An unmanned aircraft systems integration and design student at Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus will be spending his summer learning and working at one of the biggest technology manufacturers in the world.
Thanks to a career fair at the K-State Salina campus in the fall, Houston Griffitts, junior, Salina, used his networking skills and built a professional relationship with a representative from California-based General Atomics. That relationship has blossomed into an internship opportunity for Griffitts this summer with the company.
General Atomics is a defense and diversified technologies company that produces unmanned aircraft and provides drone technology such as electro-optical, radar, signals intelligence and automated airborne surveillance and power conversion systems, among other things. The business occupies over 8 million square feet of engineering, laboratory and manufacturing facilities with more than 15,000 employees. General Atomics is also one of K-State Salina's biggest industry partners.
"I met the representative from General Atomics and showed him engineering drawings that I have been working on since I was in high school," Griffitts said. "General Atomics is widely regarded as one of the premier drone technology companies and it's a company I have always wanted to work for. I think this experience will not only provide me with hands-on experience in things that I can't learn anywhere else, but also may help me get a job in this industry in the future."
The internship will be from June 6 to Aug. 12 and Griffitts will work at General Atomics' headquarters near San Diego. As a machinal engineering intern, he will use the engineering and computer engineering skills he has learned at K-State Salina.
K-State Salina annually hosts two career fairs where businesses from different industries come to campus to talk with students. Many students use the experience to build networking skills or even earn an internship or job opportunity.
"Career fairs provide students valuable experiences in learning how to network with industry professionals, as well as potentially tightening their interviewing skills," said Josh Doak, with K-State Salina Career Services and Personal Development. "We are committed to ensuring that our students are career-ready by the time they walk across the stage and receive their degrees. We view the career fairs hosted by our campus as vital to student success. The skills of networking and interviewing are lifelong and take time and dedication to constantly improve."
The campus's connections with businesses and leaders across different industries are some of the most important resources available to K-State Salina students, making experiences like Griffitts possible every year.
"Our campus continues to develop its connections and partnerships with industry every year," said Alysia Starkey, K-State Salina CEO and dean. "The Aerospace and Technology Campus mission is to train tomorrow's leaders in the classroom and provide them with hands-on experiences in almost every aspect of their academic careers. This is why our students are routinely sought after by industry and why 97% of our graduates are either in the workplace of their choosing or are continuing their education."