High Tech with a Human Touch
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Intern with the San Diego County RAA and Southwest Airlines
Major/Minor: Aviation Management
Employers: Southwest Airlines & San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Location: Dallas, TX & San Diego, CA
Duration: Summer 2011 & May-Dec 2012
Graduated: May 2012
Southwest: I found out about the internship position through checking the employment website. I had applied to the Southwest Internship for a few summers without being able to secure an interview. I saw the postings for the Fall 2011 internships and I applied for a handful that sparked my interest. Finally I was able to get a phone interview, then an in-person interview, and finally I was hired.
The experience was great and I was able to learn so much about the company and the department I worked in. I have had experience with Southwest Airlines by flying with them but being able to see their corporate culture first hand gave me an even greater appreciation for the business. I gained insight into how they are able to motivate their employees and see the passion employees have for their positions.
My internship was in the Ground Operations Emergency Programs Department. The team focused on station emergency preparedness. I had no experience with emergency plans or preparedness prior to my internship. I had to quickly learn about the Southwest’s emergency plans and how my team fit into the emergency response structure. Through my internship I worked with stations all around the country as well as the Caribbean and Mexico. The merger with AirTran Airways was in full effect while I was interning, so much of my work was preparing for the new Station Emergency Plan rollout and transition for the AirTran stations. It was challenging work, but I gained great insight into a different department and a unique company.
San Diego: I learned about the internship program through my friend who completed the internship the prior summer. I applied as soon as they were posted, which worked out well because the postings attracted so many applicants that they were taken off line quickly.
I had my first Skype Interview experience while interviewing with San Diego. After the Skype interview I was extended an offer for a summer internship. I started in late May after graduation.
During my internship I hit the ground running, quickly beginning passenger and baggage time surveys and working with consultants to finish terminal assessments. Throughout the summer, I worked on various projects that helped me interact with multiple departments throughout the Authority as well as seeing many different areas of the airport and being exposed to different situations. Through my hard work I was able to secure an internship extension until Dec. 2012. This has allowed me to work on even more projects, bringing me into working with the community, and learning about how politics can play into decisions made at the airport.
During this internship I have learned about the unique issues at the San Diego airport, and the politics throughout the community and the Authority. In addition, I have had multiple opportunities to network and build relationships with consultants that I have been working with throughout the summer.