Hometown: Monterrey NL, Mexico
What is your major? I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Where did you intern? What did you do there? I interned at Audi AG (Lightweight Center) in Neckarsulm, Germany. I developed a method to measure and simulate the properties of carbon fiber at high-testing speeds, which helps design car structures that are lighter yet safe in case of a crash.
How did you get your internship? I completed an online application.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? If you ever get rejected, do not become discouraged. It could happen many times; you just have to keep on applying. However, do not apply to positions using a general application. You should try to tailor your resume to the company and the position’s description.
What projects did you work on? I worked on the material characterization process that is used for cars such as the R8 and A8, and special projects at Audi such as the e-tron and system integrative multi-material lightweight construction for electromobility (SMiLE). Our goal was to develop these cars with various lightweight materials. The cars in special projects were not for sale but to show Audi’s engineering capabilities.
How did your internship connect to your coursework? My Mechanics of Materials and Programming classes were very useful in my internship. These courses provided a foundation of knowledge I needed at Audi so I could apply what I was taught as I worked with carbon fiber and other material, as well as utilized software for projects. Everything was so interesting that I definitely plan to take an elective on composite materials.
Fernando Rojas at an Audi Sport Showcase in Germany.
Fernando Rojas at an Audi Sport Showcase with colleagues in Germany.
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? The coolest thing about my internship was being able to drive new Audis on the German highway where they don’t have speed limits.
What did you like most about your experience? It was a very gratifying feeling to apply what I learned at school to solve a “real-life” problem for a company like Audi and, of course, to have done that abroad.
What did you learn about yourself? It was a very challenging experience, I learned about my strengths and what I am capable of.
How did the position increase your professional confidence? It gave me a chance to work with colleagues from different European elite universities and to prove that I could perform just as good or even better than they could in a professional setting.
How did you expand your professional network? During my internship, whenever I got the chance I participated in out-of-work activities with my colleagues and got closer to them on a personal level. I have stayed in touch with them since I have left.
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” In my internship, I was assigned a project that was required for the development of important products for Audi, thus I had to deliver practical solutions to a real problem and prove that my proposed solutions worked.