Internship experience opens doors, 5 job offers follow

Kacie Lee
April 09, 2019

James White never imagined he’d have one job offer lined up by fall his senior year, let alone five. After completing a summer internship following his junior year, the student in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences found doors opening to him at leading steel manufacturers.

White, who is majoring in materials science and engineering, credits his internship at Standard Steel LLC in Burnham, Pennsylvania, for providing him with professional, hands-on experience that ultimately led to multiple job offers.  

He accepted a full-time job at ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steel companies. White will begin work at a plant near Chicago, after graduating in May 2019.

“I never expected that I’d have this kind of opportunity,” White said. “I had not yet found an internship in my field and was actually working for a landscaping company that summer and was on my lunch break when I got the call that Standard Steel wanted to hire me as their intern. I started that following Monday.”

At Standard Steel, White learned how the company forges axels and wheels for trains and locomotives. He particularly enjoyed the production floor, where he could watch the steel being made.

“Standard Steel taught me so much in such little time,” White said. “I could tell they really cared about investing in their interns and provided me with a lot of opportunities to grow and learn.”

White said Standard Steel pushed him to be proactive and to learn aspects of metals that he’d later study during his senior year.

He continued with Standard Steel following his internship and has worked for the company part-time doing quality control. He examines faulty metals and offers suggestions on how to address the defects.  

White credits the support he received at Penn State with helping him secure his internship. Amy Robinson, an instructor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and White’s metals professor, played an integral role by telling him about the internship opportunity.

“Throughout my whole Penn State experience, I’ve always felt a certain inclusiveness and encouragement to succeed,” White said

While White said he’s never been at the top of his class academically, his willingness to work hard, coupled with the opportunities provided by Penn State and Standard Steel, have placed him in position to succeed.

“After companies heard more about my experiences at Standard Steel, they were impressed because I had a lot more hands-on experience than many of the people that they usually recruit,” White said.

White will start his career at ArcelorMittal as an associate metallurgist. He plans to pursue a position on the production floor and hopes to work in management someday.

  • James White, a senior at Penn State, analyzes a metal sample

    James White, a senior in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, analyzes a metal sample in a laboratory in the Millennium Science Complex. 

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated April 10, 2019