Ian Hong | Engineering Intern
Business Unit: Boeing Global Services
Location: Renton, WA
University: Stanford University
Degree Program: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
What program and team do you work on?
I’m a member of the Technology and Innovation team attached to Boeing Global Services. We work across the business as drivers of technological investments and integrations. I help create and refresh key strategies and software platforms used to this end, and work with an interdisciplinary team to manage our investment portfolio and explore new technology insertions.
Why did you decide to apply at Boeing, and what about Boeing's mission and the work we do inspires you?
To me, Boeing embodies the wonder and possibilities of air and space. From my first plane ride as a kid to my first rocket launch as a 19-year-old intern, Boeing has amazed me throughout my entire life. Two of my greatest passions are connecting people and exploring the universe, and these align with the company’s mission. I want to help drive innovation in the industry and inspire new generations, just as I had been inspired growing up.
What kind of skills are you building during your internship?
My technical skills have benefitted greatly from the real-world experience I’ve gained. Through working on projects deeply embedded in the framework of quality standards, proper procedures, and the vast bank of existing knowledge, the way I view and approach problems has gained an entirely new dimension. As a person, I’ve learned to be unafraid of my inexperience, going into every situation ready to learn while also realizing my opinion is still valuable. From my collaborations with exceptional people across the company, I’ve learned how to be a better listener, when to ask questions instead of struggling alone, and what it truly means to build up ideas as a team.
How is the internship incorporating ‘fun’ into the experience with your team or other interns?
Having interned with Boeing for three summers, I can say without a doubt that fun is a core part of the intern program. My first summer in Kennedy Space Center was the experience of a lifetime. I met inspiring astronauts, toured every space facility imaginable, and felt each rumble as weekly launches lit up the sky. I also interned with Boeing fully virtually and the tours were numerous and insightful, showing me the amazing work Boeing does that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Talks hosted by leaders gave insight into the spirit of the company and kept us grounded during the tough times. Finally, from my first internship to my current one, one of my favorite parts has been getting to know the other interns, having fun and supporting each other throughout our internships and long after they ended.
What has been your proudest moment as a Boeing intern?
My proudest moment was seeing an idea I thought of come to life. On one of the platforms that I work on, I noticed a potential linkage to another platform that would elevate functionality and user experience. I brought this up to my manager, and he helped me turn it into a full-blown project that I was able to develop with the help of my teammates. While the linkage is still preparing to fully launch, I’m grateful to my manager for encouraging and supporting my ideas, and I’m excited to see my small suggestion turn into a real change.
What advice do you have for Engineering students who are interested in interning at Boeing?
Be passionate, but seek out new experiences. While it’s good to know what drives you, what you want to work on, and what kind of engineer you want to be, the things that you may be lukewarm about can quickly grow on you and turn into lifelong passions. Try doing a different type of engineering for a summer and take on those random assignments your manager needs done. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you experience.
When you look back at this experience in five years what do you think will be your greatest learning as a Boeing intern?
My biggest takeaway is that learning is a lifelong endeavor. Starting my first internship right after my freshman year was intimidating, as it felt like my mentors were light years ahead of me knowledge-wise. But as I learned from them and as we worked on projects together, I realized they were constantly picking up new things too. Rather than feeling like I have to quickly become the perfect engineer, I believe that in five years I’ll be grateful to my internships for teaching me to stay humble and to always keep growing.
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