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If you walk under the streetlights in Scottsdale or take the Skytrain to a terminal at Sky Harbor International Airport, you may be benefiting from the work of Barrett Honors College student Danielle Mara.
Through an internship with engineering consulting firm Kimley-Horn & Associates, Mara, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, has worked on a team developing electrical plans for the East Valley city and extension plans for the Skytrain.
Mara got the internship through an Arizona State University career fair last spring and has been interning with the company since May.
She said she has derived many benefits from the internship.
“Wow there are so many benefits, including getting the real-world experience of working in the electrical engineering field and getting the experience of collaborating with a team for a wide range of projects. Also, I've been exposed to programs such as AutoCAD, Microstation, and AGI and I've learned how to use the. The skills I've learned are transferable to other job opportunities,” she said.
The internship also has opened her eyes to future opportunities and the world of work.
“My future goal is to get a good job where I love what I do. By getting an internship, I've exposed myself to a field of electrical engineering that I love. I love the power industry and I cannot see myself doing anything other than this in the future. Internships have also allowed me to gain a sense of what it's like to have a real 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job,” she said.
She also examined her motivations and goals in HON 484, a course that allows students to earn honors credits for their internships.
HON 484 meets four times per semester. In class, students are required to discuss their internship experiences. Assignments include making journal entries and completing reading assignments. In order to receive internship credit, it is required that the internship takes place during the same semester for which the student is enrolled in the class. Students receive credits based on the number of hours they spend working at an internship throughout the semester. Ninety to 134 hours equals two credits. More than 134 hours equals three credits.
Enrollment in HON 484 is on a first come, first served basis and applications are now being accepted for the Spring 2019 semester.
“It (HON 484) was beneficial because it allowed me to meet other students in Barrett who were pursuing internships. I got to have intelligent conversations and share experiences and advice with others who were going through a similar experience as I was,” Mara said.
What advice does Mara have for other students who may be contemplating doing internships?
My best advice would be to just get an internship. Take advantage of all the career fairs out there. Also, be very appreciative of every opportunity given to you. For instance, the company I work for is smaller than many other firms, but by working for a smaller institution, I have the chance to have a more hands-on experience than other interns who work for more corporate firms. Although I may pursue a job at another firm that is bigger with more upward mobility, I am very appreciative for the hands-on experience I gained.”