Spotlight on Students: Kristin Hamaguchi
The summer after my sophomore year I interned at Northrop Grumman in Palmdale, CA. I worked in the Facilities Engineering department, which is in charge of maintaining and upgrading the site facilities in order to meet the space and security needs of each division. I was able to work with both project engineers and project managers during my time there and was exposed to a variety of tasks.
Under project engineering, I worked on both major and minor projects. One of the everyday, small-scale projects I assisted with included updating seating charts to accommodate the growth in certain departmental programs. A major project I assisted with was upgrading a hangar in the Mojave Desert to have higher security and additional machinery for use by special programs. In addition to attending meetings and job walks with the design and construction firms, I researched products, including propane tanks and HAZMAT storage units, and performed cost estimates on items such as insulation.
With project management, I was given the task of meeting weekly with the project engineers to keep them accountable for accurately forecasting their monthly spending per project and updating the values based on incoming invoices and charges. I also created performance metrics, such as for budget and closeout performance, for each of the engineers and our site as a whole. Additionally, I created schedules showing the current stage of each project and the workload of each engineer.
This internship provided me with my first hands-on experience with engineering in a real-world setting. It allowed me to take part in all the different stages of engineering projects from planning and design to construction and closeout. It also exposed me to the communication needed between all parties in order to have a successful project. The most valuable aspect of my internship was the exposure it gave me to project management. This internship stimulated my interest in a career in project management or possibly construction management. I feel that this experience has provided me with an opportunity to pursue a career that I may not have considered without it.