Megan Folken was a Quality Assurance Intern at Hollister, Inc. in Kirksville, MO. She was intern there in the summer of 2015 and continued part time in the following school year and again full time in the spring of 2016.
How did you get your internship?
I received a math department-wide e-mail telling students about the internship opportunity. I e-mailed someone at Hollister, Inc. directly and had an interview set-up soon after. When I interviewed for the position they wanted to know if I had any experience in technical report writing and what statistics classes I’d taken. I brought examples of write-ups I had done from some of my chemistry classes and a math bio class. This wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, but if you have examples of statistical studies you’ve worked on (e.g. if you work in CASE) that would be good to bring. It didn’t end up being too important that I had the exact technical writing experience they were requesting, as you learn what you need to know in the internship. Researching the quality field before going into an interview is helpful.
What sorts of things did you do during your internship?
As an intern, I primarily wrote product quality testing studies (called protocols) and evaluations. Initially, these were written with a lot of feedback and instruction from one of the Quality Engineers. The evaluation reports require some statistical analysis (mostly confidence intervals and hypothesis testing), so it’s best if you’ve taken an introductory statistics class before the internship.
I also designed and coordinated measurement system studies (Gage R&R) to measure system variation and ensure the measurement systems we were using for product studies were acceptable.
Occasionally, I did more routine tasks like pulling out parts/materials with visual defects, assembling parts to be used in a product study, or using the lab measurement system to gather dimensional data for parts.
I set up a calibration database in Excel to display calibration trends for measurement tools in the QA lab. I reworked a machine and device database in Excel to output sampling procedures for machine operators.
How did you benefit from the internship?
My internship gave me exposure to applications of statistics in business. I also gained technical writing experience. My supervisor was invested in teaching me about the quality field and provided many opportunities and resources to help me learn. My skills in Excel, technical writing, and statistical analysis improved. I learned to use Statistica software and gained practical experience in the Quality Assurance field. Because I spent a full year at this internship, my supervisor and manager allowed me to work on a research project at the end of my internship on risk-based sampling systems that interested me. Overall, I’d recommend this internship, as you receive focused mentorship since you are at a smaller office.