Half Block Class Helps Rising Sophomore Intern at Lockheed Martin

 Photo submitted by Kalie Chang '26
Photo submitted by Kalie Chang '26

When Kalie Chang ’26 was picking a Half Block course last fall, she knew she wanted to take an engineering course that she could apply to her computer science major. She had no idea, however, that Investigations in Engineering: Preparing for a Career in Space Half Block, would result in a 12-week paid internship with Lockheed Martin this summer. 

Erik Daehler ’98, former Lockheed Martin executive who taught the Half Block course, designed the class to give students as much real-world experience as possible. While Daehler, who graduated with a degree in physics, feels his education at CC was phenomenal, he says he struggled to find a job upon graduating, and wanted to make sure future engineering students were more prepared to enter the workforce immediately upon graduating.

In the class, Chang worked with a group of classmates to represent a mock satellite company, where the students created a business case for an imaginary customer based on their requirements, which included satellites that can monitor the outputs of CO2 and methane gas in well flares across the globe by 2027.

“My team and I offered a product that differentiated us from our competition, was within budget, risk mitigated, profitable, and uniquely environmentally friendly,” says Chang, who also majors in economics and is co-leader of the Coding Club. “I really enjoyed the simulation because I like to learn from experience and this course really helped me effectively understand Lockheed Martin’s business and technology areas within the space industry.”

“I really appreciated the mentorship and support that Erik provided me because he helped with resume review, cover letter review, mock interviews, and he helped me get connected with my current manager,” says Chang, a 2022 Bridge Scholar. “I wouldn't be where I am without taking this course or without his support, so I am incredibly grateful for his help.”

Chang has wanted to intern at Lockheed Martin since her senior year of high school and applied to the program several times. Once at CC, she committed herself to working hard in her classes and utilizing all resources available to her so she could be better prepared to apply for the program again.

While Daehler has directly hired CC students, he was not involved in Chang’s intern offer, other than his guidance and reference. “Kalie achieved this all on her own,” he says.

Daehler worked with students on all aspects of the job search, including doing mock interviews with them and reviewing their resumes. He also had students create LinkedIn profiles and elevator pitches for themselves. Daehler teaches this course every four years, giving every CC class the opportunity to take it.

In addition to Daehler’s mentorship, Chang cites the Block Plan and the Career Center as reasons she is so well prepared for this internship.

“The Block Plan has definitely helped me stay on top of my tasks at the internship, which often include reading long articles, creating PowerPoints and presentations, sitting in on meetings, and talking with a diverse group of people who have a wide range of background and skills,” says Chang. “Although CC isn't a very technical school, the soft skills that I learned here can make me a much stronger candidate in comparison to interns from other, more technical colleges and universities.”

Chang says she likes to emphasize to her peers that while CC doesn’t offer an engineering-specific degree, she feels that the lessons and classes she had this past year at CC absolutely prepared her for this internship.

“I believe that even though CC doesn’t necessarily cater to this specific post-graduate industry, the skills I learned through various classes I took have been very valuable for me and it is ultimately about how you market those skills to your employers,” says Chang.

Before starting the internship, Chang was able to connect with a CC alum who is now a Lockheed Martin employee through the Career Center's Technology Alumni Panel that they hosted with the Coding Club. Career Center staff also reviewed Chang’s resume and cover letter, which she says was very beneficial.


Report an issue - Last updated: 06/28/2023