Graduates: Intern, Network and Collaborate to Improve Your Job Prospects, Says Embry-Riddle Faculty Member

Overhead shot of people walking around a plaza
Dr. Ron Madler recently took part in a comprehensive faculty internship program with Honeywell Aerospace Technologies, which reinforced the importance of networking for graduating students transitioning into their careers.

Dr. Ron Madler, professor and former dean of the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recently returned from a faculty internship program with multinational tech company Honeywell Aerospace Technologies, where he learned valuable lessons about industry best practices.

As recent graduates look ahead to their careers, Madler is eager to help them reach their goals by offering wisdom that he’s accumulated over decades of working with industry partners.

Dr. Ron Madler (Photo: Embry-Riddle/Connor McShane)

What have you learned about the job market that students should know as they embark on their careers?

Engage with our career services office early and often in your college career. A lot of companies are looking for engineering talent, but you have to prepare so you are ready when an opportunity arises.

Have a resume ready and look for ways to enhance it. Internships are really the best way to get the experience you need to get a job. Being involved in student projects, undergraduate research or having some job experience is needed to get that first internship.

How important are GPAs to prospective employers?

Getting a job isn’t just about having a good GPA. Although grades are important, companies want to see experiences on your resume that give them confidence that you will be a contributor and team player. Networking and learning more about companies is helpful.

Did you work with many Embry-Riddle students and alumni during your internship?

I’ve been working with Ken Hurt, vice president of engineering at Honeywell Aerospace Technologies and an Embry-Riddle alumnus, for a number of years. Our mission in launching the faculty internship program was to enhance the relationship between our two institutions, and a key element has been the collaboration between Embry-Riddle’s Career Services offices and the recruitment team at Honeywell Aerospace Technologies. We have worked closely to increase the number of students participating in internships before transitioning into full-time employment.

During this academic year, there were 50 students from both campuses who worked with mentors from Honeywell Aerospace Technologies, most of which were former Embry-Riddle students. During my internship, there were no less than 12 Embry-Riddle alums working in my same area.

What did you do as a faculty intern, and how will those experiences inform instruction at Embry-Riddle?

My title during my faculty internship was Systems Engineer II. I worked on the Anthem program, which is the next generation of avionics, for the Senior Director of Engineering and focal for the Prescott Campus, Michael McGill. Systems engineers are involved in the writing and testing of requirements for avionics systems, defining what the avionics system does.

Working as a systems engineer gave me a much greater appreciation of everything associated with requirements. Our seniors know all about the emphasis we place on defining, testing and achieving our system requirements in Embry-Riddle’s capstone design courses.

How do faculty internships benefit Embry-Riddle students?

The internship program provides faculty with industry experience to see what early-career engineers contribute to the company after they’re hired. Seeing how the industry is solving engineering problems provides our faculty with a look at current practices and can be used as direct examples for our students in the classroom.

What job opportunities will be created for students through this program?

In addition to providing a network for recruiting top talent, faculty internships provide employers with external expert perspectives and create a faculty-industry relationship that leads to sponsored projects or consulting work for our students. Companies have a lot of things they want to work on that they just don’t have time for. Industry-sponsored research projects can give companies access to bright and creative student-faculty teams at universities like Embry-Riddle. Many of these industry collaborations have been enabled through our Undergraduate Research Institute (URI) program.

Dr. Ron Madler joined Embry-Riddle in 1994 and served as College of Engineering dean at the Prescott Campus from 2010-2023. He regularly participates in a variety of fellowships that connect him to employers and Eagle alumni within the aerospace engineering industry, and he has conducted work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, OceanIT, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and more.

Posted In: Engineering | Institutional News