Name: David Garcia

Hometown:  Hialeah, Florida

What is your major? Mechanical Engineering

Where did you intern?  Ford Motor Company

What did you do there? I worked in Vehicle Engineering with the Mustang Vehicle Integration Team in Dearborn, Michigan.

How did you get your internship? I have been attending national conferences such as SHPE and HENAAC since 2015. I was able to intern at Ford in Summer 2018 as a result of 2017 SHPE National Conference. After my 2018 internship, I was able to make connections within the company and return in the summer of 2019 for a second internship.

What projects did you work on? My projects pertained to program level strategy and execution of the 2021-2023 model year Mustang program. I worked with cross-functional teams that included engineering, program management, marketing, and finance to ensure that the Mustang program delivered a product that would excite and delight customers.

 How did your internship connect back to your coursework? My coursework at FIU provided crucial background knowledge that was essential during my internship. From an understanding of CAD during engine packaging discussions, to aerodynamic flow during intake design reviews and the principles of heat transfer during heat management deep dives; my coursework laid the foundation for me to be an active problem solver and asset during my internship.

 What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? Working on the next generation prototype builds of future Mustangs.

What did you like most about your experience? Working on the Mustang program. Mustang is an American icon and shares the same mindspace as Ford’s F-150; it is a very important vehicle for Ford. The team at Ford that works on Mustang all want to deliver a fantastic product and are enthusiasts at heart. During overwhelming work days where I may have lacked drive, I would sit back and remind myself that I am part of the special team that makes the world’s bestselling sports coupe!

 What did you learn about yourself? I learned that my ability to work with a group of people is my greatest asset. Being open to asking for help when I did not know something and leveraging the experience of others only accelerates growth. Team work truly makes the dream work.

How did you expand your professional network? This internship expanded my network within Ford, which then—with tools like LinkedIn—allowed me to expand my network to other professionals in automotive and other industries.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” This internship was a major confidence booster in regards to my ability to work in “the real world” and have faith that I would be successful in the work force thanks to my coursework and internship experience.

What advice do you have for students looking for internships? Leverage your network! This includes classmates and your university’s Career Development Center. Set yourself goals in regard to the number of applications you’d’ like to submit or dream companies and make those around you aware. State your goals on forums such as LinkedIn and watch the power of networking get you closer to your goal.

What advice to you have for those starting an internship: Make it your mission to exceed your internship deliverables. Coordinate weekly and monthly reviews with your supervisor to secure feedback on your projects. These checkpoints are critical in your success as an intern and developing a lasting relationship with the company. You have a limited amount of time and need to capitalize on this amazing opportunity you have in front of you.