(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 12, 2021) – University of Alabama in Huntsville junior Harrison Klutts always had an affinity for math.

For a time, he thought about aerospace engineering as a major, but in Huntsville, the opportunities in the world of engineering are so broad and far-reaching that Klutts decided to take those numbers skills in a different direction to industrial and systems engineering.

“I was a child who always liked to make things, so engineering just seemed suitable,” Klutts said.

Klutts is experiencing how to make things – supersized – at his summer internship in the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate’s Systems Engineering Management Division, Technical Management, supporting the Project Management Office Aircraft Survivability Equipment. He said that stepping out of the classroom and into the workplace has given him a window into life, post-college – both in what he will be doing, but also in how he will be doing it.

“I have been able to get the whole experience of how Army acquisition works when it comes to making a product,” Klutts said.

Klutts’ supervisor Matthew Rhodes, defense systems branch chief for Systems Engineering Management Division, Technical Management, said that internships are beneficial for everyone, not just the student.

“The intern program is a win-win situation for AvMC and the intern,” Rhodes said. “It’s a way for AvMC to get early access to the future workforce and to also begin shaping that workforce in a way that helps the long-term mission. The intern at the same time gets a well-paying job at one of the greatest technology research and development organizations in the world. This will not only make them more competitive in the job market, but will also give them the ability to have a job lined up as soon as they graduate.

“The ultimate goal of the intern program is to develop young talent and retain that talent for many years afterwards so that the AvMC can be the best at what it does in the world. Young interns are a vital part of a successful organization that often gets overlooked. Harvest time only happens when hard work is put in during previous seasons. The same is true with investing time and resources into promising interns.”

Klutts said that there are ways to maximize the internship for not just the experience but to also pay dividends in the future.

“Have an open mind and socialize with as many people as you can so you get the full experience and make connections, because those connections can help you later in life,” Klutts recommended. “The person that you met two years ago could be the product manager of that office - you're able to get connected with them and get the job immediately. They remember who you are.”


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.