Software Engineering Internship Story: Lockheed Martin

 Picture of Riley Locke

Riley Locke
Software Engineering, ‘22

Where did you intern?

I interned for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, TX as a software engineer.

How did you find and apply for your internship? Did you use a specific resource or attend a particular recruiting event to search for internships (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, etc)? 
So I got my internship through somewhat nontraditional methods. In the fall of 2019, I was invited to attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit in London, England representing the Auburn Grand Challenge Scholars chapter. Lockheed Martin was a big sponsor of the summit, and while there I got the chance to network with the Chief Technology Officer of the corporation as well as a Global Director with the UK Branch. The director’s sister-in-law just so happened to be the Director of Auburn’s Honors College: Dr. Tiffany Sippial. I am an ambassador for the Honors College and have a good working relationship with Dr. Sippial. The week I returned to the US, Lockheed was having an event in the Brown-Kopel Ballroom so I leveraged the connections made in London to get an offer on the spot after an interview.

What was the application process like?

I just had a short interview with a recruiter in the Ballroom and was then given an offer. The CTO and Global Director from the UK let them know I was coming in advance, however. After working the summer of 2020 fully remote I was given an offer to intern in-person this past summer in Fort Worth.

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

This summer I was working in the Advanced Development Program (ADP), also known as Skunkworks, part of Lockheed Martin. I helped upgrade middleware products to the newest Open Mission Systems Standards, where I primarily wrote code in C++ and Java. I also worked with the Joint All-Domain Operations team to enhance Universal Command and Controls Initiative (UCI) capability for a Java simulation framework. My favorite part of the summer was when myself and another Auburn intern got to go on a business trip paid for by the company to support a team in Norfolk, Virginia at a corporate workshop. It is rare for interns to be able to go on corporate travel so this was a huge honor and so much fun.

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

My internship prepared me a lot for my next steps in Auburn because at the end of my internship, I was given a return offer to come back to the same part of the company full-time. So it will be really easy for me to hit the ground running when I start my full-time job after graduation.

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

It was a very cool feeling to be working on projects and realizing, “oh my gosh. I actually know what I am doing.” But actually, after being in my major for 3 years, it was very satisfying to realize that my hard work was paying off. My machine learning and artificial intelligence elective classes really gave me an edge and the ability to hold a conversation with people with masters and doctoral degrees.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?

My advice would be to always be on the lookout for any networking opportunities. While it is of course extremely important to do well in your coursework and at your job, that will usually not be enough to get your foot in the door. Building a large network of mentors and colleagues can really distinguish you as an applicant.