34 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Photos by IISE sta
sharpen ISE
students’ skills
Four prospective professionals share their stories
June 2023 | ISE Magazine 35
While the basics of an industrial and systems
engineering degree can eectively prepare
young professionals for their careers, there is
no substitute for hands-on experience. To gain
this, prospective ISEs seek summer internships
that can provide valuable on-the-job seasoning
and oen lead to a full-time position aer graduation.
To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day June
23 (inwed.org.uk), we oer four female ISE students who began
their career resumes with internships that provided insight and
problem-solving opportunities in a variety of industries.
Taking flight with problem-solving
for United Airlines
By Aleksina Jovic
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Have you wondered what goes on behind
the scenes at an airport? If you are like
me, you’ve probably also questioned how
many people and processes it takes for it
to happen.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to be a digital technol-
ogy intern at United Airlines on their analytics and innovation
team based in Chicago. I was able to meet and work with people
and engage in processes that make this industry so impactful.
Ive always been fascinated by airplanes and their unique
power. My earliest memory of ying is at age 5 on a journey
with my dad, mom and brother moving from Serbia to the
United States. I was scared of a whole new life in America; I had
moved across the planet, away from most of my family and the
culture I grew up knowing. What reassured me was knowing
I was just a ight away. As I’ve gone back and visited over the
years, Ive come to realize the power an airline holds is in its
reassurance that no place is truly out of reach. Family is oen
just a ight away.
Having such a close connection to this industry inspired me
to apply to this internship aer my sophomore year. I am a ju-
nior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study-
ing systems engineering and design and minoring in the Hoe
Technology and Management Program. At United, I constant-
ly found myself applying the skills I learned in my classes to the
work with my team.
I worked on a variety of projects that spanned several dier-
ent segments of the company. What I found most fascinating
was how crucial each part of the process was. I found that an
airline functions like we do; a body of many systems where fail-
ure in one could mean failure in all.
One task I took on was net promoter scores. ese metrics
evaluate customers’ satisfaction with the services received. I
found correlations and trends from season to season and drew
conclusions on how to improve the process. We were able to
pinpoint where and when satisfaction was low, then specically
36 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Internships sharpen ISE students’ skills
target those areas for improvement. is work magnied both
Uniteds impact on its consumers and the critical role under-
standing the user plays in the companys success.
My challenges were not limited to the technology of data
analysis soware, as I found the functionality of a business just
as demanding. is drove home the idea that the intersection
of technology and business is heavily enriched by the success
of one another.
I also worked with a team to evaluate pilot performance
and the risk of retraining rates. When a pilot joins or transfers
from another commercial airline, many metrics and standards
must be met. is process can be long and tedious for the pi-
lot and also for United. To make this process smoother, data
analysis allowed us to examine dierent pilot proles and cat-
egorize them to determine their degree of risk for retraining.
is saved time and money and allowed some pilots to return
to work quicker. Like everything at United, this also beneted
consumers, allowing for more pilots, reducing delays and wait-
ing times, and making an overall smoother passenger experi-
One of my favorite aspects of the internship was the intern
project. Toward the midpoint of my journey at United, I was
put on a team with six other talented interns to work on a real-
world problem that had not been solved. It was as intimidat-
ing as it sounds, but nonetheless a rewarding project. With the
diverse skills my team possessed, we worked together to create
a dashboard in a soware called Splunk. is outlined the pro-
cess of receiving a new plane from the manufacturer, and by
loading the proper United soware onto it, enabled it to per-
form essential tasks such as processing data, safety reports and
security-related information.
Being on the analytics and innovation team was lled with
constant learning and improving. Aside from the projects,
there were unbeatable ight benets. Interns could travel on
standby for free, a great way to hop on a quick weekend trip
and recharge from a long week of work. rough my travels, I
had the opportunity to see various airports; some were United
hubs and others were smaller, but each gave a dierent perspec-
tive and showed me the various operations that ensued based
on airport size and location.
e intern class got the chance to experience a detailed, be-
hind-the-scenes tour of O’Hare International Airport in Chi-
cago, where I saw some of the projects I was working on being
executed. To wrap it all up, my team traveled to Houston for a
work trip to visit our project sponsor.
