REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 12, 2021) – It is one thing to study engineering in school, but it is a totally new experience to see it in action.
For Auburn University senior Garrison Dooley, his internship at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center reaffirmed his change of course to industrial engineering and his career path.
“I started off in mechanical – I did not even know that industrial existed. But when I learned about it and that it is like a hybrid of engineering and business – I had loved economics and finance in high school – I thought it sounded very cool. And Auburn has a really good safety ergonomics program,” Dooley said.
But before he could get to work, he had to receive a crash course in exactly what the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center does – and the center does a lot. A good boss and supportive co-workers can make or break an internship experience and while many internships have had to pivot to a virtual model in the age of COVID, Dooley has been able to work on-site. He said working with Industrial Base Branch Chief Bob Olson and his team has been nothing but positive.
“Bob really cares for us first and that we reach our maximum potential not just having people work under him,” Dooley said. “Everybody has been so nice, it just couldn’t be a better environment.”
“I found Garrison to have a balanced mix of educational, manufacturing and self-starting leadership experience that potentially fits well within our industrial base team,” Olson said. “However, ultimately the supervisor’s role is to prepare employees for their next career steps. So this summer internship is more than accomplishing an assignment, it’s about preparing Garrison for his life’s journey, whether that is with the AvMC’s Industrial Base team or somewhere else.”
Dooley said that his previous summer internship delved more into the manufacturing side of engineering and while that wasn’t his ultimate career choice, he did enjoy gaining that experience, as it can be difficult for a young person just entering college to visualize exactly what they want to do in engineering.
While the AvMC internship does not translate into college credit, it is paid – and money in the pocket is always a plus for a college student. But the experience that Dooley is earning – that is invaluable.
“What is neat is that there are a lot of general engineers here – there are some who are electrical and some who are aerospace and what I am involved in here has an industrial focus, so I am really fortunate to not only be here, but be here doing something that really hones in on things that I learned about in my degree. So it is a perfect match.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.