Monday, August 11, 2014

Student Perspectives: Textron Aviation Summer Internship, Part II

Engineering student April Paul has spent her summer interning at Textron Aviation and has shared her take on this new step in her career with us. In case you missed it, check out her Part I

As I write, I have just walked back from the lab after having fixed the (hopefully) last problem on the ion streamer I’ve been designing and building. For my lunch break, I’ll sit here and type out a blog post, and then after lunch I’ll go back and give the ion streamer a test run. The previous model could charge an article to 30 kilovolts in 10 seconds, so we’ll see if his big brother can set a new record!
Since the time of my last post for the Incredibly LETU blog, some, frankly, amazing events have occurred. The most exciting of which being yesterday’s adventure: meeting the CEO of Textron Aviation. Yesterday, I spoke at Textron Aviation’s “End-of-Year Intern Report Out,” which meant I prepared a 7-minute spiel about my summer projects and how I developed professionally through my internship.

Well, as I’m up there speaking, (and rather enthusiastically, I might add!), about my work in the Electromagnetic Effects Laboratory with ion streamers, radiation chambers, and lightning generators, God granted me favor in the eyes of the head of the HR department and the CEO of Textron Aviation.
Did I mention I had been sitting beside them when I was waiting for my turn to speak? Yeah. Crazy. 

April and her roommates, future Textron Aviation employees
So, after the Report Out was over, the CEO of Textron Aviation himself comes up to me and the following exchange occurs.

CEO: “Good presentation. When do you graduate?”

Me: “Next year, sir.”

CEO: “Have we offered you a job yet?”

Me: “Yes sir, but for the avionics department, and I’m more interested doing design work in the laboratory.”

CEO: “You belong in the lab. You’ll work there next year.”

Me: “I want to, but you see there’s a budget issue and even though my boss wanted to hire me, he can’t because…”

CEO: “Nonsense, just shoot me and email when you get back to the office and we’ll get you all set up.”

Me: <speechless>

The CEO then turns to the his friend who was sitting beside him, the head of the HR department, and jokes: “Jim! You gave her the wrong job! She doesn’t belong in Avionics, go fix that.” With that, they turn and leave.

I turn around to see my three roommates around me, (they are fellow Textron Aviation interns), and we exchange thrilled and awestruck glances and silent high-fives, reserving our enthusiastic “THE-CEO-JUST-GAVE-ME-A-JOB!!!!!!!” screams for once we were safely locked in the car. Then we definitely only giddy interns can do.

On top of all this excitement, each of my roommates got job offers, too!! (Two of which at LeTourneau students! YAY!) God blessed us SO much! Praise the Lord!

Excited and Grateful,

LETU is extremely proud of students April, Amanda and Sarah for highly successful internships! For more information on our engineering program, go to

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Incredible Achievements: Carly Robinson, Texas Student Teacher of the Year

At LeTourneau, we take pride in providing our students with a world-class education. We could offer a plethora of examples of successful students and graduates. Today, though, we’re focusing on our newest CSOTTE Texas Student Teacher of the Year – the fifth LETU student to receive this honor in less than ten years.

Carly Robinson is a 2014 Teacher Education graduate, and completed her student teaching at Pine Tree Middle School in Longview. From her description of her experience there, her passion for teaching is undeniable.

Robinson in her element
“Having an entire year to get to know these students was a privilege, not only because of the deeper look at how they could be hilarious and difficult and gifted and shy at the same time, but because of the school year's pacing and the whole class' changes throughout 8h grade,” she said.

Being an educator is more of a calling than an occupation for Robinson: Teaching combines the ideal with the practical, since character and thought formation make a world of difference to individuals, who collectively can make an even greater difference in the world. I hope to live out the gospel though my profession in this way.”

There’s obviously something unique about LETU’s education program, Robinson being the most recent in a long line of its graduates named Texas Student Teacher of the Year.

“Every professor at LeTourneau has a very missional perspective on teaching. The training they offer is very thorough, hands-on in the field, well-versed in theory and research, and ready to apply after graduating,” Robinson said. “But the most impactful thing is how they model teaching as discipleship: seeing students as uniquely gifted and valuable, coming alongside them through the learning process so they grow holistically as well as academically.”

Promptly after graduating this past May, Robinson was offered a full-time position teaching fourth grade with Hutto ISD.

I am thrilled to teach some of my favorite subjects - language arts and Texas history - to students who are in what is often considered a golden age group. 4th graders have great potential and excitement to soak up information, and they're getting old enough to start owning study skills and reading motivation for themselves.”

Robinson, however, doesn’t take all the credit for her success.

“The process of applying and being offered a job at Hutto is one of the most significant, unmistakable examples of God's providence in my life recently. It will be challenging but very rewarding!” she said.

That’s one of the things that makes LETU a unique place: students who excel academically and professionally while viewing the workplace as a mission field.

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, Part I

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.”