Focus on the Future

BAE Systems OSI interns participate in a nationwide Internship & Co-Op Program, LEAP, and have the opportunity to Learn, Engage, Apply, and Progress within the company.
We believe that our team should always be growing, and we enable our interns to do the same, hitting the ground running with networking, hands on projects, access to senior leaders, and mentorship opportunities.
 
We see a lot of promise and progress in our interns, and we are proud to promote a culture that focuses on developing future leaders that will carry forward our values of trusted, innovative and bold, and fuel innovation to support our nation’s warfighters. Let’s meet a few interns supporting our Holston and Radford sites.
 
  • Taylor Alderson Chemical Engineering Co-op  |  University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Jake Jensen Chemical Engineering Co-op  |  University of Tennessee
 

 

Taylor Alderson, Chemical Engineering Co-op, Holston

Chemical Engineering Co-op  |  University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 
As a native of Kingsport, Tenn., Taylor Alderson grew up with the Holston Army Ammunition Plant. She’s only heard positive things from family friends and college peers about working at Holston and the plant’s impact on the surrounding community in Kingsport. So Taylor jumped at the opportunity to return home for her co-op experience, which offered her the chance to be around family and gain valuable engineering experience. We sat down with Taylor to learn more about what makes her co-op experience at Holston so special.
 
Q.)  Can you share more about your role, and your day-to-day responsibilities?
 
A.)  Depending on the day, I’ll go out in the plant and watch what’s going on, or someone will tour me around, so I understand the processes and what’s going on in different areas. Sometimes I’ll go in the control room and watch the processes on screens. The operators are all great. They are always available to answer my questions.
 
Even as an intern, I know I’m making a contribution at Holston, and I appreciate that responsibility. I’m grateful they keep me so involved. I’m often invited to different walk downs or meetings, even if I’m not technically involved in the project, giving me the opportunity to continue to learn all aspects of the plant.
 
Q.)  What gets you excited to go into work every day?
 
A.)  The people at Holston are great, and genuinely care about my education. I’m enjoying learning different processes and about the projects I’m working on. I love being able to see the connections between what I’ve learned in school to what I am doing on-site here at Holston.
 
It’s a great co-op, and I’m grateful I took it. I love my experience so far. Everyone is super nice; my mentor and manager are both great and supportive and have given me a lot of projects and room to learn. I like to conduct a lot of research and have plenty of time and opportunity to dive into research while completing my tasks for projects I’m working on.
 
Q.)  When you think about the future, what are your short- and long-term goals?

A.)  I really like leadership positions. At school, I’m on a lot of different committees. I love being able to mentor and lead, and I would like to focus on that in the future. 
At Holston, I also like how each engineer in my group has a specialty. My goal is to become a specialist in an area, but also learn other areas too.
 
Q.)  What’s something fun you like to do in your spare time?
 
A.)  I love crafts. Right now, I’m passionate about knitting and making jewelry. I also have three cats at home. I made my office all cat-themed at work. I have cats everywhere and have outlined my desk and shelves in cat washi tape.
 
Q.)  Can you describe your co-op experience in one word?
 
A.)  Exciting.
 

 

Jake Jensen, Chemical Engineering Co-op, Holston

Chemical Engineering Co-op  |  University of Tennessee

 
Jake Jenson often finds himself in awe of the sheer scale of the Holston Army Ammunition Plant. As a chemical engineering major and intern at Holston, Jake prizes the invaluable real-world experience of internships, something he was seeking when applying for college. Whether he’s completing his projects onsite or receiving guidance from mentors, Jake takes in as much as he can learn every day. Read more about Jake, his co-op experience and discovering the beauty of East Tennessee.

Q.)  Can you share more about your role and day-to-day responsibilities?

A.)  Right now, my main project is setting up meters for water, air and electricity across the site   measuring how much each building is using and coordinating with contractors to install the meters. I’ve only worked on one or two projects so far and I’ve been amazed at the scale of everything here and just how large everything is.

