Spring semester of my junior year, I moved down to the Twin Cities area with high anticipation for the beginning of my internship with the MSP Tower/M98 TRACON facilities. Initially deciding to intern, in general, is a big decision. Many uncertainties about the professional atmosphere, surrounding financial concerns, and program structure itself were considered with the submission of my application. What I did not know was the extent of the reward that would come from having a little faith and making that commitment.
Day one was most exhilarating. I found myself gaping at the ‘cool’ factor of being immersed in air traffic operations and had to consciously check my desire to spur questions in every direction. To my great fortune, personnel in every corner of the industry (controllers, technicians, management, pilots, safety specialists, etc.) reciprocated my energy and were genuinely pleased to share their knowledge and experience. In this manner I was able learn from their expertise, broadening my personal skills and abilities. Working with these people, so supportive and willing to coach, solidified that the path I’m on is right for me. The focus on shaping a better future for the industry was thrilling and it gave me the sense that, in a small way, what I am able to contribute will be part of a greater goal.
Over four months I studied, worked hard, and listened to knowledge that will likely never find its way into a textbook. UND Aerospace does an incredible job preparing young people for a future in aviation. The internship experience I had took preparation and made it much more personal. Although there were many distinct components to the program that expanded my knowledge base, the overarching benefits of connecting with professionals, developing job skills, and discovering specific career goals are much further reaching. These internship-related aspects were critical to my growth, and I urge everyone to supplement their college education with a similar experience. Internships are a door to many future opportunities. Trust yourself, your passion, and believe that with the right attitude and work ethic you can end up in a position where every workday is sprinkled with a little bit of that ‘cool’ factor.
If you would like more information on Danyelle’s internship experience, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org