As a young boy growing up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Nicolas Reyes loved to hear the hum of the fighter jets from the nearby Tinker Air Force Base.
Nicolas — a junior studying electrical engineering in Wichita State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering — has always wanted to work in the aviation industry. He finally got his chance this past summer when he completed a virtual internship with Lockheed Martin. While there, Nicolas worked on the F-35 Lightning II for their location in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nicolas was the only intern on a team of 10 mentors. He was responsible for checking and setting requirements for the companies Lockheed outsources their aircraft parts from. He also gave presentations about these requirements to his mentors and supervisors.
He says his background as a WSU electrical engineering student proved beneficial when applying his skills at Lockheed.
“Knowing the terminology ahead of time really helped me,” Nicolas said. “If I was going in without taking these classes before I probably wouldn’t have known what they were talking about.”
Because of his lifelong interest in aviation, Nicolas’ favorite part was taking his first step toward his future career in the aircraft industry and gaining real-world experience as an engineer. Nicolas has already been offered a position as an intern in summer 2022.
“For anybody that’s unsure about an internship, I would say they should definitely do it...It’ll clear up any uncertainties you might have about your major.” — Nicolas Reyes
Nicolas said his involvement with WSU’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers helped him prepare to get this position at Lockheed. The student organization aims to empower the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) awareness, access, support and development. Nicolas was previously the president of the group.
“They prepare you a lot by talking to other students who have already been through this sort of thing, and they gave me a lot of advice,” said Nicolas.
Through his membership with that group, Nicolas also had found out about a spring 2021 internship with Toyota, another job that has been a valuable learning experience as looks works toward his career.
At Toyota, he worked on software engineering intern with the Integrated Vehicle Systems team.
Nicolas says both his internships have helped him work on projects with other people, which will be beneficial when he is a junior and senior as he’ll be working on more group projects.
His time with Toyota and Lockheed have been invaluable, and he encourages other students to seek out applied learning opportunities.
“For anybody that’s unsure about an internship, I would say they should definitely do it,” Nicolas said. “It’ll clear up any uncertainties you might have about your major.”