Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adventures of an Engineering Intern

Julia Thurber is a mechanical engineering senior from Fort Worth, Texas. She's currently interning at the HCJB Global Technology Center. Here's her take: 

Greetings from Elkhart, Indiana! 

I can’t believe that I’m over halfway into my internship, with only four weeks remaining! I’ve learned and done so much during my time here. I almost don’t know where to start. 

With respect to my project, the Equipment Power Protection device, I’ve been working with an Arduino microcontroller and oscilloscope to experiment on and expand the functionality of the existing program. Going into the project I felt like I had a fair grasp on the Arduino programming language and how the microcontroller works, but, as I continue to learn, I am frequently reminded how little I actually know. In fact, the first few weeks at the Technology Center were spent acclimating to the terminology, history, and documentation of the project. Some call this process “climbing the learning curve,” but my supervisor, pictured with me below, more accurately calls it “drinking out of a firehouse, preferably without drowning you.” Like I said, I’m learning a lot.

Part of the reason I’m learning so much is due to the nature of my work. Although I’m a mechanical engineering student, the current state of the project requires electrical and computer engineering knowledge. So, as I read the documentation for the project, I learned all kinds of new things along the way. A typical scenario consisted of me reading a phrase or sentence from the project files, looking up two or three concepts related to that phrase, making a note of any elusive concepts or vocabulary, and then repeating until my notes grew long enough to warrant asking my supervisor. Thankfully my supervisor, and frankly anyone within earshot, is more than willing to explain anything that I struggle with. I’m really blessed by how willing my co-workers are to accept, care for, teach, and truly invest in me. With only 60 people working here, it often feels more like an extended family than a traditional workplace.

I’m really enjoying my project—to the point that it feels like I’m playing all day long. I’ve connected with a great group of people here—both older adults and some closer to my age. My internship is fully funded! It’s always incredible watching God connect all the pieces and provide for all of my needs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

60 Years Later, A Heart For LETU

LETU Alum Harold Crossman on his
visit to campus this past week.
Summers can be very quiet on campus. The university marketing communications team has been officing in the Memorial Student Center this summer, a floor below the R.G. LeTourneau museum. Visitors to the museum are frequent, but few quite as special as Harold Crossman. This past Friday, Mr. Crossman walked through our front door with his daughter and brother-in-law. A LeTourneau Technical Institute graduate of 1954, Mr. Crossman graduated with a degree in Mechanical Science.

The last time Mr. Crossman was on campus, LeTourneau University was still more than 30 years from becoming a full-fledged 'university.' But through his visit, we were reminded of the real heart of LeTourneau University. Prestige means nothing without impacting people. Titles are worthless if we don’t touch hearts.

Harold Crossman, 1954
During the past 60 years, Mr. Crossman has made an entire life for himself in Oregon. But that's not what he wanted to talk about on Friday. He wanted to talk about R.G. LeTourneau, about his time with Mom and Pop. He spoke with soft appreciation and the utmost love for what was obviously a very important chapter in his life. He talked about the alter day program and having the opportunity to get an education thanks to the LeTourneaus. His eyes shined as he told the story of the thirty minutes a day that R.G. stopped production in order that the entire factory could pray together and hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

During 1952, Mr. Crossman traveled to Liberia with R.G. where he worked for almost a year before returning to Longview to finish his degree. After graduating, he voluntarily went back to Liberia. It was during his time in Liberia that he met his wife. After becoming ill, he spent some time in the hospital there. His future wife was his nurse.

The pilgrimage to Longview this weekend was just a stop on the way to Mississippi where he was spending the weekend reuniting with others who had spent time in Liberia. While his visit was brief, it reminded us of the lasting impact RG LeTourneau has had on so many lives. Even today, his legacy lives on in the spirit of students, the work of faculty and the hearts of alumni. As the university continues to grow and change, our roots remain the same.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Student Perspectives: Textron Aviation Summer Internship

April Paul is an engineering student at LETU. Here, she shares her experiences as an intern with Textron Aviation.

