Aerojet Rocketdyne is committed to developing meaningful internship experiences that foster educational and professional opportunities for college students. After all, a successful internship with Aerojet Rocketdyne is not only good for the individual; it’s also good for the industry as a whole. Developing and investing in future defense and space leaders is essential to advancing our nation’s defense and space programs as well as bolstering the next generation of industry professionals.
Two of the college students that AR recently hired are former interns: Harrison J. and Daphne S. They were selected in the summer of 2018 to work at the company’s Orange, Virginia site. Harrison grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, and graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Daphne was raised in Culpeper, Virginia, and pursued her long-time interest in Chemistry at William and Mary. After graduating from college, Harrison and Daphne returned to AR to work full-time at the same site they interned at and in the same state where they grew up.
They describe their internship experience as foundational. They say it was something that equipped them both with valuable information that enables their success on current projects as full-time employees with the company.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to gather practical experience in my field before I was hired full time,” Daphne said. “I asked my mentors a lot of questions during my internship, and they opened my eyes to a wide variety of testing methods, instrumentation and knowledge that I’ve continued to build on.”
For Harrison, AR’s commitment to professional development and its willingness to offer interns real-world experience spoke volumes about the company and its values.
Harrison described a time during his first summer internship with AR when “all the interns were flown out to Los Angeles and given a tour of the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility there.” He said the best part was a beach volleyball social event where interns from the LA and Virginia sites had the opportunity to meet and network.”
Harrison also recalls a time in 2019 when Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake spoke with interns on another immersion trip, this time to the company’s defense headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama. Harrison listed the event as one of his top internship experiences.
When it came time to applying for jobs after graduating, Daphne was excited for the possibility to return to the company she loved during her internship. “There was a clear path from becoming an intern, to being hired as a full-time employee … my internship mentors really prepared me for the work I do now and it was evident that professional development was a key aspect of the AR intern program.”
Harrison said that it was an easy decision to return to AR as a full-time employee: “It was nice coming into a job where I already knew a lot of my co-workers and was very familiar with the work we do. That was important to me, because I wanted to be able to utilize my projects as an intern in my job.”
In addition to being the right fit for their professional interests, Daphne and Harrison said Orange’s scenic landscape suits their common interest in hiking and the outdoors. Daphne frequently takes advantage of Orange’s proximity to numerous hiking trails, and Harrison says that he uses his commute to work to appreciate Virginia’s lush forests.
To capitalize on a great internship opportunity, Daphne encourages interns to ask questions, as she said, “There is so much to learn.” Harrison agreed, saying it’s important for college students to “experience as many aspects of their field as possible so that they can pinpoint what interests them the most.”
If you’re interested in following Harrison and Daphne’s lead and elevating your internship experience, learn more at www.rocket.com/students about Aerojet Rocketdyne’s internship application process. Look for internship offerings in September 2021 and apply this January!