Blog

09.11.2019

Beyond Textbooks: Interns Gain Real-World Experience with Maxar

By: Taylor Tinsley, Talent Acquisition Coordinator, Maxar Technologies


Read Time: 4 minutes

Maxar welcomed 105 interns at 17 of its U.S. locations this summer. The paid interns, with backgrounds ranging from undergraduate students to Ph.D. candidates, each received the opportunity to go beyond textbooks and apply their knowledge to real-world assignments. Some of those projects included calculating satellite collision avoidance, planning for the 2020 budget and using machine learning to classify objects and perform dark target detection in our satellite images. The students tackled their various projects with energy and eagerness, providing fresh perspective on our broad range of Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure capabilities.

Interns at our Palo Alto office are welcomed to Maxar by Frank Pelkofer, Maxar’s VP of Systems Engineering (far left) and Megan Fitzgerald, Maxar’s SVP and General Manager, Space Infrastructure (far right).

For many, the work they started will not end with their internship. Over half of the interns will be continuing their career with Maxar in part-time roles during the Fall 2019 semester, in full-time employment upon graduation or by returning as interns for Summer 2020.

“I gained valuable insight into what is important in a software development environment rather than what is important in a school environment,” said one software engineering intern from our Herndon office. “It also reinforced techniques and lessons I was taught in college.”

Throughout the summer, the interns engaged in more than just their daily tasks and projects – they also participated in events aimed at deepening their understanding of the company and Maxar’s purpose, “For a Better World.” Among the highlights were sessions with company leaders like Walter Scott, Chief Technology Officer; Tony Frazier, Executive Vice President of Global Field Operations; and Jay Littlepage, Vice President and Chief Architect. During these sessions, the interns learned about the individuals’ backgrounds and work at Maxar, and had an opportunity to ask questions.

Hands-on experiences occurred across offices, with interns at our Colorado headquarters having the opportunity to calibrate a Maxar satellite and tour the Mission Operations Center, where our WorldView satellites are monitored and flown.

Colorado interns lay out white tarps in a field to prepare for calibrating Maxar’s WorldView-3 satellite.

“All of my expectations for this internship were exceeded this summer,” said another Herndon, VA, intern. “One of the most enjoyable parts for me was learning about other departments and seeing how they all connect to accomplish Maxar’s purpose.”

In addition to events that cultivated a greater understanding of the company, the interns also developed their workplace skills, refined their resumes and practiced their presentation skills. They spent time in Hackathons, working on challenges like “Create FedEx for the Moon” and “Design a system that will help prepare the lunar surface for human habitation.” The summer culminated in each intern presenting in front of teams and leadership about their projects and daily work.

Interns in Palo Alto collaborate on their project during the Intern Hackathon.

Naturally, the summer wasn’t all work and no play! The intern schedule included team socials and happy hours, escape rooms, Major League Baseball games and even a trip to an indoor gym where the students tested their teamwork through various challenges.

Interns in Colorado perform team-building exercises at a local arena.

Though our interns have left our offices to begin another semester of classes on campuses across the U.S., the work they completed will continue to add value long after their departure from Maxar. We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to next summer’s program, for which plans are already underway.

If you are interested in joining the Maxar team as one of our Summer 2020 interns, please check our Career Page in Fall/Winter 2019/2020 to apply for the next program!

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