Mary O’Donnell | Flight Deck Design Intern
Business Unit: Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Location: Everett, Washington
University: University of Limerick
Degree Program: B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering
What program and team are you a part of, and what kind of work are you doing?
I’m part of the Flight Deck Design team, working on 777s and 747s. I’m working on various projects where I can apply skills from college and have a chance to learn how Boeing and the different teams and programs work. From presentations, work statements, part and drawing analyses everyday I’m learning something new.
How did you hear about Boeing’s internship opportunity and why did you decide to apply?
I chose Aeronautical Engineering after a study scholarship at the United Space School. Then, on my first day of college, I heard about the chance to get a Boeing internship. To me, this was an opportunity of a lifetime. It sounded so exciting to be able to work for such a brilliant organization and to see how my studies could apply to the real world — and in such a wonderful location! From that day on, I told myself “I would get that internship.” I’m ambitious; I love to challenge myself, do things out of the ordinary and discover my potentials. After studying hard, working at my extracurriculars, and not giving up hope when COVID-19 postponed this internship, I was delighted to have my dream fulfilled.
What excites you the most about Boeing’s mission and in what ways is your team making a real-world impact?
On a personal level, it’s the empowerment that Boeing gives to its employees. As a woman in STEM and Aviation, navigating my education and career path in this field has its challenges. However, at Boeing, I belong, and my contributions are worthy. I’m surrounded by other brilliant females who inspire and encourage me to reach my goals. I find this as a positive step to increased inclusivity, diversity and the end to bias and prejudice towards women in the workplace. Boeing is changing the future of flight. I see how my Flight Deck Design team can incorporate human factors and needs, and translate them to their products: Innovation, efficiency and safety.
What has been your favorite experience at your internship so far?
At work, getting to see the simulators, tour the planes and talk to incredibly interesting people with unique life stories — every day is better than the last. I adore being able to see my aeronautical modules in action. Outside of work — where to start? The managers are supportive of us just being interns and want us to experience this new and exciting lifestyle, so we get amazing opportunities to do extracurricular activities. Some of my favorites have been hiking, eating at cool restaurants and skydiving! In Washington, the hikes are unbelievable. The mountains and lakes are textbook, and the scenery is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. I still can’t get over how our group of interns just jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet like a casual after-work activity!
In what ways do you feel supported?
I’ve found the work ethic and environment at Boeing to be the most supportive, inclusive, and just pleasant to be a part of. I never feel out of my depth, or afraid to ask for help. I’m surrounded by some of the most intelligent and dedicated engineers I have ever met, but they are always there to explain something, give advice, or even just chat about their lives and aviation careers, which I’ve found to be an excellent resource and insight into the field. From the senior managers to my peers, I don’t feel intimidated at all — everyone is there to support you and lend a hand if you ever need it. .
How has your internship shaped your educational and career goals?
I feel more confident in my abilities as an engineer and would like to increase my knowledge further by continuing my education. I was unsure as to whether I wanted to pursue a master’s degree, but from speaking to other engineers, I have chosen that path. At Boeing, I see how I can apply my interest in composites — the composite wing factory tour was another favorite! I was assured that a master’s degree was not the only way to be a good engineer. However, I have seen how diverse the aviation industry is and now would like to specialize to further understand the field.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in interning at Boeing?
This will be one of the most rewarding steppingstones on your career path and take every opportunity that comes your way. You belong here. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to people. You have nothing to lose in this internship by just being curious. This is a time to discover your strengths and weaknesses and build on a range of skills; within the field, your academics, and within yourself. There are so many avenues in life that Boeing can open for you, so take each one as it goes. Dive into your projects, connect with your coworkers, take part in the tours and the talks – you never know what you might learn. And simply just be an intern. Enjoy your time and make it memorable, not just inside, but outside of work too. This is not just a 9-to-5 experience; there’s so much adventure after hours, so get out and discover the areas around you too! This will enrich your internship, help you integrate with the other interns, make lifelong friends, and help you make even more out of your months here at Boeing. It’s an opportunity like no other to work here.
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