With engineering, it’s difficult to get into the industry without quality work experience. I applied to a bunch of universities, and University of Tennessee really put an emphasis on the importance of co-ops and giving students the opportunity to gain real world experience. The co-op experience is immeasurable  – you can’t put a price tag on work experience.

Q.)  What gets you excited to go into work every day?
 
A.)  I love that I get to see the impact of what I’m doing. I had a huge list of things to do, and I’ve gotten chunks out of the way, we have contractors lined up, and we are getting closer to being sure we can complete our current project on time. I’m grateful for my mentors and the guidance and education they provide.

No day is the same at Holston, there is always something different that I get to learn. For one, I get to see things on the job and it’s not things I have access to in school. I’ve learned a lot about different pipe systems, and how you monitor different things you use down the line. Once I go back to school, I feel confident knowing I’ve gained useful knowledge. I also already have insight into things I haven’t been exposed to yet and I’m getting a head start. No amount of textbook experience can compare to a year in the field.

Q.)  When you think about the future, what are your short- and long-term goals?

A.)  I want to learn as much as I can while I’m here, finish my degree and go into a similar industry. I  definitely want to learn about the industry and how chemical engineering fits into different aspects, and this co-op was ideal.
 
Q.)  What do you like to do in your spare time?

A.)  I enjoy camping in East Tennessee. I love Kingsport and exploring the area. I’ve heard they have a hard time getting people coming to Kingsport, but once they get here, it’s hard to leave. I can see that being the case for me!
 
Q.)  Describe your internship in one word.

A.)  Invaluable.
 

 

Chas Holtzman, Process Engineer, New NC Commissioning (Radford)

Process Engineer, New NC Commissioning (Radford)  |  Virginia Tech

 

At the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Chas Holtzman’s co-op experience continues to lead to more opportunity for the Virginia Tech student. Since securing his role in Radford’s co-op program in 2019, Chas has kick-started his engineering career thanks to his managers and mentors who guide him day in and day out. Learn more about Chas, his work at Radford and his plans for the future.

Q.)  Can you share more about your role and day-to-day responsibilities? 

A.)  I started in the Summer of 2019 as a full-time co-op at Radford. During that co-op, I spent much of my time early on following around my mentor to learn as much as possible about the plant. By mid-fall, I transitioned into supporting engineering projects and more hands-on work. I was offered a part-time position in the summer of 2020 to continue on with a project. I’m excited and grateful I’ve been able to continue my work at Radford. 

Q.)  What gets you excited to go into work every day?

A.)  My co-workers are what keep me motivated to go into work every day. I’ve had great experiences with everyone I’ve met and worked with. I realized how lucky I was when some of my friends who graduated from college were having trouble getting their foot in the door or finding the right opportunity. I’m very lucky for my experience at Radford. 

The team here really rallied around me. My mentor has spent a lot of time training me, giving me tours, and providing a lot of insight and support. He made sure I was prepared and made me feel like I’m ready to perform my job. Overall, it’s a great work environment. 
 
Q.)  When you think about the future, what are your short- and long-term goals? 

A.)  Short-term, which I consider in the next five years, I plan to pursue my master’s degree in business or engineering. Radford has helped me validate my interest in chemical engineering. As far as long-term goals, I’d like to get a house in the area and get settled down here. I certainly see a future in Radford and BAE Systems. 

Q.)  What’s something fun you like to do in your spare time? 

A.)  Horseback riding. It’s a steep learning curve, and I started as a novice. But the way the collegiate system is set up, you can come in as a complete novice and have the opportunity to learn! A little bit like my experience joining the team at Radford – a steep learning curve, but the team spent a lot of time teaching me new skills.

Q.)  Describe your internship in one word. 

A.)  Teamwork. Corporate. Inclusion. That’s three words... hope that’s alright!