ABBOTT INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE: GIVING COLLEGE STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO KICK START THEIR CAREER

Luann Raposo, Sarah Engemann and Ian Graham share how their internships at Abbott provided them with real-world experience and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact not only at the company, but on people's lives.

Interview Prep

Nov 4 2019

More than 'just an intern'

Sarah Engemann, an IT intern with the nutrition business, says that she particularly appreciated how company interns are treated like full-time employees.

"We were invited to participate in discussions, given project assignments and conducted meetings. I presented my projects to upper management and was given multiple assignments, much the same as a permanent employee.” Says Engemann.

One of Engemann’s projects was to improve the lead time and increase production efficiencies in the nutrition team. Once implemented it would have direct impact on the company performance and consumer buying experience.

"I saw how much my work helped my team, which, in turn, helped the business and the end consumer," she says.

Her direct managers in supply chain and logistics helped her to gain confidence in her technical skills and professionalism. They had an open-door policy that encouraged me to ask questions any raise concerns.

"We had a strong relationship and they were excellent roles for me as a young female just starting my career. They were working mothers in a field that was often mostly males.”

Human side of atrial science

Luann Raposo, was an R&D engineer intern in the structural heart business. She saw firsthand how her academic knowledge applied to the real world. She worked on an early stage project for a future generation of the amplatzer septal occluder (ASO), a device that treats structural heart disease.

"I used my research, clinical data and other resources to actually create new anatomical models that will be used to evaluate new device prototypes," she says. Raposo helped research, modify and make the molds for a simulated use testing of ASO and patent foramen ovale (PFO) devices to create a more anatomically correct model. PFO is a type of congenital heart defect that causes a hole in the wall of tissue that separates the left and right atria of the heart.

"My experience in manufacturing specifically opened my eyes to the human factor of not only our products, but also our processes. Working on medical devices helped me to understand the dynamics of creating the heart valve in a team environment."

"I realized how important it is to consider our operators and the impact that engineers can have on others' daily work when I was tasked to redesign an equipment fixture," she says.

Data farming for plant productivity

Ian Graham, interned with the global purchasing services team. He says his internship provided him with professional confidence to apply his knowledge and learn through real world experience. Last year, when he worked as an intern at the nutrition plant in Columbus, Ohio, he learned to use PowerBI, a data visualization software that he had not worked with before. He broke the project down into specific tasks for each week and worked with his manager and other teams to learn how to develop an effective model.

"By the end of my internship, I designed templates to improve scheduling efficiencies and to increase yearly production in the plant," he says. "This helped me to complete the project that increased the plant's yearly capacity by 3 million bottles."

Graham learned software tools, such as QlikView, and sharpened his skills with Excel and PowerPoint. He plans to share what he's learned with other supply chain majors when he returns to school.

One of the most important aspects of his internship has been the ability to apply classroom theories to real-world experiences, Graham says.

"There were many classroom discussions of the importance of working well within teams, and that is something I experienced personally," he says. "I saw firsthand where teamwork has made the difference in helping all of us on the team contribute."

Workforce-ready young professionals

When young professionals enter Abbott's internship program, they are gaining more than just experience and a paycheck. They are able to work at a company that shares their principles for helping others and gain a sense of purpose and community that lasts long after the program ends.

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