Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Internships

Students can benefit from semester-long, full-time professional work experiences through internships. Most are paid positions, and students gain valuable work experience while earning money for college during the summer. About 40 percent of EECS students participate in internships.

Recent Internship Placements

  • CIHOLAS Inc.
  • Duke Energy
  • General Motors
  • Kimball International
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Oncology and Hematology Associates
  • PCI Incorporated
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana

Student Internship Profile

Allie Deford

A junior computer science major, Allie decided to enhance her undergraduate education with an internship at CIHOLAS Inc., a company that designs complex electronic systems. CIHOLAS Inc. has a history of offering internships to UE students where they gain experience in military and consumer robotics, mine safety electronics, the development of scientific and sports timing equipment, and work on research and development projects.

What are you working on in your internship?

My current project is to create what is called an atmospheric sensor that is used by mining companies to keep track of a variety of conditions in the mine. For the most part, the device's job is to read levels of carbon monoxide in the air and return that number to the surface wirelessly. These devices will be installed at various locations in the mine to keep track of the conditions. You can think of them as mechanical versions of the canaries they used to keep in mines to alert the miners of unsafe conditions.

One of my main goals is to make the final device behave in a way that is similar to the older version, while making some things more automatic and the underlying code better. For example, I've spent quite a bit of time making sure that the menu system is set up in a way that makes it very similar to the old system so that the miners will feel comfortable using it from the beginning.

What skills are you learning as a result of this internship?

First of all, I have learned that ignoring the hardware side of the computer is not an option at many jobs. I came into this job with practically no hardware experience, but after about a month and a half into the job, I know a lot more. The first day, I was handed the hardware that I would be working with this summer and someone came in to show me how to set it up. As the summer has progressed, I've learned what it all means and how to fix things when they break – because they will break!

On a broader level, I've learned that you should always ask questions. When I first started, I was afraid that all the other employees would expect me to know everything, but I quickly learned that they didn't. When I don't know something, I've learned to just ask. I've also learned the value of being able to teach yourself the basics of something by using the Internet, and then asking informed questions from what you read. Finally, I've learned a lot about working on a project that I didn't start from scratch. I inherited both the code from the old device (which was worked on by about six different people) and the code for the new device (which I am the third person to work on).

Are you building a professional network at CIHOLAS Inc.?

Before I took this internship, I didn't know anyone outside of professors who actually worked in the field. I am working closely with a small group of people who are older than me and have been working in the field for several years. I feel comfortable asking for advice regarding my career, and I believe that these people would answer my questions and give me advice.

How has this internship informed your career choices?
It has given me an experience that I wouldn't have picked before this summer, but now I can see myself doing a job like this. It's also showed me that I can do whatever job I set my mind to. It has taught me that a willingness to learn is as valuable of a skill as a pre-formed knowledge base. It has also made me eager to look into as many options as I can find. Who knows what else I may find that I enjoy!