Karolina Montenegro Bashore, Internship with Aerojet Rocketdyne 2017-18

May 17, 2018

Karolina Montenegro Bashore
Major: Business Administration: Option in Operations & Supply Chain Management
College & Graduation Year: College of Business & Economics (CBE), Class of 2018

What are your future career goals?

I recently received an offer from an aerospace company, and will begin soon after graduation in June 2018. The position will specialize in tactical communications systems, avionics, and space and intelligence systems. Furthermore, in the future I hope to create or organize opportunities to encourage women and minorities with entrepeneurial efforts. 

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I have been the Director of Public Relations for the Hispanic Business Society (HBS) on campus. HBS helps students succeed professionally and personally. We achieve this through community service events, self-improvement workshops that aid professional development, and through professional networking opportunities for our members. One of my favorite aspects of HBS is community service because volunteering is something very close to my heart and so is helping other students develop skills that will prepare them for their future.

I also completed the UCLA Riordan College to Career Program in the summer of 2017. It was an intensive week-long program aimed at first generation college students which included presentations by speakers from various industries and workshops to help with professional development. It was truly an enriching experience and I met so many great students from all over the nation, as well as international students.

Details of your Internship:

My title is Procurement Agent Co-op for Aerojet Rocketdyne in Chatsworth, CA. I work in Procurement, which is a department essentially in charge of purchasing parts for rocket engines for NASA. Part of my responsibilities include researching suppliers and determining if they have the capacity, proper quality rating and technical knowledge to manufacture parts for the rocket engines.

When did you begin the internship?

I began my internship on July 17, 2017 and it will be a year-long internship.

What inspired you to apply for the internship?

I have always been fascinated by aerospace. When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut and later a mechanical engineer, but I pursued business because I was always drawn to its broad applicability. This internship helps me combine the best of both worlds.

Describe an average day in your internship experience.

An average day would include sending reports to the various engineering groups that details supplier visits by Quality Inspectors. I send out requests for quotes to suppliers for specific mechanical parts or processing of raw materials. I present updates of the status of orders placed to the Procurement team to ensure lead times are being met. There are times I set up and conduct a teleconference between the supplier/manufacturer and our Quality Engineers and Mechanical Engineers to determine if a supplier meets the criteria to manufacturer parts we need or to answer technical questions about mechanical drawings and specific processes.

What was your most memorable moment during the internship?

Some of the most memorable moments during my internship have been standing within inches of giant rocket engines and visiting the plant where the design teams create models, 3D printing of rocket engine parts, and laser cut materials that they create in the lab. 

What was your greatest challenge during the internship?

The greatest challenge has been learning the plethora of acronyms used by engineers, the aerospace industry and contract management as well as learning about mechanical and chemical components – it is rocket science after all!

What tips can you give other students in your major or future applicants?

I would recommend exploring different industries and being open to trying new things. You might discover you like something that you didn’t think you had an interest in. And if you are passionate about a specific industry, make connections at school with professors, career placement services coordinators, and attend networking events to increase your chances of landing an internship where you will constantly learn. Also get involved in student organizations, they often open up opportunities to meet professionals from various industries.

How has this experience affected your career goal and ambitions?

This experience has rekindled my goals of working in the aerospace industry which I had thought was out of my reach. I plan to learn as much as I can about contract management and the procurement process. I plan to continue growing professionally within the aerospace industry. This experience has also led me to find a position which will soon begin after graduation.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

There are several fun facts about me: It has taken me nearly 8 years to complete my bachelor’s degree. I will be the first in my immediate family to earn my bachelor’s degree. As a child, I worked in the fields with my parents and siblings after school, on weekends and during summer breaks. I began working formally since the age of 14 and have worked in industries ranging from retail and financial investments to translation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and for the Department of Justice with the DEA and FBI. I used to play the saxophone, I enjoy sky diving, and I plan to get my pilot license someday.