Internship Spotlight: Allison Bradley & Augsburg University | Pratt & Whitney

During the 2022 Summer Intersession, rising senior Allison Bradley completed an internship within Augsburg University’s Sustainability and Research Center and Pratt & Whitney. Read on to learn about her experience with these two incredible roles!

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What were your internships like? I was a research intern within Augsburg University’s sustainability and research center. This internship primarily focused on information and data collection. My work in turn helped provide background information for the writing of a research paper. I was also a program management intern with Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut. I worked in Aftermarket Cost, which focuses on overall costs and repairs of the engines after they have been sent out to the fleets.

Why were you initially interested in these internships? At Augsburg University, initially, I was interested because the internship gave me the opportunity to work in an international aspect. Since I’m an international business student, I was really excited about the opportunity the internship presented to learn more about another country, as well as communicate and report back to my German supervisor. At Pratt & Whitney, I was interested in working in a business environment to see how I would like it. My first internship wasn’t so much business-focused as it was research-focused, so I wanted to compare the two and see which I liked more. I also was incredibly interested in working for Pratt & Whitney since the aerospace industry is something that I have been interested in for a very long time.

How did you find your internships? For my research experience, I utilized my network and was incredibly lucky because my advisor and professor, Dr. Minoo Tehrani, approached me with this internship opportunity. My project management internship I found through the Pratt & Whitney website. I knew that Pratt & Whitney was of interest to me and is a very large company. From checking their website, I was able to filter through my job search and find internships that applied to me.

What did you do as part of your internships? At Augsburg University I collected data regarding population density, education levels, predominant health issues, income levels etc. My internship focused solely on four towns in the Bavaria region of Germany: Augsburg, Dachau, Rosenheim, and Fürstenfeldbruck. From my data and information collection, I was required to put the information into easy-to-understand bars, charts, and graphs. After I had collected the data and put it into the correct format, I put it into a PowerPoint presentation that was a collection of all the data I had found.  At Pratt & Whitney, the primary duty of my internship was to initiate task planning for 2023. I worked with the Program Aftermarket Integrated Product Team (PAIPT), where the overall goals of this team are to reduce overall engine maintenance repair costs and bring forward business cases for funding. Along with my project, I was also responsible for gathering input from other teams and bringing my input to meetings.

Have these internships helped you work towards your future career goals? If so, how? My experience at Augsburg University helped me in ways I didn’t expect it to. Specifically, it opened my eyes to the fact that as an international business student, I can do a lot more with my degree than just business. My future career goal is to eventually wind up working for a multinational corporation, however, this internship showed me that I have more options for me out there. I really liked the research component of the internship, and in the future, I could see myself applying for international research jobs. My experience at Pratt & Whitney taught me a lot in terms of my future career goals. I learned that I really do love working in the aerospace industry as it is fast-paced, changing, and challenging. From this internship, I realized that I would really like to work for Pratt & Whitney or a company like it. The internship also taught me that program management can be really difficult and stressful. However, I was able to learn a lot about myself in times of difficulty and stress and learned how to manage my time more efficiently.

What was your biggest lesson/takeaway from these internships? My takeaway from Augsburg University would be that working in an international setting can be really exciting and fun! I loved learning more about Germany as a country, but learning about the specifics of the four cities/towns was the most interesting. From this, I also realize that my biggest lesson from this internship is that it is important to do work that you are interested in and passionate about. This internship taught me that if you really love what you are doing, work won’t feel like work. My biggest takeaway from Pratt & Whitney is that it is okay to ask questions. As an intern, it can be intimidating to ask a question when most of your coworkers have been doing their jobs for decades at times. But, I learned that it is better to stop and ask a question rather than stress and get more confused trying to figure it out on your own. I realized that being an intern doesn’t mean knowing all the answers like it is your career, but it means learning and gaining work experience.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a similar internship opportunity? My biggest advice to someone who is interested in a similar research opportunity would be to put yourself out there. Finding internships can be difficult, and working in a remote international capacity can be hard if you aren’t willing to put in the effort to reach out and communicate. If someone is interested in program management, I would highly recommend that they brush up on their knowledge of different types of flow charts, excel formulas, and other planning tools. On the other hand, if someone is interested in a business opportunity within the aerospace industry, I would suggest they brush up on their knowledge of certain engineering acronyms and the different parts of an engine. This was a big learning curve for me in my internship, and it took more than two weeks to really have an understanding of the function and importance of the parts I was working on.

By Mary Santoro
Mary Santoro Director of Career Services