When Austin Smith started his Lockheed Martin internship his senior year in 2014 at Martin High School, the hope was that it would lead to a full-time job.
“That was kind of the dream of mine,” said Smith, who will start his senior year at UT-Arlington next month as he nears his degree in mechanical engineering. “Fortunately, it’s turned out that way. When we started, there was talk that this would be a reality. To see that it is, it was a huge payoff.”
The dream came to fruition Monday as Smith and three other former AISD students from the inaugural Lockheed Martin internship program each received job offers at the company’s High School Intern Signing Day.
Smith, Amy Hughes, Benson Phillips and Abdallah Shishani each plan to accept the offers that were officially extended Monday. Their offers culminated a day in which 18 AISD students were part of the 47 new interns who signed up for the program along with students from Fort Worth, Crowley and Keller. View pictures from the Lockheed Martin Intern Signing Day here.
The internship program began with five AISD students from the Project Lead the Way program in 2014-2015, and the foursome will start their jobs after they graduate from college next May. Lockheed Martin’s goal with the program is that every successful high school intern continues as a college intern and joins Lockheed Martin upon graduation. That’s exactly what the four who received offers did. They started their internships their senior year, spending that year working at Lockheed Martin in addition to their regular classes and following that with internships in college.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our former, current and future students,” AISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said. “Our goal is to have 100 percent of our students graduate exceptionally prepared for college, career and citizenship and this program helps us toward that goal with the hands-on work that it provides.”
Now the former AISD students can enjoy their senior year of college without worrying what awaits them after graduation.
“It takes a lot of pressure off the whole process,” said Shishani, who went to Seguin High School and is also a mechanical engineering major at UTA. “You can focus more on getting an education and learning. You know you’re way ahead of your peers because you have that intern experience and you don’t have to worry about getting a job.”
Hughes, a computer engineering major at Texas A&M and an Arlington High graduate, fell in love with the Lockheed Martin environment during her senior year internship.
“I learned then that I liked the work and professional environment more than the high school environment,” Hughes said. “When they told us what the plan was when we were in high school I was too young to realize the impact. As I’ve gone through it, I started to realize what a great opportunity this was.”
For Phillips, who is a mechanical engineering major at UTA and went to Arlington, the transition to a full-time employee will be an easy one. In addition to his internship, he’s been a contractor at Lockheed Martin throughout college.
But knowing that Monday was a culmination of a program that started for these four when they were in eighth grade is special.
“It’s just exciting, and it’s a cool way to go through this and complete it,” he said. “From a high school intern to a college intern to getting to become a full-time employee, it’s great.”