Name: Jose Fernando Rojas Sanchez
Where you interned: For six months, I interned at the Audi lightweight design center in Neckarsulm, Germany.
What did you do there? I worked with carbon fiber on two main projects. One that consisted of manufacturing and testing prototype parts with the objective of improving the material characterization process of composite materials, which is the process through which every material is evaluated before it is used to manufacture a final product.
For my second project, I was a research assistant looking to improve the mechanical properties of carbon fiber under high-speed compressive loads, which would allow cars that use these materials such as the R8 or the A8 to be even lighter and faster. My main tasks were to design and manufacture the equipment required to test specimens at high speed, test the specimens and collect and present the results.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework? In this internship, I was able to give a real life application to the knowledge I’ve obtained through my classes and organizations like the Aerospace club or the Formula team, especially my knowledge on mechanical drawing, simulation, dynamics and materials science. This experience also gave me a better idea of the area of studies within mechanical engineering that I would like to specialize in, and the electives I want to take in the semesters I have left at FIU.
What was the coolest thing about your internship? This internship was for sure one of the best experiences in my life. I was able to cross some things off my bucket list such as learning German; designing and driving a dream car; living in Europe; watching in person a crash test; and working for one of the best automotive companies in the world as an engineer.
Additionally, I was able to network with people who do what I would like to do in my future, for companies I would like to work for, which was a great chance to get a better idea of what I should do to get there. In general, I would say that the coolest part of my internship wasn’t an event in particular but it was the feeling of waking up every morning knowing I was going to help make my dream car a bit better that day. That was my favorite part since I was able to show myself what I am capable of in a worldwide recognized company.
What did you learn about yourself? After having done this internship I learned that if I know my strengths, I believe in them, and I can confidently exteriorize them, I can achieve my dreams, which is what I would like to recommend to anybody else who is there starting to apply for internships. If you want them to believe in you, you have to be the first to believe in yourself, your biggest obstacle to get what you want is yourself.
How did you get your internship? I obtained this internship by applying online. At first it might sound simple but actually it was something I was only able to achieve after filling out countless number of applications for six months and getting rejected every single time. Through this process I realized that my main mistake was that I didn’t really believe I was able to succeed at any of the positions I was applying for, and it wasn’t until I took a deep breath and convinced myself I could get my dream internship that someone believed in me, too.