Recently, I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel back to my (sorta) hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio for an incredible event created and hosted by GE Aviation.
Now, for those of you who may not have the knowledge, GE Aviation was ranked as the #5 best aerospace company of 2015. Considering just how many aerospace companies there are, this is an astonishing feat. Any event that this company puts on is going to be amazing, but considering that this was an event strictly for women in engineering and related STEM careers (STEM standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), it's even more so.
To be accepted to the event, first one had to apply. This year, which is the seventh year the event has been held, the company received 392 applications in total. Due to the large number of applications, this year's event was the largest ever since it's origin, with 50 female engineers being chosen. If you're a female engineer, you can just imagine how exciting and incredible this was!
By being accepted, GE Aviation paid for the transportation to Evendale, Ohio, all lodging expenses, and even provided meals for the duration of the event. Additionally, they gave attendees a polo and jacket with the name of the event on it, a leather embossed GE journal, and personal letter of welcome signed by the incredible and extremely welcoming Lani Hall, and a GE Aviation pen. Finally, all of the girls accepted got to interview for internships and co-ops on the final day!
After everyone arrived in Cincinnati, the group was taken to a special dinner at Buca Di Beppo, an intimate and quaint Italian resturant. Not only did this give us a chance to talk to the other girls, but also to the GE employees and staff that were there that night. The evening was very welcoming and personable, which helped ease the tension of not knowing a lot of the other attendees there. I was lucky enough that my friend Abby Schulte was there, so I didn't have the awkward tension of not knowing anyone there.
The next day was a whirlwind of activity. First, the group had their photo taken next to a gorgeous GE90 engine. Then, we got to talk to the Vice President of Engineering, Gary Mercer. Next was a wonderful presentation on GE and GE Aviation, where we learned more about the company in depth. Fun fact: Did you know that GE is actually working on helping the medical field through it's MRI technology? I didn't either until this summit!
After this presentation, we were able to ask questions to current students who had co-op rotations with GE. Personally, I think that this was the turning point in the summit for me.
Yes, I have always known that GE was an amazing company. If you've lived in Dayton or Cincinnati, Ohio, this is honestly a household name. But listening to the students talk about some of the incredible opportunities they've had was so impressive. All the students spoke with a passion for the company that I hadn't heard from anyone else before. Additionally, the sense of community that you got from what the students were talking about was impressive. At other companies, you do get to know your fellow interns. However, GE has events every weekend for their interns to create a sense of community and understanding with the other college students that are there.
I mean, how cool is that?
From there, we learned about the IT part of GE, as well as how GE is becoming a digital company (if you're interested in technology at all, this is something super cool you should look up!). After lunch, we did an interview prep workshop with current GE employees and the other attendees there. Finally, our final workshop was a hilarious demonstration about practicing and perfecting your elevator speech.
Afterward, our day ended with a wonderful and comprehensive tour of the Development Assembly line and Testing Cells.
Dinner was held at Boi Na Braza, where we learned the details for the next and final day of the summit: interviews.
Now normally, interviews with such an impressive company like GE would daunting. However, based on how well the company prepared us during the mock interviews the day before and how personable the interviewers were, I can say that this was the most relaxing interview I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I felt that answering the questions was easy and that I could give the best answer possible.
Incredibly, almost every girl there who interviewed got an internship or a co-op with GE Aviation. This speaks to me for two reasons:
To the people who set up and created the event, thank you. Not only was this an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, but a fun one as well. I have sat through workshops before were all you wanted to do is fall asleep. Maybe the speaker wasn't interesting, the subject just didn't hold your attention, or you didn't want to be there. But this was a completely different experience. I was entertained, learned quite a bit from those who spoke to us, and felt that I was wanted at the summit. That by me being there I was helping their company, but their company was helping me out as well.
Women in STEM - if you are looking for a wonderful, enriching experience that will ultimately benefit not only your career, but your personality and personal life in the most beneficial of ways, then look no further. I promise you that this will be one of the most rewarding events you could apply to in your undergraduate career as a student.
This article was originally posted to The Odyssey Online. To view the original post, please click here.