Biological engineering senior turns manufacturing internship into full-time job

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “Engineering is a field that brings you challenges every day, and I love challenges. Constantly learning new skills and knowledge is really important to me,” said Lauren Oeste.

Oeste is currently a senior at Penn State majoring in biological engineering with a focus in food processing and biological systems.

“Penn State’s engineering program and community has everything an engineering student needs to succeed,” she said. “And I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, so it’s not too far away from home.”

During summer 2016, Oeste was a manufacturing intern in the Continuous Improvement Department at the Atlanta bakery of Mondelez International, a global confectionery, food and beverage company headquartered in Illinois.

She said that it was one of her most influential experiences outside of the classroom. “The culture and the people were so welcoming," said Oeste. "I definitely learned a lot about the food industry.”

Throughout her internship, Oeste was able to learn and understand how the bakery was performing. She participated in several major projects that included analyzing data, troubleshooting problems, and engineering new designs to make the machines run more smoothly. Her main responsibility was to study data to determine complaint trends and come up with machine settings to help improve performance and consistency.

“Every day was a positive learning experience. It was challenging but there was always guidance when I needed help. The company wants everyone to succeed in their career,” said Oeste.

“One of my most memorable experiences at Mondelez was participating in an important meeting with some of the top professionals of the company,” Oeste recalled.

Those top-ranking professionals visited the Atlanta bakery, and that really opened her eyes to how the big business aspect and manufacturing portions were connected in the food industry, and helped her gain more insights about the business side of the industry.

“We were able to meet the CEO and the president of Mondelez North America,” Oeste said, smiling proudly.

After graduation, Oeste plans to work with Mondelez International as a process engineer in their Richmond, Virginia, bakery.

“I hope to return to Mondelez and learn more every day, and continue the positive experience I started this summer,” she said.

Last Updated December 12, 2016