Summer 2021 Internship Spotlight: Sam White

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Sam White standing outside in front of a rock wall at Garden of the Gods.
Sam White, a second-year master’s student in systems engineering, is spending her summer at Honda R&D in Ohio. Photo credit: Sam White

Sam White, a second-year master’s student in systems engineering, is a summer intern at Honda R&D in Ohio. She graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from CSU in 2020.

What is your responsibility as an intern at Honda R&D? 

I am responsible for the progression of my projects. When I started my internship, I was given a list of my projects and the names of people to contact about them. These people then gave me background information on the projects and told me what they want out of the projects.

The projects have been very self-led. I have been responsible for developing a schedule for each of the projects and determining how best to complete the projects. I am also responsible for the completion of the projects.

How did your research help prepare you for your internship? 

My research has helped me gain an understanding of how vehicle control systems are designed, and how vehicles can be modified and improved through their control systems. I have also learned how to create vehicle control systems, modify existing control systems, and test them.

In my research, I work very closely with other people, and those group skills have also translated well to my internship.

What classes have you taken that have prepared you for your internship?

Engineering Project and Program Management (ENGR502) has helped me plan and complete my projects.

Control Engineering for Systems Engineers (SYSE 580A)  has given me a deeper understanding of how vehicle control systems are built. This has helped me understand how modifying existing control systems will change the behavior of the system.

Foundations of Systems Engineering (SYSE 501) taught me about spiral development methods which I’ve been using as I develop software during my internship.

Have there been any parts of your internship that were unexpected or surprising?

I was surprised to find out how large of a U.S. presence Honda has. Before working here, I figured that their products were all designed and built overseas. Instead, I have found that Honda has design, testing, and manufacturing centers around the U.S.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working or taking classes?

I like to garden, cook, play bass, and visit local breweries in my free time.

Who inspires you?

My parents inspire me. They both have degrees in engineering, and I’ve been lucky enough to have their support and guidance.