Danielle Stephenson

This past summer (2005), I worked with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. I stayed there for 8 weeks. I worked as a Product Development Engineer in the Electronics Center. My job was to model various missile programs in order to predict the cost, and quality of the programs before they go into prototype and final production. Some of the missile programs that I worked with included: Thor, EKV, SM-2, SM-3, and Javelin. Overall, it was a great experience. I loved the location and I loved the work that I was doing. I had the opportunity to hear Sally Ride, the first woman in space, speak at an assembly and I have her autograph. I had the opportunity to meet very important people within the company as well. Lastly, I received a job offer from them once I graduate with my Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. The offer including a starting base salary of $61,000. I will definitely consider working there in the future.

This paper was written by Danielle Stephenson, a Higher Education Scholarship Receipient of YES. This work was done during her summer internship of 2004.

Danielle Stephenson
Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland Baltimore County

Final Report for
Product Support Division
Dealer Capability Department
Repair Process Engineering

Supervisor: Timothy J. Ritchie

When I first arrived here at Caterpillar, objectives for my job assignment included creating five thermal spray applications, creating and revising two Drive Train and Engine Reuse and Salvage Guidelines, and creating a Five-Star Certification. This assignment was given to me the first week that I was here. I was told which computer applications I would need access to and other resource information that I could use. In order to complete the assignment, I was responsible for searching for engineering information to obtain drawings and dimensions, working with a staff of engineers to ensure that the information was correct and complete, and reviewing previous guidelines on similar topics.

This summer, however, I did not get the opportunity to work on the thermal spray applications or the Five-Star Certification. I did get to work on twice as many Engine Reuse and Salvage Guidelines, which was good experience. From creating and revising the guidelines, I improved my technical writing skills. I had not previously taken a class in technical writing, but this experience has been good preparation and practice for when I do take the class next semester. In addition, this assignment helped me work on my communication skills. If I did not understand something, I would have to talk to the technicians and other co-workers in my section. In talking with other co-workers, I learned a lot about Caterpillar equipment and about the different components within the vehicle.

I really enjoyed interacting with other engineers because it gave me a good idea of what I would be doing when I get to that point. Everyone was very supportive and usually there when I needed help. I really appreciated the “open-door” policy that all of the workers had. However, I did wish that I had a long-term project to work on during my internship. Instead of having a few big projects, I had a lot of smaller projects. In talking with some other interns, some people had big projects that they had worked on and others had the smaller projects. I think that having a long-term assignments makes you feel more accomplished because you can look at what you have done and learn from any mistakes in the process.

One of my assignments involved coming up with a procedure for installing a thread repair insert for one of the guidelines. After gathering the photos that were available for the guideline, I decided that some more pictures of technicians installing the part would be helpful. One of the new pictures included my hand, which I was holding a drill bit. That particular guideline is in the process of being published.

I have truly enjoyed my experience here at Caterpillar and will remember it as I continue to pursue my career in the engineering field. I will never forget the people that I have befriended or the support that I have received from the program and the company. I truly appreciate this opportunity.