Learning While Doing: Engineering Grad Interns While Earning a Degree


Charlie Feigenoff | UVA Today


While studying toward his engineering degree, Aaron Holowaychuk interned at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. He will spend the next three months working for CCAM partner Rolls Royce.
(Photo: Tom Cogill)

Most college graduates are lucky to be able to include six months of internships, cobbled together over several summers, on their resumes. Not Aaron Holowaychuk.

Holowaychuk is a student in Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia, the online bachelor’s degree program in engineering science offered by the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science for graduates of the Virginia Community College System. Because of the program’s flexibility, Holowaychuk was able to spend more than 18 consecutive months interning at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. After graduation, he will spend another three months at Rolls-Royce, one of the center’s founding partners.

“As a PRODUCED student, you have the opportunity while you’re going to school to accumulate extensive real-world experience,” he said. “It’s one of the advantages of the program.”

Holowaychuk’s internship at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing’s 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research facility in Prince George County provided him with a particularly rich set of experiences. The center is a research-based collaboration between the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and manufacturing companies worldwide. Its focus is surface engineering and manufacturing systems.

“At CCAM, I created [computer-aided design] drawings and conducted microscopic evaluations of thermal barrier coatings,” Holowaychuk said. He also became the center’s resident authority on Microsoft SharePoint, a program that enables organizations to store, share and collaborate on files. Equally important, he built a network of contacts with engineers at the center and its member companies. more

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