Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an intern at Interstates? To celebrate National Intern Day, Victoria Bonilla answered our questions about being a Project Coordinator Intern and what it's like to spend the summer learning and working at Interstates.
What is your background?
I'm from the Quad Cities and am currently a senior at Iowa State University majoring in Industrial Technology with a manufacturing option. I am a first-generation college student and the youngest of my siblings. As the only girl, I'm used to being around mostly boys/men, so going into a male-dominated field is not daunting to me. I do, however, hope there will be more women in this industry in the future.
How did you become an intern at Interstates?
I heard about Interstates at our Industrial Technology Night, which is our own mini career fair. I applied for the project coordinator internship last summer. I didn't get it, but I stayed in contact with Interstates and got an interview with Jeff Miller. After my interview, I got to job shadow April Kruger for a day and see what she does. After that, I was offered the position of interning with April.
What was it like to move to a new area for an internship?
It was definitely an adjustment. I have never lived in such a small town before. I am 6 hours from home, the farthest I have been from my friends and family. The actual moving part was very easy; Interstates gave me a contact for the nearby community college. From there, I filled out the application, got accepted, set up a move-in date, and then moved in at the beginning of the summer.
How do interns play a crucial role at Interstates?
Interns are a big part of Interstates' company culture. I feel like they do such an amazing job of getting us involved and getting to know us. I am not treated like just an intern – I am treated like any other employee who just started. The title of your position at this company doesn't make you different from anyone else.
What is a typical day like for you as a project coordinator intern?
I have both daily tasks and projects I work on over time. A few of my primary responsibilities include working on ISO 9001, a set of standards to ensure products and services meet the requirements. I also help prepare documents, work on panel projects for our clients, compile reports, track panels, and serial numbers, prepare bills of materials, order materials, and more. I've even gotten to build and wire a panel.
What is the most challenging part of being an intern?
I feel like the most difficult part of this position is understanding the multitude of people I work with and how to work with them. It can also be tricky to know when I have the authority to say something to need someone or talk to my boss about it.
What's the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part about my internship is feeling like I am making a difference. I have been a part of the ISO 9001 project to get our certification, which will help improve our processes to get consistent quality in our products. The documents I help create are used to train new team members, keep track of the PPE needed around the shop, and make sure people sign off that they checked the machine's condition and picked up the area around it each day.
What are your career goals at this point?
I'm not really sure what my career goals are besides getting a full-time job, making money, and maybe traveling for my job. I think I will go the project manager, PLC programmer, or engineering route for my career. I hope to see myself working in an office setting, having my own desk, wearing business casual attire, and still having freedom within the bounds of work. As for right now, I have only been with Interstates for about six weeks and already know I will be extending my internship through my final semester of school.
What advice would you give to someone considering being an intern at Interstates?
Do it! This is my first internship, and it couldn't be better. I love how involved the company is in the community. I also enjoy all the events Interstates has for us to get together as an organization, like intern programs and team bonding events. The work interns get to do exposes us to meetings, people, and different parts of projects that can help us grow in our future careers.
Curious about the internship program at Interstates? Click here to learn more about internships at Interstates and explore current openings.