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Co-ops and Internships

Beam Suntory

Ashlee Edmonson, Biosystems Engineering

What was involved/what was your role during your internship or co-op?
Project Engineer Intern

What was one of your favorite parts about completing this internship or co-op?
My favorite part of the internship was the real-world engineering experience it granted. I walked into the internship with minimal knowledge on distillation. After completing a mass/energy balance of Jim Beam's entire distillery, speaking with multiple contractors, working alongside PEs, and troubleshooting issues as they occurred, I gained valuable insight into the day-to-day of a project engineer. I also loved the field trips Jim Beam took interns on! We did a day of sensory training, toured Maker's Mark, and Beam's Frankfort plant. The free bourbon was also a huge plus!

How have you benefited from participating in this internship or co-op?
Completing this internship has allowed me to make valuable connections with my co-workers. The head project engineer of Jim Beam wrote my recommendation for graduate school. I was also able to see direct parallels between what I had been learning in Biosystems Engineering courses and real engineering problems.

What specific skills (technical or professional) did you learn or develop during your internship or co-op? 
Professionally, I now understand the vitality of clear communication. Several times, I had to present my projects to professionals outside of the engineering field, so I needed to tailor my explanations to be concise and easy-to-understand. I was also able to grow my professional network. I immensely grew my technical skills. I learned all about mass/energy balances, measuring BOD in wastewater, heat exchangers, sizing processes for specific valves, and the list goes on.

Why would you recommend internships or co-ops to other students?
I would highly recommend internships or co-ops to other students. It is a completely different experience than a classroom setting. You will be challenged to use the base knowledge gained in school for real-world applications. It is also a great experience to gauge what kind of engineering you like to do. Not to mention how fun these experiences can be! I became great friends with some of my fellow interns.