Electrical engineering student Will Smith, a sophomore at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, is already getting the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in his field. He is a student trainee at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the Air Defense and Counterfire department. He began his internship in June and hopes to attain a position at Tobyhanna after graduating.
By: Goldie Van Horn
Student learning lessons from internship at Tobyhanna
Electrical engineering student Will Smith, a sophomore at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, is already getting the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in his field.
Smith, who lives in Shickshinny, is a student trainee at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the Air Defense and Counterfire department. He began his internship in June and hopes to attain a position at Tobyhanna after graduating.
“I shadow electrical engineers in their day-to-day duties and learn important skills like problem solving, time management, communication and other hands-on skills, helping me grow both as an engineer and as a student,” Smith described. “I get to work on a lot of technology and machines using a multitude of different testing equipment that I also utilize here at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.”
He learned about the internship through a friend at Penn State Wilkes-Barre who is also completing an internship at Tobyhanna.
“I thoroughly enjoy working there and I think my studies and the internship do a good job of preparing us for what we’re going to be doing in the workforce,” Smith said.
He noted that electrical engineering ties in with multiple other areas, including software development, information technology and computer engineering; he has been able to do hands-on work at Tobyhanna helping engineers and technicians.
“My supervisor has allowed me to go ahead and branch out into different fields,” he said. “Working in several areas helps me get an idea of what type of engineering I want to work in.”
Smith noted that in addition to electrical engineering and other fields, he has learned a great deal about responsibility and time management through the internship.
“A lot of different things happen on a military base, many of them revolving around a tight timeline due to contracts,” he said. “You can’t function in government or the military without having a good time structure. I’ve also learned about the chain of command here and I respect my superiors.”
He credited his experience at Penn State Wilkes-Barre with helping him develop a network, saying, “Penn State Wilkes-Barre has benefitted me by providing access to resources and professional connections. A good number of engineers at Tobyhanna are Penn Staters who have completed the 2+2 Plan Penn State offers. This school has allowed me to connect with my future colleagues, learning their techniques and skills that will help me grow into a productive Penn State alumnus, too.”
Smith is involved in several clubs on campus, serving as treasurer of the Student Government Association and as a member of the Veterans Support Club, 4 Seasons Club and JAM (Just Amazing Musicians).
“It’s a very close-knit community on the campus, which I really enjoy,” he said.
He advised his peers that an internship is “definitely worth it,” saying, “I’m learning a lot through my internship. It really does teach you about the real world and helps bolster your degree.”