Inspiring. That’s how Dylan Hernandez sums up his summer internship at the Kansas City National Security Campus.
Dylan was the first student to receive a full-ride Honeywell Opportunity for Prosperity through Education (HOPE) scholarship. The scholarship is for students who plan to pursue careers in manufacturing, IT and skilled trade – careers that are in demand at the KCNSC.
“The scholarship has opened up more opportunities for me than I dreamed possible,” said Dylan.
Dylan is also the first HOPE scholarship student to be offered a summer internship. While he is the youngest and least experienced intern this summer, that has not stopped him from contributing to the Advanced Engineering Simulations and Analysis (AESA) team.
“This was the first time our department received an intern that wasn’t an engineer,” said Danny Valenta, technical manager. “We were unsure with his experience and education level, but Dylan put a lot of effort into his work, and he’s been successful.”
Danny says the team was surprised at how quickly Dylan caught on to the work they were doing.
“My team started me off small, built me up and always made time to explain things to me,” said Dylan.
Soon, Dylan was running computer simulations on finite models and contributing to customer projects.
“We tried to bridge the gap between his experience and get him involved with work as much as possible,” said Danny. “We treated him as an engineer and had him doing the work of an engineer or an engineering tech.”
Dylan says his entire internship was eye-opening. Not only did he gain valuable industry experience, but he also developed a professional network that he plans to leverage in the future.
“I’ve set new goals in regards to standards I want to meet for myself, while taking away standards of the people I’ve met here and goals I want to achieve to be like them,” said Dylan.
Danny attributed much of Dylan’s success to his work ethic and eagerness to learn, and also the support of the AESA team.
“I really think the staff engagement with him is what helped him grow this summer. He put forth the effort, and it’s just one of those things that turned out to be a good relationship,” said Danny.
Dylan’s success is also opening up new opportunities for other HOPE scholarship students. The program has grown to include 16 students in Kansas City and two in Albuquerque. Honeywell FM&T president John Ricciardelli hopes to offer internship opportunities to some of those students next summer.
Dylan’s internship came to an end on August 10. He’s heading back to Longview Community College re-energized and with a summer full of professional experience under his belt.
“I feel inspired more than ever to keep pursuing my degree, and it renews my hope that I’m on a good path,” said Dylan.