ISU students participate in interesting summer jobs

Kendra Alley

Make your summer an unforgettable one by finding a job that interests you. Find something you are going to love doing rather than waste a summer being miserable cleaning pools or working at a concession stand selling hot dogs in the hot summer sun. ISU students have found amazing jobs easily through career fairs and online research.

Houston Zoo:

Danielle Axline, senior in animal ecology, spent last summer in Houston, Texas, working with lions, tigers, and bears.

“A big part of working in a zoo is providing different daily enrichments to simulate the natural environment. My absolute favorite enrichment was painting. We would put water-based paint all over the floor in the holdings and they would play in it and roll around in it,” Axline said.

The Houston Zoo has a lot of different wildlife conservations from places such as Africa, Asia, North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is important to stimulate their senses and make them feel as if they are in their natural habitat.

“The craziest thing that happened was when I was washing the windows on the inside of the tiger exhibit,” Axline said. “I didn’t realize the electric fence — that was there to keep the tigers in — was so close and I touched it with my arm and it shocked through my entire body and threw me on the ground. I have a scar on my arm from where it just barely touched me.”

Axline was also given the chance to come up with a way to raise money for cheetah conservation in Botswana, Africa. In Botswana Cheetahs are being killed because they are eating farmers’ livestock. This donation will provide anatolian shepard dogs to these farmers and provide non-lethal form of protection for their livestock. Axline was able to raise about $1,000 in an afternoon by making an informational display where people could donate.

The internship was offered through Exxon Mobile Community Summer Jobs Program. The company offers positions in 12 different states around the U.S. within 60 different organizations that are hiring.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life. Being less than two feet from a Malaysian Tiger and hearing a roar reverberate in your chest was one of the most awe inspiring and most fearful moments of my life,” Axline said.

You can check out the internships offered by Exxon Mobile Community Summer Jobs Program here, or donate to the cheetah conservation here.

Rockwell Collins:

DJ Soults, junior in aerospace engineering and French, found his co-op at Rockwell Collins at the Fall 2010 Engineering Career Fair. Rockwell Collins is an international avionics company for both government and commercial systems markets.

“For this position, most engineering majors would be acceptable, and it is desirable if they have some aviation knowledge. Leadership and participation in student organizations is always a plus,” Soults said.

“I work on a systems engineering team for the development of a Japanese regional jet,” Soults said. “I generally work with coordinating the requirements of the customer, Rockwell Collins and the FAA in order to ensure that the avionics system in the aircraft does what’s needed.”

Soutls favorite part about working at Rockwell Collins is participating in rig testing.

“It’s like flying an aircraft in a simulator, but there are certain test procedures that have to be run in order to make sure that the system is working properly,” Soults said.

Sometimes the simulator is the closest you can get to the aircraft since a lot of the testing is done before production.

“I tend to work more behind-the-scenes. As the aircraft that I’m working on isn’t in production,” Soults said.

College of Engineering:

It is never too early to find something interesting to do for a job. Tyler Bell, freshman majoring in computer science, works for the College of Engineering, working with a team creating apps for iPods and iPads.

“I love my job with the College of Engineering. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of influential people from within the college and work with a group of great people,” Bell said. “Making useful, practical applications and seeing the project out from start to finish is something that I want to do in my career after [Iowa State]. This is a perfect head start.”

“I’d have to say the coolest app that I’ve worked on would be the one that I am working on now,” Bell said. “It’s an unnamed app, which has many features that will be very useful to any [ISU] student here on campus. Even in just testing the app, I’ve found that I use the features almost every day.”

Bell couldn’t disclose many details about the app since it is still in production.

Bell easily found the job with the College of Engineering. Bell followed the college on his Twitter account and the college followed him so he was able to network and find out about the job being offered.

“Anybody can learn how to create applications, and there are amazing online tutorials to help get you started,” Bell said.

Keep an open mind when looking for a summer job and go above and beyond. Begin networking to find a summer job that will give you experience and keep you excited to go to work everyday.