Have you heard of the Eaton Corporation? Well, after spending last summer there as an intern, MSU Senior and Experience Architecture (XA) major Azucena Rodriguez can tell you all about it.
Eaton Corporation is a power management company that designs products and services to manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. They have over 99,000 employees and do business in more than 175 countries. While work like this requires a serious atmosphere with serious employees, Acuzena says she also found the environment very friendly and welcoming to her. “What I like is that they actually treated us like employees instead of interns,” she says.
As a temporary employee, Azucena was assigned to work in the vehicle wing with service technicians, formulating instruction manuals for assembling and disassembling a transmission. “I was a technical communicator,” she says. “Our job was to use Eaton’s protocols and wording, so that the brand was still there, while still also making it comprehendible for the user.”
Despite being assigned to write about a subject she didn’t know much about, Azucena was able to successfully complete all her projects. She credits her writing courses at Michigan State, which she says taught her “rhetoric and precision” and gave her an advantage when tackling these on-the-job projects. She says other past internship experiences also helped, including a stint at software company TechSmith that taught her how to correctly write and edit articles while still keeping the brand.
Aside from technical writing, Azucena was also given the opportunity to broaden her palette of skills. Venturing into photography, she was not only assigned to produce text for instruction manuals but also detailed images. “I took pictures of the service technician as he assembled/disassembled a transmission,” she says. These images were included in the instruction manual to provide visual learning for users. Before this internship, she had little knowledge of professional photography; the closest she came to a camera was her iPhone. However, one fancy camera later, she says this internship “sparked a new interest” and encouraged her to venture down the photography path.
Azucena says this internship gave her the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only did the company welcome her with open arms and teach her new skills, but in the end they even offered her a full-time position. It’s safe to say that Azucena has had the internship experience that all college students dream of. So, what’s her secret, and how can students make sure to have an internship experience as great as this one?
Azucena says the biggest thing she has learned from her internship at Eaton is to “have confidence despite the possibility of making a mistake. Mistakes are not your fault; instead, they are a learning process.” She emphasizes that students must fall forward and not be afraid to ask for help. “You learn from doing things wrong and proceeding to ask questions. You do not grow if you do not ask questions. Don’t be intimidated by not knowing, just ask.”
Written by Naomi Johnson
Photos provided by Azucena Rodriguez