My time at United was extremely impactful. I learned to
work with people from dierent backgrounds and see how our
various skills can complement each other. Most of all, I was
constantly reminded of the power that airlines like United hold
to bring people together, whether that be to my family in Serbia
or back home to Chicago where opportunities such as this one
await. Until last summer, I didn’t realize how many people and
processes it takes to make this happen. It takes a body of people
and a magnitude of eort to run an airline as well as United
Coke oers a refreshing opportunity
for Panamericana student
By Ana Paula Martínez Del Águila
Universidad Panamericana
Coca-Cola is a company almost everyone
knows due to its strong presence in over
200 countries for producing its popu-
lar so drink, which is always present in
traditional Mexican meals and in other
I am studying industrial engineering at Universidad Pana-
mericana in Mexico. To graduate, it is required to enter an in-
ternship. In 2021, I was looking for a position that t my skills
Aleksina Jovic is a systems engineering and design student at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an IISE student member.
I’ve come to realize the power an
airline holds is in its reassurance that
no place is truly out of reach. Family
is oen just a ight away.
June 2023 | ISE Magazine 37
and my interests but mainly to learn and gain experience. I
found an internship program from e Coca-Cola Co. called
“Fresh Minds,” so I decided to apply. It was a long selection pro-
cess but I was selected.
I started the internship in September 2021 in the Dairy
Business Development area. I worked on a project focused on
Santa Clara, a Mexican brand that sells artisanal ice cream and
premium dairy products. e internship helped me learn or-
ganization skills and beer numerical analysis, and think in a
more structured and strategic way. I liked learning about the
dairy business as it provides foods we consume frequently and
dierent innovations the market has presented in recent years.
I was transferred to another area as a strategy intern. For me,
this was an opportunity to learn about Coca-Cola from a new
perspective. is area is completely dierent from the previous
one; in this position, I would have a beer understanding of
the dierent brands and industries in learning how the system
works. It would allow me to develop analytical skills from an-
other perspective, the ability to optimize processes and be in
constant use of the technology.
When I was selected for the internship, I never imagined the
amazing company Coca-Cola is and how much it is interested
in people. e company has always been at the forefront of
innovation. I am impressed by the adaptability and focus on
interaction with people, being part of a community by imple-
menting many social programs, and having the commitment
to be more sustainable. It is an iconic and cultural brand that is
part of daily lives and the creation of memories.
I have received a lot of mentorship and support from my
managers who took the time to help me grow and develop my
skills. ey shared their knowledge and experiences with me
and were a fundamental part of my enjoyment of working at
Coca-Cola and the personal and professional growth I have
had since the internship began. It is amazing how much dier-
ence there is in the theoretical knowledge taught in the class-
rooms than the one applied in businesses.
Yet a strong mark the university and IISE chapter have le
on me is that all processes can be improved. Sometimes com-
panies with established and traditional methodologies lose the
perspective of optimization and continuous improvement.
e internship positions have made me think about what
elds I want to pursue in the long term and what I like about
industrial engineering. First, I love to be capable of making
analytical decisions and know how to optimize processes,
skills useful in daily life. On the other hand, I realize this major
gives me the opportunity to participate in dierent areas and
projects. It has provided me with a lot of knowledge, and I have
been able to conrm that I chose my career correctly and my
love for it.
I am happy I was selected for this program and have the op-
portunity to learn from many people and to be able to make
meaningful contributions to the teams I have been part of. I
recommend this internship to everyone who wants to be sur-
prised and have their knowledge challenged and enjoy an in-
credible experience.
Getting front-line know-how
with DHL Supply Chain
By Ryan Secrest
University of Dayton
Aspire to Fly Higher!” is one of the slo-
gans for the University of Dayton’s En-
gineering Program, and I was certainly
on cloud nine when oered a summer
internship opportunity with DHL Supply
DHL assigned me to its Cisco account in Lockbourne, Ohio.
e job description denitely t the problem-solving and tech-
Ana Paula Martínez Del Águila is an industrial engineering student at
Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City.
e internship helped me learn
organization skills and beer
numerical analysis, and think in a
more structured and strategic way.
38 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Internships sharpen ISE students’ skills
nical skills I was aaining through UD’s industrial engineering
technology classes. I was excited about the amount of responsi-
bility and specialized projects DHL Supply Chain entrusted to
me from the start. I was also amazed by how much information
I learned through my coursework at Dayton and through being
a member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
that could be transferred and applied toward the projects with
which I was tasked.
My rst task: Flowcharts. Since I needed to have a strong
understanding of Cisco’s workow operation, I created a ow-
chart identifying every main element involved with its inbound
receiving, put away, picking and outbound packing processes.
