How internships benefit both college students and companies
College interns gain experience at Raytheon Intelligence & Space while business taps into a pipeline of top talent
Summer internships are a win-win for both college students and the companies where they work.
College students gain relevant work experience that they can add to their resumes and, basically, get their foot in the door for a possible job offer upon graduation.
While some companies don’t hire their interns as a matter for practice, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, finds that with their interns, they can cultivate a pipeline of top performers and recruit them into the business. Internships help RI&S hiring managers identify prospective employees who stand out for their demonstrated initiative, collaboration, work ethic and technical proficiency. They discover new candidates with fresh ideas that would make good fits for their teams.
“Internships provide students amazing opportunities to start their careers, hone their skills, find out what they are passionate about and prepare for their future. It’s a great way to preview an organization’s culture, test out what was learned in the classroom, connect with industry professionals, solve problems on projects, and see what it’s like to work as part of a team while on the job,” said Kim Lusk, an RI&S Early-in-Career Talent Acquisition manager. “Through internships, students may also discover other areas of interest they hadn’t previously considered. Gaining real world experience outside of the classroom provides interns an advantage that may lead to full-time job offers.”
During the summer of 2022, RI&S has 631 interns working across the country and in almost every function and mission area. And it’s the business’s goal to hire the best and brightest of these interns when they graduate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in May 2022. As the “Great Resignation” continues, companies like RI&S are looking at interns as potential future employees.
Here are four RI&S summer 2022 interns who are considering careers at Raytheon Technologies.
Ruiz, a rising junior at Virginia Tech studying computer engineering, is working on the U.S. Army’s Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node, or TITAN, program. TITAN is designed to receive, process and disseminate data received from sensors in the air, space, sea and ground. It can autonomously sift through massive amounts of sensor data to rapidly find and track potential threats.
A first-generation Dominican American, Ruiz is working on TITAN’s data management system, and enjoys his work so much that he hopes to work at RI&S part time when he returns to Virginia Tech in the fall.
“I’m doing a lot of software engineering, and when my internship ends in early August, I don’t want to stop,” he said. “The work is so interesting, and I want to continue working on the program. It’s my hope to come back to this program as an intern next summer, and I want to be up-to-speed on everything so I can hit the ground running and make a contribution.”
Ruiz wants to work in an industry where he can make a positive difference. His last internship was as an undergraduate research assistant at a biomedical engineering lab at Virginia Tech that was doing cancer research.
“I want to help people with my degree, no matter what that is,” Ruiz said. “Raytheon Intelligence & Space is directly developing technologies that help our nation, and also help service members who get deployed, making their lives safer and easier. Now, that’s rewarding.”
Ruiz added that he thinks Raytheon Technologies is a great place to grow and build a career. He said that he’s talked to many of his supervisors about how they’ve been able to work on several interesting programs and move around within the organization.
“I think that keeps the work exciting and fun, and if you’re looking for that change, or even if you want to stay on the same team, you have that option,” he said. “You have that freedom to kind of do what you want, since Raytheon Technologies has four businesses. I could switch to missiles, commercial aerospace or stay at RI&S and do cutting-edge research at Department 22, a section that they just announced that will be developing technology for the future.”
If it wasn’t for robots, Madison Cash might’ve never been an RI&S summer intern in Largo, Florida.
When Cash, who is entering her sophomore year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, studying aerospace engineering, was in high school, she joined her school’s FIRST Robotics team. One of her team’s mentors was Dan Kinzer, an RI&S test engineer. While mentoring students, Kinzer explained the kind of work the business did, and invited the school’s FIRST Robotics team to demonstrate their robot at the Largo site and allowed employees to drive it around.
“When it came time to do my first summer internship this year, the first place I thought of was Raytheon Technologies, because of all the great things Dan told me about it,” said Cash, who is going into her sophomore year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, studying aerospace engineering. “And I discovered both my Embry-Riddle coursework and my FIRST Robotics experience really helped me with my internship at Raytheon Technologies. FIRST gave me a good understanding of tools and how to put things together, hardware-wise, and my courses helped me read drawings so I could ensure everything meets standards.”
