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Intern Spotlight: Patrick Watrobski

illustration of an Intern working on the computer
SOCHE Intern Spotlight

Where did you intern, and what were you doing for your internship?
I interned at MTD Products in Valley City, Ohio, in the testing department. MTD makes outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers, snowblowers, tractors, string trimmers, chainsaws, blowers, etc. I tested a wide range of parts that go on every product MTD produces, including up-and-coming products. I saw various components and systems rather than working on one aspect for four months during my internship. 

How did your internship help you reach your career goals?
My career goals are to graduate and get a job. “Get a job” is a vague aspiration, so my internships help me determine my specific goals. Internships provide me with practice to discover that I enjoy working hands-on doing testing in a lab. 

After your internship, did you stay working in Ohio?
I’m back in school, actively looking for another internship. I’ll be staying in Ohio for this rotation, but next summer, I plan to go out of state and explore.

Tell me a little bit about what you learned throughout the course of the internship.
The biggest thing I learned was that the workplace is not intimidating. Everyone I came across was helpful and always willing to help. Coworkers would take the time to explain the answers to my questions thoroughly so that I could understand. I learned to write things down and keep a running note on my computer or phone. Every three weeks, I made a new section and included the tests I ran, names of people I met with phone numbers, lessons I learned, and even some jokes and things I found funny.

Tell me about how Ohio University helped you find your internship.
Ohio University helped me get in contact with companies through job fairs. My internship did not come through these fairs, but attending was very beneficial for me. The mini-interviews helped prepare me for the questions during the interview for my internship at MTD Products. Even if students don’t end up with a job from one of these fairs, most companies return annually, offering multiple chances to build relationships and submit their resumes. 

Why do you think it helps to learn on the job?
I saw how the math I’ve learned works in practical situations. I also learned a lot about topics I had yet to cover in my classes, making my lessons significantly easier to digest. I had already seen the topics in action, and it’s genuinely gratifying when these “aha moments” happen. 

What accomplishments did you make during your internship?
I identified a flaw in a plastic mold on the production line that was causing parts to crack upon minor impacts. I also completed more tests in a rotation than any other intern before me. My biggest accomplishment was when I realized that the grueling in-class work is worth it for the fun career ahead of me.

The Intern Spotlight Series are interviews conducted with current and past SOCHE Interns and interns from SOCHE member institutions, discussing the value of their on-the-job experience at their internship.
If you are interested in hiring an intern, contact Patty Buddelmeyer at patty.buddelmeyer@soche.org or (937) 258-8890.
If you are interested in applying for a SOCHE Internship, go to www.socheintern.org.

Councils & Committees

SOCHE is dedicated to advancing higher education through active collaboration, resource and knowledge building, and effective professional development programs. To accomplish this, SOCHE administers 16 active Councils and Committees. The purpose of a SOCHE Council or Committee is to provide an opportunity for representatives from higher education to be a resource for one another, share information and best practices, identify common challenges, and, ultimately, broaden awareness of the resources, services, and activities in higher education. SOCHE is also dependent upon the Councils and Committees for substantial input on annual professional development programs.

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