Aerospace Engineering Internship Story: Pratt & Whitney


Kendal Westerlund

Aerospace Engineering

What company did you intern with and where are they located?

During the Summer of 2022, I interned with Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut.

How did you identify and apply for your internship? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?

I found this internship through the Pratt & Whitney website. I knew that I was interested in working for P&W, so I went to their careers page and filtered for internships for Aerospace Engineers.

What was the application process like?

The application process was straightforward. First, I had to fill out basic information like my name, address, and phone number. Then, I described previous work experience, education, and skills. At the end I attached my resume and hit submit. It took about a month or two before I was offered a zoom interview. It was a super engaging interview, where I got to speak with multiple members of the Interactive Electronic Technical Publications team. They asked me about different experiences listed on my resume. I got to ask a bunch of questions and they gave me honest and genuine answers. It felt like a real conversation, not an interrogation. About a month later I received a call offering me the internship, and I was beyond excited.

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?

I loved my time at Pratt & Whitney. I always felt so welcomed and I knew that the work I was doing was having an impact. My big project over the summer involved identifying and removing parts that P&W did not manufacture from the Integrated Parts Catalogs using their 3D modeling software TeamCenter, and coding software Corena. This was a huge task looking at thousands of engine parts in the NGPF and OCE commercial engine programs. I got to take trips to the manufacturing floor and see so many of these parts in person, which was a surreal experience. I got the opportunities to network with other interns and professionals to learn about many different areas of expertise, like fan blade balancing and structural analysis (two of my favorites to see in action). At the end of my summer at P&W, I created a presentation encompassing everything I did during my time there and presented it to management. It was an amazing experience to have a whole summer’s worth of work wrap up so nicely and get such positive feedback from important people in the company.

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

I learned so much during my internship at Pratt & Whitney. It gave me hands-on experience in a professional environment. I know that a big worry of mine has always been feeling like I’m not good enough, or not qualified enough. P&W gave me a safe space to grow as an engineer. I felt comfortable making mistakes and asking questions in order to improve. This role helped build my confidence and has allowed me to believe that I am capable of working in the professional engineering world. This internship also taught me about the different career paths that are available for an aerospace engineer, in and outside of Pratt & Whitney.

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?

While most of the work that I was doing was outside the scope of my classes, Auburn has taught me so much that prepared me for this internship. Through my involvement with different organizations on campus, I have gotten the opportunity to grow as a leader and grow my teamwork stills, which are essential in the workforce. My time as an SI leader on Auburn’s campus has taught me a lot about collaboration and constantly adapting to working with new people. Auburn also taught me about time management. In classes and in the workforce, there are always so many deadlines on top of each other, and knowing how to prioritize and get everything done is key to success. While everything we spend learning in the classroom is so important, the things I’ve learned outside the classroom contribute to feeling like a proficient engineer.

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

My advice for students looking for an internship is apply, apply, apply. Getting an internship can seem like a tricky task, and there is a competitive job market for interns. If you continue to apply, something will come your way. Even if you don’t think you are qualified for an internship you see, there is no harm in applying. And who knows? There is always a chance, but you will never know if you don’t try.