In the midst of my third year studying Structural Engineering at Western University, I decided to extend my degree by taking a professional internship in my fourth year and pushing back my last year of studies. After completing countless applications and taking several interviews, I accepted what I thought would be a good fit for me, a 16-month position as an Engineering Assistant at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory at Western University.
From the time I first wrote a cover letter for this position to now, my perception of the working environment – the wind tunnel – has changed so much. I was unaware of the types of large-scale projects that I would have the opportunity to work on when accepting what I thought was just a typical lab position at Western. I have certainly developed many intangibles and new professional skills working both independently and alongside several supportive engineers. Demonstrating professionalism, developing efficiency in my work, and creating a sense of applicability to my studies are just a few of the skills I believe come with experiential learning. I have further gained valuable experience working with several computer programs that are essential in the structural engineering field which typically fall outside of the curriculum. This experience has given me valuable insight on the career path I wish to pursue as well as the type of work environment I wish to be in for the long haul.
I highly recommend work integrated learning opportunities to undergraduate students because I feel like it was a much-needed break from the intensity of being a full-time student and included both mental and financial benefits. The practical experience of working in your desired field will translate well when pursuing full-time positions post-graduation
Click here to experience the facility where Mario put his engineering skills and knowledge into practice.