Cash is working in quality control, inspecting RI&S secure communications and command systems. She finds the work exciting and interesting, and she enjoys learning about the programs and people the systems support.
“Raytheon Intelligence & Space’s mission of developing systems that are so critical for our nation’s defense and protecting our troops really motivates you and really makes you want to work hard at what you’re doing,” Cash said. “And I think the mission is the reason why the people here are so passionate about what they do, and why they take a lot of pride in their work. It’s something I find really valuable.”
Cash has her sights set on a career at Raytheon Technologies, preferably in engineering and space since that’s what she is majoring in, but she said that she’s open to exploring other opportunities within the company.
“I am pretty flexible, because I love all aspects of STEM, but I am leaning toward engineering,” she said. “My goal in any job I have or any internship, especially within Raytheon Technologies, is that I want to make an impact in what I do, and I hope that I could be on the forefront of some cool things in the future. I think I will have a lot of opportunities to do that here.”
Noelle Ossenkop and Anya Shah
Two weeks into their summer internship at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Anya Shah and Noelle Ossenkop were on a flight to the South Pacific.
They spent the next two weeks at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, supporting the Department of Defense’s Valiant Shield 2022 exercise, working alongside Raytheon Technologies’ employees from three of the company’s four businesses. The DOD holds the exercise every other year to help the U.S. armed forces strengthen its ability to operate together across domains. This year, Valiant Shield focused on machine-to-machine and multi-domain architecture to enable commanders to make decisions more quickly.
Ossenkop, a University of Iowa senior majoring in computer science and engineering, spent the exercise working on upgrading flight simulation software to increase its accuracy.
During Valiant Shield, Shah, an upcoming junior at the University of California, Berkeley, studying electrical engineering and computer science, worked on a machine learning project that identified anomalies in GPS data using electro-optical cameras on-board the Raytheon Multi-program Testbed, or RMT, which is a modified Boeing 727.
“The one thing I really liked about Valiant Shield is that I got to meet people from around the country and across Raytheon Technologies,” Shah said. “I met people who were working on completely different things than I, who are just the best at what they do. I know that everybody who went to Guam was on the ‘A Team.’ They were the ones who knew everything about their specific system and how it worked. I don't think I would've gotten the opportunity to meet such skilled people from their specific fields of expertise, from around the country, had it not been for my experience with Raytheon Technologies in Guam.”
Ossenkop echoed Shah’s sentiments about the team Raytheon Technologies sent to Guam.
“I learned from them about the way they tackle problems and how they work until the job is done,” said Ossenkop, who for the past two years interned at Collins Aerospace, another Raytheon Technologies business. “They’re the type of professionals who are going to work until they get it right and do their best work on every task. I think seeing how sharp the people in Guam were and how hard they worked, as well as their passion for what they’re doing, was inspirational. There were a great group of role models on that trip.”
Ossenkop graduates in December 2022, and she’s applied for a position at Raytheon Intelligence & Space as a software engineer. She said that she’s met many employees within the business who started in technical positions and grew their careers to lead teams as program managers.
“One thing that’s cool about Raytheon Intelligence & Space is that I hear a lot of people who have been here for 20 or 30 years, and they’ve spent their whole career at the same company. I feel like you don’t hear that very often anymore,” she said.
“… I think that's a really good indicator that people like working here,” Shah added.
Ossenkop said that what she finds so appealing about Raytheon Technologies is the variety of projects, programs, technologies and locations, and the ability to advance in your career while not being limited to one role.
“I feel like it’s because there are so many different opportunities and product lines within Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and even more when you add the other Raytheon Technologies’ businesses,” she said. “I think it’s hard to say right now like exactly what I would want to work on, because there’s so many cool things to do. I’m definitely excited to see what I can do here.”
Editor’s Note: National Intern Day, celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of July, serves as an opportunity for employers to recognize and thank their hardworking interns. The commemoration has brought national attention to the challenges and inequalities faced by entry-level candidates, inspiring investments into internship programs and interns themselves.