Experiencing the Future

Experiencing the Future

Photo credit: Scott L. Huck/Cedarville University

by Marketing Services- Cedarville, OH

January 25, 2007

Meet John Norton, a junior electrical engineering major. His grandfather, whom he admires, was an engineer, and so Norton decided to follow in his footsteps. With a challenging internship, Norton is well on his way to making his grandfather proud — and he hasn’t even finished college!

Norton is working part-time as a paid intern for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Norton knows that career-related experience is a must in today’s competitive workforce (and a well-paid experience is a plus). Norton also knows that connections help. “I got the internship because the assistant CU soccer coach told me about the opening and then gave me a positive recommendation,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t have known anything about the position if not for him, and so I am very grateful.”

Through this experience, Norton is learning a lot about engineering outside of the classroom. “I model antennas in a program called CST Microwave Studio and then run simulations in the program,” he explained. “That data is then compared with actual laboratory results from the in-house antenna range. I also sometimes operate the range depending on the antenna that’s being tested.” Norton says what he has learned through his work has also helped him in his classes.

Discipline-related experience like what Norton is getting is what employers are looking for when considering applicants. With an estimated 1.3 million people earning a bachelor’s degree each year, employers are saying that experience counts. If you leave college with just a degree and a GPA, you’re going to be behind in the job search. Norton is an example of Cedarville University’s commitment to helping students get an edge.

Career-related experience is win-win. The student gains a resume entry while the employer gets an opportunity to evaluate a potential employee. And that’s what is happening with Norton. He says nothing is promised, but the possibility of staying on after he graduates from Cedarville has been discussed. “I don’t really want to make it sound like a job is a sure thing afterwards, but there is a high probability,” he remarked. Norton added, “If I do end up with a job, they will pay for graduate school!”

By gaining valuable career-related experience early, Norton is not only learning about engineering, but the rewards that come with investing and planning for the future as well. Career-related experience is a good investment!