Career and Technical Education (CTE) of St. Johns County

Summer Internship Leads to Job for Stellar Academy of Engineering Student

Can a summer internship set a student up for future success in the industry they’re pursuing? Absolutely! Just ask Garrett Queener, Stellar Academy of Engineering graduate, class of 2018.  Garrett shared his thoughts on summer internships:

What made you pursue an internship as a Junior in the Academy?

I originally pursued an internship through the Stellar Engineering Academy because I thought it would be great to include on a college application. I really felt like I needed something that would stand out in the application process because I did not have the most outstanding GPA or Test Scores. I felt that if someone could give me an opportunity to showcase my work ethic it would be of benefit, which it was!

What did you enjoy about your internship?

I really enjoyed getting an opportunity to start from scratch and learn about an industry from the ground up. No employer is going to expect a Junior in High School to know everything there is to know about engineering, and having the opportunity to learn from professionals in a real world scenario was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had a chance to engage in.

How did you end up becoming employed with Gulfstream Design Group?

I was very fortunate to be in the first group of Interns that was selected to work at Gulfstream. I was originally sold on the fact I wanted the Stellar internship, and when I was not selected, that was a crushing feeling. I was offered the internship at Gulfstream the following week, and completed my internship in about 3 or 4 weeks. After the 120 hours was up, Mr. Lahti was kind enough to offer me a part-time position where I could continue to grow and learn about Civil Engineering.

 What are you currently studying at UNF and when are you scheduled to graduate?

I am currently studying Civil Engineering at the University of North Florida, and am scheduled to graduate in spring of 2022.

How many hours per week do you work at Gulfstream?  How do you balance school and work?

Typically I work anywhere from 20-30 hours during the week at Gulfstream during the semester. Balancing school and work has been challenging; however, I firmly believe they go hand in hand. I am able to take experiences from Gulfstream and project them to academic life, in situations like group work, time management, and basic industry knowledge. I am also able to take material I am learning in the class room and apply that my professional life. I still remarkably have decent chunks of free time and have time for things that are sometimes more fun than school or work!

Do you plan on pursuing a full-time job with Gulfstream upon graduation? Or, do you plan on looking elsewhere?

I am always open to the opportunity of a new challenge and path, but as of now I am fully committed to Gulfstream and its growth.

What advice do you have for current Juniors in the Academy considering an internship?

When I left Nease I had a 3.1 weighted GPA, and 1190 on my SAT, and a 25 on my ACT, not super impressive. I was not the ideal college candidate, but I knew that I just needed a couple good opportunities to show my confidence in myself, and work ethic. You never know who you will end up working with or for, the relationships you will build (yes even as an intern for a couple weeks) will benefit you for years to come. My internship experience happened to help me select the college that was right for me, and offered me an incredible working experience while at school. I have found a way to succeed and perform well in my engineering courses after barely passing Pre-Calc at Nease…it is possible! An internship is the best step you can take towards maturity and creating a more well-rounded version of yourself. Do yourself a favor, the worst thing that can happen is that you find out one thing that you don’t want to do with your life, and you add something to your resume.

Many thanks to Garrett for taking time to share his thoughts and advice with us!