Aer grasping a strong understanding of Cisco’s supply chain
functions through this owchart, I conducted multiple time
studies relevant to each procedure and applied the collected
results to develop a standard time per task.
rough this analysis, I identied ineciencies and areas
of nonvalue-added time. One area of ineciency involved the
receiving of a stock keeping unit. For each unit, there were
multiple barcodes to be scanned before the unit could be put
away. However, between scanning barcodes, the operator was
required to go to the computer and hit “enter,” decreasing time
eciency. I created a scannable barcode that automatically
produced the screen needed, eliminating the “enter” key task
between scans. is increased the productivity and quality of
the operation.
Next task: Capacity analysis project. DHL Supply Chain
was receiving a number of units from Cisco but was not given
any information regarding their dimensions. ere were a few
aisles of racking reserved for this arriving product. My task was
to determine if this area was sucient for the units coming
in or if the racking needed to be expanded. I analyzed a vast
amount of existing data on SKUs and shelf sizes and conrmed
that the space provided was sucient for the expected number
of units.
Final task: Capstone project, the largest and most essential
project that I worked on during my internship. is project al-
lowed for collaboration, communication, creativity and critical
thinking to problem-solve a distribution center issue.
Recently, the distribution center implemented locus robot-
ics, also known as locus bots, which provide the technology of
robotic picking assistants to increase automation eciency in
the picking process. At Carhar Distribution Center 3.0, a lo-
cus bot is assigned a task with a list of items to retrieve for a
Ryan Secrest is an industrial engineering student at the University of Dayton. Here, she poses (third from right) with her fellow interns after completing
their Capstone project with DHL Supply Chain.
I valued the chance to collaborate
with ont-line operators working
on the oor and apply that
information to my projects. rough
speaking with them, I was able
to understand more about their
day-to-day processes and consider
their suggestions for improving the
eciency of the operations.
June 2023 | ISE Magazine 39
specic order, along with its location. e bot proceeds to the
location, waits for an associate to arrive and places the item
on the bot, then moves to its next location. However, there is
a limit of ve bots allowed down an aisle at one time. is led
to considerable congestion among the robots within just a few
of the active pick aisles, while the remaining aisles were open
and uncrowded.
rough root cause analysis, my team was able to determine
the reason behind the congestion. e replenishment logic in
place would search for an available location starting at a certain
aisle, work its way down the aisle, then continue to the follow-
ing aisle. Because of this, the SKUs that ran out faster would be
replenished in the prioritized aisle. Over time, this aisle would
populate with the fastest moving SKUs. e more frequently
picked a SKU is, the more it needs to be replenished, causing
obstruction in the aisle.
My team considered many factors to arrive at our solution, in-
cluding the scope and limitations; static and dynamic sloing;
other accounts that have implemented locus; a shared ware-
house management system; ergonomic and associate safety; an
increased number of bots; and minimizing the associate replen-
ishment path. e solution we created was a dynamic replenish-
ment sequence that evenly distributes the cases throughout all
the available aisles. e sequence also prioritizes the middle lev-
els of each bay – known as the golden zone – to prevent back in-
juries from bending and reaching. e sequence aims to increase
the locus bots’ productivity, decreasing wait time and downtime.
We had the opportunity to present our Capstone Project and re-
ceived many accolades, which I appreciated.
During my time at DHL Supply Chain, I valued the chance
to collaborate with front-line operators working on the oor
and apply that information to my projects. rough speaking
with them, I was able to understand more about their day-to-
day processes and consider their suggestions for improving the
eciency of the operations. Additional skills I learned to ap-
ply as an industrial engineer were the importance of question-
ing and analyzing the dierent processes and procedures for
continuous improvement. Processes oen are done a certain
way because of an established practice, even if it is not the most
ecient way. Change can be uncomfortable, but sometimes
necessary for improvement. It is also important to learn and
understand why a process is performed a certain way and use
critical thinking skills to improve it.
Overall, DHL Supply Chain oered me a challenging hands-
on learning experience. It provided me real opportunities to
problem-solve, to apply technical skills learned through both
my UD coursework and IISE membership, and to collaborate
with other interns, associates and engineers. I signicantly
grew personally and professionally from this experiential
learning opportunity.
e DHL Supply Chain employees with whom I interacted
were approachable and eager to help me. I collaborated with a
wide range of people, learned many dierent aspects about the
industry and enjoyed the variety of work an industrial engineer
performs. I am grateful for everything I have learned through
my internship and through my coursework at the University of
Dayton. Both organizations have truly inspired me to y high-
er as I begin my journey as an industrial engineer!
