contributing to the General Motors Lake Orion Assembly Plant expansion and renovation project.

How will this internship set you up for future success?

ARNOLD: This internship is allowing me to combine my technical background with the material I have learned in classes for my business administration minor. Being able to understand both the technical and business pieces of current and future work will allow me to consider future endeavors that I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.

HAMMIS: While working at Factory ZERO I have learned the importance of treating every person I come into contact with, with respect and a positive attitude. I feel honored to be a welcomed student in their place of work, and I truly enjoy that I can learn something knew from every single person I meet. I have also been exposed to an array of job positions in the electrical and computer engineering field, specifically in the automotive world, that I would be qualified for after graduating, which is setting my future up for success as I ponder how my interests and strengths could translate into the professional engineering world and my future career path.

KEYS: This internship has given me real world experiences on how to plan, manage, and execute a large-scale project. Also, I have been able to develop relationships with the Walbridge team and their partnered subcontractors. The knowledge and relationships, I have gained, I will carry with me throughout my career.

Aubrey Hammis
Aubrey Hammis, a junior electrical and computer engineering student, is a summer intern at Factory ZERO, General Motors’ first fully dedicated electric vehicle assembly plant.

What important lessons have you learned from this experience?

HAMMIS: I have learned the importance of having a diverse professional network, asking as many questions as possible, having an open mind and bringing a positive attitude into every situation. I have also learned how to read electrical schematic diagrams, and how to use them to diagnose electrical issues that need resolution. Through this, I have acquired a significant amount of knowledge about the makeup of circuits in electric vehicles, and the reasons for the differing layouts that exist to connect the vehicle’s modules.

KEYS: I have learned you always have to think of the next steps of a project. For example, when material arrives where and how will it be stored or in what order should things be installed to not slow the next craft down, or so you don't have to redo work that has already been done.

What else about your story would you like to share?

ARNOLD: This summer has been a blast. I’ve been able to meet so many interns that go to different universities in Michigan and even all around the country. The connections I am making will serve me well for the rest of my career.

HAMMIS: Ever since I began my internship at GM, I have felt heard, valued and accepted. I am honored to have networked and grown relationships with many professionals, and to have been blessed with an amazing mentor, Wayne Owens, who has taught me countless lessons that I will forever remember. I am a strong believer in getting as much out of an experience as you put in, and my experience with GM has been exactly that.

KEYS: On this project (GM Lake Orion Assembly Plant expansion and renovation) different areas of the plant are at different stages. This has allowed me to see every phase from design and earth work to steel erection and MEP system installs, and all the way to close out processes.


The Wayne State University College of Engineering is proud to celebrate National Intern Day. Visit the photo gallery on Flickr to learn more about where WSU engineering students are working this summer.


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