April Paul
Another brisk Kansas morning, another day at Cessna.

This is my second summer to intern at my favorite company. Cessna, now known as Textron Aviation, has been my dream since my first week of interning, back in 2013. Throughout my time here, I’ve had the honor of working alongside a rather unique group of engineers. Oh yes, we are a wacky bunch, but my colleagues are some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. Last year they helped me design and build an ion gun and compose and conduct aircraft tests. This year I get to work with Lightning Generators and Radiation Chambers. I feel incredibly blessed to have this cool of a summer job.  Getting to put into practice the engineering knowledge and skills I’ve been developing at LeTourneau is such a gratifying and exciting adventure!

Wichita's botanical gardens
In addition, there is definitely good news for LeTourneau students at Textron Aviation! Over three times more LeTourneau students are being hired for full-time and intern positions than last year. Textron Aviation must like what they see! Moreover, I can speak as a LeTourneau student and say I like what I see, too! I’m so impressed by my company and the experiences Textron Aviation has given me!

After work, there are great things to do in Wichita. My favorite pastime is strolling through the gorgeous Botanica! Wichita’s botanical gardens are my paradise. Besides the invigorating beauty of nature, you never know what you’ll find as you wander through. Yesterday, when I was walking through the gardens, I spotted a small troupe of ballerinas in full costume dancing on the grand fountain! Yes, the Botanica is truly a whimsical place. 

My summer is shaping up to be an unforgettable one, so I’ll open up my doors and let life keep pourin’ in! 

For more information on how you can pursue a career like April's, visit our School of Engineering and Engineering Technology page. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Incredible Occupations: Health Care Administration

From his first exposure to the health care industry with the U.S. Navy as a Naval Hospital Corpsman, Robert Armstrong knew a health care profession was for him.

“I gained an appreciation for the medical field and began to direct my thoughts toward preparing for a career that would make a difference in the lives of people and organizations,” he said.

Today, he’s taken his skills to a world-renowned cancer center as accountant III, but hasn’t stopped pursuing further excellence in health care. He’ll soon be taking on a role as a health care administrator.

MHA student Robert Armstrong
“The health care field touches every segment of society. For leadership roles, I believe that a solid education would open doors to utilize my talents and desire to lead departments or health organizations.”

For that education, Armstrong chose LeTourneau’s Master of Science in Health Care Administration program.

It’s a wise move for health care professionals who want to advance their careers. The country’s baby boom population is approaching its senior years; increased regulatory requirements are expected, along with a significantly greater population to care for. Demand for highly qualified health care administrators is on the rise.

After considering 10 different schools with similar degrees, Armstrong is currently completing his M.S. in Health Care Administration through LETU’s online program.

“I chose LETU’s MHA program for a couple of reasons. First, because of work and family schedules, I felt that an online course of study would be most beneficial.

“I was looking at what courses were being taught and whether I would obtain a quality and balanced education that I could use in the work force. In today’s changing health landscape, the key is to take courses that are relevant and practical. LETU has this format,” Armstrong said.

In a profession where the rules can change rapidly, it’s important to remain up-to-date. Armstrong affirms this is the case with LETU’s MHA courses.

“In my place of employment, a senior executive recently gave a presentation, and I had already learned or was currently learning everything he was talking about.”

As far as the course being online, there was no less communication with professors even with the lack of face time.

“Their dedication to students, noted in their interactions and timeliness in answering questions, has made my online experience worth the effort. To my amazement, they are willing to go out of their way to provide their personal number in case of emergency or that last minute question before a project is due.”

Between the growing demand, quality academics, flexible online schedule and dedicated instructors, the M.S. in Health Care Administration is progressing rapidly. The bottom line in Armstrong’s words: “LETU will prepare you for success.”

Friday, June 6, 2014

Incredible Opportunities: Mercedes-Benz Co-ops

The idea of college usually includes imagery of summers spent at internships, unpaid and fetching coffee. Materials joining engineering majors Jordan Boston and Zach Danko, on the other hand, are taking their careers into their own hands and making the investment of participating in a co-op with Mercedes-Benz.

