Six UM Engineering Students Intern at BorgWarner

Placements made possible through co-operative education program

Marni Kendricks (center), assistant dean for undergraduate academics in the School of Engineering, meets with UM BorgWarner co-op interns (from left): Thomas Mathwig, Sterling Rascoe, Jacob Null, Blake Horner, Trevor Allen and John Michael McFall. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Six University of Mississippi engineering students have been full-time interns in BorgWarner Inc. facilities recently, thanks to the university’s co-operative education program.

BorgWarner is a worldwide automotive industry components and parts supplier. Based in Mississippi, the company seeks out students with the technical skills and ability to communicate well with all levels of the organization, and be energetic, polite and eager to learn.

“Ole Miss students, particularly from the Center of Manufacturing Excellence, tend to be more prepared for the daily challenges of a manufacturing facility,” said Amy Chrestman, supervisor of manufacturing engineering at BorgWarner. “They walk in our doors with some knowledge of production processes, ergonomic and safety requirements, and a continuous improvement mindset.”

“The program gives us an opportunity to evaluate a student’s technical capability as well as his work ethic, and his ability to navigate roadblocks and complete projects on time,” Chrestman said. “Likewise, the student has a chance to operate in a fast-paced, intense, high-volume automotive manufacturing environment to decide if this is a career path of interest.”

This year’s interns are Trevor Allen, of Lees Summit, Missouri; Blake Horner, of Frankfort, Illinois; Thomas Mathwig, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; John Michael McFall, of Corinth; Jacob Null, of Olive Branch; and Sterling Rascoe, of Hattiesburg.

Allen, Horner and Null are mechanical engineering majors; Mathwig and Rascoe are chemical engineering majors; and McFall is a civil engineering major.

Each student said the internship experience has been a rewarding opportunity thus far.

“I have honestly learned so much more than I could have ever imagined,” said McFall, a quality engineering co-op intern. “Whether it be actual engineering processes or how to handle yourself in a professional environment, I feel as if I have gained the confidence to succeed in my future endeavors.

“It truly is an invaluable experience. I would recommend any student to consider a co-op or even a summer internship.”

A plant product engineering co-op intern, Mathwig said he has grown as an engineer through new challenges and learned a lot in a short time.

“I would like to work in the oil and gas industry or the energy industry,” he said. “This experience will increase my knowledge of manufacturing and further my prowess in vital engineering skills.”

Horner said being a manufacturing engineering co-op intern has helped him work toward his goal of working in a manufacturing company.

“I have been extremely involved in engineering at BorgWarner, having helped implement several cost-saving and quality-improving modifications to the factory,” he said. His duties have included assisting with process flow, PFEMA and control plan rewrites and process audits for the ITAF audit at the end of April that provided BorgWarner with a license to continue producing parts.

“I am also working with several of the other co-ops to start working on a new layout of the factory as brainstorming ideas for our upper management to consider for extra floor space,” Horner said. “I was also made responsible for continuing a downsize project started by a prior co-op for one of our older manufacturing lines.”

Chrestman said she hopes that all the Ole Miss interns will consider returning as full-time employees.

“We are very dependent on the interns we hire from Ole Miss as well as other universities in the Southeastern United States,” she said. “We give students responsibilities day one, and as they grow, their responsibilities increase.

“Students give an exit presentation on their experience in the plant, and we continue to be impressed by the work they accomplish.”

The UM co-op program is a type of internship that allows students to gain real-world career training in engineering while also earning college credit. Co-op students work for pay and often develop lasting relationships with supervisors and employers. Students’ work experience is documented on their official college transcript, and co-op positions can lead to full-time employment after graduation.