Carnegie Mellon University

panel room

November 03, 2023

Navigating Internship Experiences and Academic Success

By Pratiksha Ganesan

On October 13, the Energy Science, Technology & Policy (EST&P) department hosted its annual internship panel at the Research Accelerator Space in Scott Hall. This event is a fundamental component of the Applied Advanced Study program of EST&P, specifically as part of the course 39662-A: Communication of EST&P Internship Experience. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the exchange of insights from students who have completed internships with the incoming cohort. The aim is to assist new students in their internship search, academic coursework selection, transitioning into a professional environment, and addressing any queries they may have on these topics.

The session commenced with a warm introduction from Professor Paul Salvador, the Director of EST&P. He set the stage for the panel discussions, emphasizing their significance and relevance. The session was structured into three distinct panels: Search and Acquisition, Technical Integration, and Professional/Personal Integration.

The Search and Acquisition panel was expertly led by students Malvika Agarwal, Pratiksha Ganesan, and Arushi Parihar. They underscored the pivotal role of networking with alumni and the valuable insights gained from the Career and Professional Development for Engineering Masters course in securing successful internships. Arushi's unique experience of securing an internship in a single semester, starting in the spring, added a compelling perspective to the discussion.

The Technical Integration panel featured students Sriram Sankar Hari and Jai Shekar, who shared their strategies for selecting coursework and how it significantly contributed to their internship experiences. This panel underscored the academic aspects of internships, emphasizing the importance of aligning coursework with career goals to acquire practical skills and knowledge.

The final panel, Professional/Personal Integration, was presented by Pattamon Lekmanee and Swaraj Degaonkar. These students stood out as they completed in-person internships, offering unique insights into professional and personal integration. They shared experiences of working in dynamic in-person teams and the significance of building connections, both within and outside the workplace. Pang's remarkable anecdote about biking four hours daily with the company CEO illustrated the personal connections that can be established through internships.

Each panel allowed ample time for questions, encouraging the new cohort to engage in deeper discussions on specific topics. This interactive approach created an environment conducive to meaningful knowledge sharing. Following the panel discussions, the event concluded with lunch and informal discussions between the incoming cohort and the panelists. This setting offered a more personalized opportunity for new students to seek advice and guidance tailored to their individual circumstances. Fares Kammourieh commented “The internship panel was a very fruitful session for all program newcomers. It helped answer many of the burning questions we had, and allowed us to gain insight into some of the good practices to follow, as well as the pitfalls to avoid during the internship application process.”

The session not only highlighted the significance of networking and academic preparation but also emphasized the importance of personal and professional integration in the context of internships. The interactive nature of the panel discussions ensured that the knowledge exchange was meaningful and impactful, fostering a sense of community and support within the EST&P department.

See our summber internship story for where each student interned