A co-op differs from a traditional internship in that the student works at the company for three alternating semesters as a regular employee, totaling approximately a year’s worth of paid work while still being enrolled as a full-time student. Scholarships and loans stay intact.

Jordan Boston
Boston, a sophomore from Boise, Idaho, started his first semester at the beginning of the summer, and Danko, a senior from Santa Barbara California, will go for his first semester in the fall. They’ll be working in body shops, joining Mercedes parts. Their time there will also include researching on joining aluminum, which gives vehicles better gas mileage. In fact, they were both chosen for Mercedes’ labs for their specialty in materials joining, as LETU’s program is one of the few of its kind in the world.

Some students may be hesitant to pursue a co-op as it interrupts the traditional four-year education, but that wasn’t a problem for either Boston or Danko.

“It’s about the job opportunities. I’m thinking forward and investing in my career,” Boston said. “I’ll still be able to finish in five years of school.”

A co-op puts a student one year behind in graduating, but it’s a small sacrifice for the investment it puts into one’s lifelong career.

“Co-ops present an incredible opportunity for our students. They provide hands-on experience that is valuable both as a trial run of a potential career field and as an opportunity to put classroom learning into practice in the workplace,” Kristy Morgan, senior director of Career Services, said.

LeTourneau’s Career Services department presented the co-op opportunity to both students and progressed quickly from there.

Zach Danko
“Career Services made it easy. I got my interview about a week after I talked to them about it and had the job two weeks later,” Danko said.

Danko said he’s not worried about getting a job once he graduates.

“A co-op gives a lot better chance of job security. They’re investing more in you. You’re going to be there longer and they want to grow you more into their company than at an internship,” he said.

Most co-op students get offered jobs upon graduation. “Students who complete co-ops often leave with a full-time job offer and are highly marketable to other employers as well,” Morgan said.

The only problem? According to Danko: “People keep asking me if I can get them a discount on a Mercedes.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Student Perspectives: Love in Action

Sarah Snyder just completed her freshman year at LETU and kicked off her summer by going on a mission trip to Japan with several other students. Here's her take on the experience. 

Meeting Sakiko

It’s hard to believe that it’s over. That I, a girl from Texas, went to Japan to spread the gospel is crazy. I went with six of the craziest, most radical Christians I’ve ever met and together we loved on the Japanese people like never before. From singing in trains to praying for people on the street to helping Pearl Vineyard Church, our entire trip was about loving people in a way they’ve never seen before. One of my favorite moments during the trip was the day we met Sakiko. She was older woman who worked as a florist. She stood five foot nothing, if that. Her face was worn and her hands dirty from the flowers. A lot of people might’ve just passed her by; people like her family did. She craved love like we all do. I had the chance to pray for her. I prayed down the Father’s love on her, that he would restore her family and bless her. She wept and I know it’s because she experienced that love, maybe for the first time. The awesome thing is that I prayed for her in English, without a translator, and she understood. Her heart knew because the Holy Spirit speaks in a language all understand. It’s called love.

I mentioned that we sang on trains, actually we sang everywhere we went. Singing opened up doors to conversations and praying for people. A song that kept popping up was “I’ve got a river of life” and on this trip we wrote several new verses including one about love. It goes, “I've got a river of love flowing out of me. Heals the broken heart, sets the oppressed free. Makes the darkness run, and fear to flee. Cause, I've got a river of love flowing out of me.” These lyrics couldn’t be any more true. God poured his love out on our team. He healed our hurts and freed us. We aren’t perfect people. God did a lot of work in us and out of the overflow of his love, in us, we loved on the Japanese people. They were so ready, so ready, to receive. Luke 10:2 says “He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We saw it. We experienced the bountiful harvest that is ready to be gathered in to the Father. I ,personally, cannot wait to go back to Japan. For now, though, I am ready to turn the love of the Father on Longview and see what he does here.