Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

Boeing opens its doors to aspiring student engineers

Starting June 19, 65 high school students from schools across Southern California were invited to participate in Boeing’s Engineering High School Summer Internship program. Each student paired up with a Boeing employee, who would act as their mentor exposing the student to opportunities in the aerospace industry.

Boeing offered high school internships to thirteen schools: California Academy of Math & Science, Da Vinci Science, Don Bosco Tech, El Segundo, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Hawthorne, Mira Costa, Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Port of Los Angeles (POLA), Redondo Union, South Torrance and Windward.

Throughout the eight week program, the interns engaged in various projects ranging from conducting experiments in a chemistry lab to working on Boeing satellites. With the number of STEM jobs expected to grow to nine million by 2020, it is imperative that private companies encourage the next generation of students to pursue careers in engineering.

During his internship, Atticus Lin of Windward High School tested the efficiency of satellite frequency filters. Before running off to the filters lab, Atticus stated that his experience at Boeing “exceeded expectations.”

“I’ve met kids from different schools, formed strong relationships with my mentors, and really grown as a professional,” Lin said.

“I was the only girl who applied to this internship from my school,” explained Alexis Joo from Palos Verdes High School. Joo spent her summer working on satellite data processing chips; however, her experience went beyond circuit boards and wires. “Working at Boeing showed me it doesn’t matter what gender you are, rather what knowledge you possess.”

This year, Boeing did an excellent job exposing interns to different aspects of the aerospace industry. The company organized several training sessions and events for the interns to enjoy such as a one-on-one meeting with NASA astronaut Ricky Arnolds, a hands-on spacecraft composites workshop, and an interactive career panel with Boeing employees.

For Monica Negrete of California Academy of Math & Science, the sessions significantly elevated her interest in the engineering field.

“I really enjoyed the 3D print lab tour because I got to learn about the up and coming 3D advancements,” Negrete said. “It was so cool to see what our future may hold with this new technology.”

Project management specialist Patricia Sandoval piloted Boeing’s El Segundo high school internship program in 2011 and has coordinated the program for five years. What started as an internship for eight students, has now grown to 65.

“I really believe in this program,” said Sandoval. “It’s the best thing the company’s done.” Boeing invests in students’ futures by providing essential skills and fundamental values through this internship.  “As Boeing employees, we get to learn what the young mind is thinking and show [the interns] what it’s like to be in our world. We are educating them through our company.”

Boeing has affected students’ lives through this internship, with many interns hoping to return to the company in the future.

“My perception of the workplace has completely changed,” explains Christian Apanecatl from Don Bosco Tech. “I am excited to later on be able to play a bigger part in this growing company as a future employee.”