I hope I don’t see snow again soon.
I don’t know about you, but my summer went pretty well! I spent most of it in the Denver, Colorado area, working as a Systems Engineering Intern for Sierra Nevada Corporation. The internship was super cool and it’s an excellent way for me to make my first step into the aerospace industry, and I am grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. (If you’re interested in how I got to SNC- it’s here!)
I liked the flexibility I had on the job. I worked 40 hours per week, but the hours were flexible within a reasonable time period- some people liked to start their day at 7 AM while others preferred to start around 8 or 8:30. Some people took lunch breaks; others worked while they ate lunch. In addition, it was completely different from the retail jobs I’ve had no one was walking around the intern room making sure that we were on task. We were treated like responsible adults.
I learned a lot over the three months I was there, and I made some new friends! However, Denver is no Daytona Beach- it snowed on the second Friday in a freak snowstorm. I mostly stayed inside that weekend, since my roommate had just moved in. But the week after was Memorial Day weekend, so I had a three-day weekend.
A few of the other interns and I decided that we’d want to go hiking. It sounded fun to me- the trail was about four miles round-trip, and it was only an hour and a half away from my Airbnb.
Unfortunately, we ran into some snow and I had not yet bought proper hiking boots, so I ended up sliding down a small snowbank in my leggings and horrible hiking shoes. I didn’t end up making it to the top because of the snow- the hike was at a pretty high elevation, and my flats were not doing very well. I still found the hike worthwhile, I got to get to know my fellow interns and enjoy a walk through nature.
Over the summer I only ended up doing one other hike, this time at Red Rocks trail. By then I had adequate hiking shoes, and that hike was also during the heat of the summer. The view was breathtaking, but we had to leave after a few minutes since we heard thunder. Throughout the summer, the other interns did a lot of hikes, including a 14,000-foot mountain. That, to me, is dedication.
What else did I do? Whatever else I wanted.
For a lot of the summer, I mostly hung out around my Airbnb. I had a roommate, who I met online, and the Airbnb was fully furnished and came with dishes and utensils. It was perfect for a summer internship- it even came with a dog! We lived in a family’s basement, and it was great since they had anything we needed (such as a rice cooker), so I didn’t need to buy plastic utensils for the summer or worry about finding a three-month apartment lease.
Like a full-time employee, I was free to do whatever I wanted on my days off. For example. over the Fourth of July weekend, I ended up visiting one of my friends in Santa Barbara on a direct flight from Denver. I flew out on a Friday evening and came back on Monday, which we had off since it was the Fourth of July.
While on that visit, we ended up driving to Solvang and Buellton, which are both in the valley. Buellton is known for Ostrichland, USA, where tourists can feed a bunch of ostriches and emus. I’d never really seen an ostrich up close, but once I did, I realized just how huge they are. I know they’re flightless birds, but I hope I never see an ostrich run after me.
I also attended two Rockies games with my friends! I’m not a huge sports fan, but in my opinion, baseball games are a good place to hang out. Yes, people can actually watch the game, but people who aren’t as into the spot can walk around the stadium and explore. The Rockies stadium had three levels, and the view from the top one was breathtaking. I even spotted a few flights.
Near the end of the summer, I ended up visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, which is an hour south of the Denver area. The zoo is quite literally built on a mountain, but I think it was a better choice than the Denver zoo since you get to interact with the animals a little more. I fed giraffes, watched wallabies freely run around the Australia exhibit, and saw plenty of big cats lying in the sun. It was a great experience, and I was glad I got the chance to experience it.
I loved my time in Denver with Sierra Nevada Corporation and am extremely thankful to everyone who helped me along the way. I highly recommend getting an internship. Not only does it give you the chance to experience the real engineering world, but it also gives you a chance to see what you’re doing with your degree. I’ll be honest, in some of my classes, I felt like some of the example problems weren’t directly related to my future career. However, I see how the concepts are applied to the real engineering world, even if not in my area of interning. For example, my roommate was a structural engineering intern, and the concepts I learned in solid mechanics applied to her internship. Talking to other interns was a good way to get to know everyone and learn about what disciplines would be for me.
While I miss SNC, it feels good to be home at Embry-Riddle. Classes have just started, and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn this semester. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!