We’ve all heard the internship horror stories about students simply fetching coffee or filing papers for a summer. Twirling in their seats waiting for something meaningful to be thrown their way. Or maybe worse, assigned a project that is just tossed in a corner once they return to school. It’s difficult to know what to expect from an internship. So, how can you be sure the internship you’re interested in is the right fit for you before you start?
We could tell you all about why we think our internships are great, but why don’t we let our interns tell you instead? Watch our most recent video to hear from a variety of our interns, plus our human resources manager Tiffany, about C3’s engineering internships.
What will I get out of it?
“It’s really important that C3 provides a good experience for our interns when they come on board because they’re at a pivotal time in their lives,” says Tiffany. “Their whole life is in front of them, and they’ll be spending a lot of time with the people that they work with.”
It’s not beneficial to you OR us if we keep you isolated from our teams or give you work that is just to keep you busy. There are three key ways we work to make internships a valuable experience. Our goals are to:
- Make you feel welcome
- Assign real projects
- Provide support and mentorship
Here’s how we do that.
Henry, a Mechanical Engineering Intern, remembers his first impression of the C3 team and culture at his university’s career fair: “Zak and Tiffany really pushed that it was an inclusive, positive work environment. That really drew me to the company because that’s what I was looking for.”
We make sure we follow through on that first impression in a few different ways. To prove it’s not all talk, interns can expect to go out for lunch on their first day with the engineering team and early in the internship we host an ice-breaker event for the entire intern crew – usually something like laser tag. The mentors also organize some of their own events for interns, like paintball outings. Interns also get to partake in company-wide events like our summer picnic and golf outing. And we hope you like softball, because we’ll be asking you to play on our league team.
We also hold five Lunch-and-Learns for the intern team. For each, we enjoy lunch together while a department leader shares information on a different aspect of the business. These cover topics like C3’s history, how machines develop from concept to completion, or how each department interacts with the engineers and vice versa. This is a great way to help our interns understand areas of the business outside of engineering while also getting them familiar with their co-workers in other departments.
While all these activities are super fun, they also help solidify our value of teamwork and collaboration. We don’t see our departments as silos, so inter-department visibility is important. You’ll feel like you have a close-knit team feeling in your area and you’ll also feel apart of our overall C3 culture just the same.
If the goal of an internship is to explore your field of interest and enhance your education experience, it only makes sense to get involved in real projects. That’s certainly something you can expect at C3. Leslie, an Electrical Engineering intern, explains, “I’ve learned so much. I came in with no knowledge of any PLC or HMI programming. Now, I’ve been able to do an HMI from scratch and see it working on a machine. That’s been super cool to me – seeing how things go from on my computer to the face of the machines.”
For some of our returning interns, we’ve been able to help them build upon their previous experience. Ben interned here last summer, and when he came back, he had the opportunity to work in a unique role as both an engineering and operations intern. He tells us, “I decided to come back again because I knew I would get more work in both the operations and the engineering side. I’m going to school for engineering, but the operations side is really a nice advantage I have over some of my peers. I get a very good look at the business and how everything works.”
Scott has been a long term intern with us and something he appreciates is that the work varies. He says, “A typical day is a lot of time in Solid Works helping other engineers with clean up on designs. Sometimes it’s new designs or concepting new things. Occasionally we get to go down on the floor to do R&D testing. That’s fun because it’s different when you get to do stuff like that, it’s not always just in front of the computer.”
Support & Mentorship
Our work is going to challenge you. In fact, like Leslie mentioned, you may work on things you had no knowledge of before. But that doesn’t mean we’ll leave you to figure it all out by yourself. Henry tells us, “If I ever have a question or a problem I need help with, I can just turn around and I have access to basically every engineer at C3. They’re always willing to drop everything and help me.”
Each intern is paired with their own mentor. Ben shared with us that this component was a huge factor when it came to getting comfortable in his operations role. “Brady and I work together to look at the bottlenecks in the manufacturing process,” he says. “He’ll stop by a few times a day and just ask if I need anything, if I have enough on my plate, if there’s any more information he can give me to make things easier. I think that’s really important because it’s not a one way street.”
What Kind of People Enjoy C3 Internships?
Does all this sound like the internship opportunity you’ve been looking for? Before you apply, let us tell you a little about what kinds of people see the most success in these positions.
Emit Passion & Enthusiasm
We like hiring people that are excited about their career fields and their lives. Enthusiasm for your field of course is a must because it helps you press through challenges and see the bigger goal. Ben agrees that this helped him with his internship: “When you’re spending days and weeks on the fine details of a project, it really helps having that passion to keep pushing you forward through it.”
But we also think that people with diverse hobbies make the work environment a richer place. We believe those outlets help each of us refuel so that we’re always showing up to work ready for the next challenge. Have you seen our Hiring on Passions videos? You can check out Courtney cross-country skiing here or Grant water skiing here. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next one – Wyatt driving his race car!
When you apply, be sure to share something you’re proud of with us. Maybe it’s a homework assignment you enjoyed and did well. Maybe it’s a hobby project you’ve worked on at home. Or maybe it’s an award you’ve won. If you can show us that you’re enthusiastic – about engineering and life – then you’ll be a great fit here at C3.
Understand the Big Picture
Right now you might be wondering, “But what does C3 even do?!”
We’re glad you asked, and we think Tiffany sums it up pretty well: “We build revolutionary equipment, and our interns are a part of that.”
Does that pique your interest? Here’s what we mean by that.
We’re sure you’re familiar with the bed-in-a-box trend. C3 designs and builds machines for the mattress industry, including the ones that compress, fold, and roll mattresses so they fit nicely into a box and ship to your doorstep. This technology completely changed the mattress industry a few years back, and our designs continue to evolve as the industry evolves, too.
No, we don’t actually make mattresses here. But you will find foam and other mattress components on our floor that we use for testing. Each machine is designed, coded, built, and tested in our facility. You’ll be able to see how one of these machines goes from concept to fully-functioning reality.
Automation is our bread and butter, and we’re always looking for ways to use it to improve our designs. With the feedback from our customers, the experience of our engineering team, and your fresh eyes, we’ll work together to make our machines better and better.
If you think this seems like a lot to consider for an internship, that’s because it is. Remember what Ben said about passion helping you stay motivated through challenges?
We hope to give you a good experience while also helping you discover if our niche is the right one for you. “This is your career and it’s a big deal,” says Tiffany. “If you have the perspective of what it’s like to work here, you have a sense of if that’s the right fit for you. You spend a lot of time with the people that you work with, so you want it to be a good fit – it’s important.”