Tackling issues on the warehouse floor
leads to full-time role at Radial
By Caroline Veitch
Pennsylvania State University
I will never forget the day I accepted an
oer to work for Radial Inc. as an indus-
trial engineering intern in Easton, Penn-
sylvania. I was siing in an engineering
analytics class taking notes on my iPad
when I saw an email notication pop up
on my screen. I was interviewing and applying to multiple
companies, so I immediately checked my inbox. e ’subject
line read, “Congratulations | Oer Leer for Caroline Veitch
– Radial Inc.
Im unsure how I managed to contain my excitement. It only
took me about ve minutes to read through the oer leer and
return it indicating I was accepting the oer to intern with Ra-
dial during summer 2022.
Before accepting this oer in spring 2022, I spent the previous
fall semester researching and applying to dierent internships.
One day, I received an email with information about a mentor-
ing program for undergraduates sponsored by the Penn State
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Society (PSIMES).
Shortly aer applying, I was paired with Sunny Ghai, a Penn
State industrial engineering alumnus. We met virtually through-
out the semester, and he gave me advice and recommendations
for my academic and professional development.
During one meeting, Sunny expressed the importance of
networking and the eectiveness of LinkedIn. Aerward, he
created a post introducing me to his professional network.
I soon was connected to industrial engineers in all dierent
industries. A few weeks aer the post, I received a LinkedIn
message from Sco DeMoss, director of optimization engi-
neering at Radial Inc., regarding summer internship opportu-
nities. Soon aer connecting with Sco, I interviewed for the
As I got more practice, I was able
to provide input on how clients
could improve their eciencies and
increase the amount of throughput
for each workstation.
40 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Internships sharpen ISE students’ skills
summer position. Although the interview was virtual, I could
sense Scos pride for not only his daily work, but the company
At the conclusion of the interview, I narrowed down my op-
tions to two companies. A major dierence between the oers
I received was that Radials position was on-site and the other
one was remote. I had made it my goal to gain true industry
experience as an undergraduate and decided that accepting the
role with Radial was the best decision.
I reported to the fulllment center in Easton daily, but I
also had the opportunity to travel to four other sites within the
network and learn about Radials innovative solutions for its
clients. One exciting part of my travels was the opportunity to
help support the expansion of Geek + robots into a clients in-
ventory. e robots retrieved inventory from the shelves and
brought it to the respective picking stations, reducing workers’
labor fatigue and improving inventory picking accuracy.
To support this expansion, I recreated a new oor plan in
AutoCAD that accounted for the movement of existing racks
and workstations, as well as the creation of the new space for
the addition of more robots. Aer nalizing this AutoCAD
drawing with my mentor, we printed a copy and headed to the
warehouse oor.
We retrieved a tape measure and industrial tape to measure
out the oor and we taped an outline of the exact location for
each rack. It was tedious and required great aention to detail,
and I enjoyed seeing the robots operate successfully between
the new rack locations.
I also had the opportunity to be a part of a kaizen event to
assess the safety of robots working with humans. e kaizen
consisted of data collection, brainstorming and implementing
improvements for increasing the safety of the robots.
In addition, I was responsible for conducting several time
studies to set standard processing rates and ensure service level
agreement needs were met for various clients. e time studies
were a common client request and I performed them oen. As
I got more practice, I was able to provide input on how clients
could improve their eciencies and increase the amount of
throughput for each workstation.
For all these experiences, I had time to learn and practice be-
fore completing the task at hand. One day, however, I had the
opportunity to solve a problem as it occurred. I remember re-
ceiving a message from an employee mentioning that packages
were falling o the conveyor belt and onto the oor. e main
problem was a shortage of the large cardboard boxes used for
storing packages. In this instance, my mentor taught me how to
use Pyramid, the soware responsible for routing the packages
to their proper destination. Aer geing a quick tutorial on the
soware, I rebalanced the conveyor line and rerouted the pack-
ages to a location with a box available.
Ultimately, I had the privilege of expanding my knowledge
of optimization and continuous improvement in the logistics
industry while working for Radial.
In the fall of my senior year, I aended Penn State’s Fall Ca-
reer Days, the largest collegiate career fair, and the Industrial
Engineering Career Fair hosted by Penn State’s IISE chapter.
Aer careful thought and consideration of all options, I de-
cided Radial Inc. provided the best opportunity to grow and
develop, both personally and professionally. I am excited to
join full time in June 2023 upon completion of my degree. I am
extremely grateful for my time at Penn State University and the
opportunities it has provided.
Caroline Veitch is a recent industrial engineering graduate of Pennsylvania State University who served as an intern in summer 2022 with Radial Inc., an
e-commerce company based in Pennsylvania. She begins a full-time position with the company this June.