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Jenn Lemmon
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Taking a Cue from Oprah and Spielberg with an Internship to Kick Off a Career

Hi everyone,

I always encourage young people to do internships while they are in school because it can have such a great influence on their careers. It can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Many of the nation’s leaders began as interns in their chosen field. Mary Barra was a student intern at an automotive factory and 30 years later became CEO of General Motors. Oprah Winfrey interned at a local television station and now is a media mogul and television star. Steven Spielberg got invited to do a little work at Universal Studios as a teen-ager and became an Oscar-winning filmmaker.

So when I hear about our latest slate of interns in the ATO, I am excited about the possibilities for both them and for us. We benefit from their fresh thinking, cutting-edge skills and enthusiasm, and because many of our interns might return to us as full-time employees. The interns benefit by learning new skills, validating their choice of studies and getting insight into how their coursework will apply in a workplace.

I was glad to hear that many of our ATO interns this summer say this has been a valuable learning experience for them and they would consider a career in the ATO. They are excited about the FAA’s mission and have toured air traffic facilities to learn more about our national airspace.

Oluwatobi Dedeke, an electrical engineering senior at Morgan State University, says he’s using his database management skills on a project related to ADS-B antennas for the Program Management Organization (PMO).

Elizabeth Healy, a computer science sophomore at Cornell University, says she’s learning a lot about cybersecurity while working with our Technical Operations team.

Marquis Fourth, a business administration major at Frostburg State University, is a legacy intern – his brother interned here several years ago and his mom works at the FAA as well. While he’s working on sharepoint tools in ATO Safety and Technical Training, he says he’s also learning a lot about how business meetings are conducted and how the airspace is kept safe. 

Sydney Pavelik, an electrical engineering student at the University of Maryland-College Park, says her experience as the treasurer of a college sports team has helped in her work for the PMO’s business management team.

Mohamed Jaafar, a computer science student at California State University, Fullerton, said he’s learning about the FAA while interning in Tech Ops, and also enjoying an intern cohort project researching “gamification” and how it impacts academics and work.

Joshua Vincent, a third year electrical engineering major at Kennesaw State University, says he is learning a lot about management in Air Traffic Services and how his day-to-day tasks are benefiting the operation.

We hope that these students and our other interns working throughout the ATO will be part of our path to the future. I hope you will take the time to welcome them and share the exciting opportunities we have at the FAA.  

Thanks everyone!


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