Now, during his junior year at SCU, JJ plans to step up his involvement with Engineers Without Borders. This fall, he will travel to Rwanda to set up a tile press to stimulate a small town's economy. As part of the Tiny House Project, he will take part in a competition to build a self-sustaining house on a trailer. 

Before the start of what sounds like a jam-packed semester, we caught up with JJ to find out what he learned during his summer at BWC.

BWC: Your interests coming in spanned from marketing to engineering and manufacturing process. Tell us about your experience at the outset of your internship learning your way around the company.

JJ: On my first day at Bishop-Wisecarver, I expected to be introduced to the people I would be working with and to be given an overview of how the company operates day to day and where I could fit into that. I was able to attend the training of another new employee, which was helpful in learning about the different online marketing tools that I would be using during my time at BWC.

Throughout my internship, I learned how important it is for different divisions of the company to communicate often and effectively. The three main parts of BWC that I saw work together were engineering, marketing and sales. After going to meetings for each of the divisions, I could see the differences in the way each operates and how they all rely on the others to be effective and continue company-wide growth. 

Another thing I learned in my time at BWC is the different types of engineers. In school, students are taught about the different types of engineering and technical information required for each focus. At BWC, I saw how one type of engineer can do so many different jobs, including product management, research and development and applications. I was also able to learn about the daily tasks of an engineer.

BWC: What were some of the takeaways for you after working in various departments and how has that helped you as a students and aspiring engineer?

JJ: Interning at Bishop-Wisecarver was important to me because of the coursework that I have been doing at school. This past year, I took a sequence in materials science and manufacturing processes that I found very interesting the product lines and business model of BWC fit what I learned in class almost exactly and I was interested in learning more about the machines they use and seeing the processes firsthand. 

A lesson that I learned at BWC that I can use at school is the interdisciplinary aspect of a business. My school requires all engineers to do a senior design project with a small group. All those projects are entered into a competition where they are evaluated. If my group is able to effectively integrate a marketing and business aspect into our project, we will earn more points and have a higher chance of winning and being noticed by the alumni and companies that attend. 

A new skill that I learned is how to do quality research for a project. In school, projects and problems that I am given have fairly clear guidelines and are well defined. However, some of the projects that I was part of at BWC were brand new and needed definition and research before they could actually be started. After having to redo some initial research for projects, I realized the importance of making sure that what I am learning about a project will be useful as it progresses and grows.

BWC: What were the best and brightest moments of your internship?

JJ: The best part of my internship at BWC was being hired through the marketing department. Being exposed to some projects in marketing gave me another perspective of engineering. After my time at BWC, I will be able to look at a project from a technical engineering standpoint and I can begin to think about how it can be marketed and sold. This skill is invaluable and will help me with every project that I take on in the future. 

I think my greatest accomplishment was updating the FAQ page for the website. This project took a lot of time and coordination to make it work. I had to read through everything that was available for a product and write questions about each one, making sure the information was not already on the main page of a product. The most challenging part of this project was learning enough about a product so that I could think of questions that would be helpful to someone considering ordering it. However, all the challenges I had during the assignment made it that much more satisfying to complete it.