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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, Florida Tech features Florida Tech softball player Whitney Ellis.
This summer, the Van Buren, Arkansas native is gaining meaningful experience at an internship in her desired field. We caught up with Ellis to learn more about the incredible opportunity.
■ What company are you interning for this summer? What was your title and role with the company?
I am interning with Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I am an Electrical Engineer Intern for the Global Attractions Program (GAP). GAP is responsible for planned downtimes and refurbishments of rides.
■ What drew you to this internship?
I have always been interested in working in the theme park industry. It has been my dream for as long as I can remember. When reading the job description for this internship, I was drawn to the role that I would have in increasing guests’ experiences.
I loved the idea of being able to directly see an outcome of a project that I had a part in. Hearing people’s reactions and seeing their excitement after coming off a ride that I was a part of is incredible.
■ What are some exciting tasks that you have been able to be a part of?
The main project that my team was working on during my internship was the refurbishment of “The Revenge of the Mummy”. I was able to take the lead in a segment of tests that needed to be completed for the control system.
This entailed me coordinating with my team, a different internal Universal team, and vendors that were working on the project as well. Aside from the testing, I was involved with, I was able to review, update, and assist in creating electrical schematics for both The Mummy and other ride venues.
■ How is your internship preparing you for a career you would like to do after graduation?
This internship experience has confirmed that I want to work in the theme park industry.
I have enjoyed my experience working with attractions and learning about the processes and standards involved in creating, updating, and refurbishing ride venues. My internship this summer allowed me to gain experience with safety engineering and documentation processes that make me a more desirable candidate for post-graduation jobs within the theme park industry.
■ What is your major at Florida Tech? Why did you choose this direction for your education and is this something you always wanted to pursue?
My major at Florida Tech is Electrical Engineering, and I am also pursuing my Master’s Degree in Engineering Management through the accelerated master’s program.
Electrical Engineering is something that I was always drawn to because physics, math, and circuits have always made sense to me.
I thoroughly enjoy learning about electric properties and theories. Engineering Management is something that I chose because I wanted to make sure that I had knowledge in project management techniques.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for the work you are currently doing? What traits did you take away from the playing field that are helping you throughout your internship?
being a scholar-athlete played a large part in me getting my internship.
During my interview, I received many questions about my experience being a scholar-athlete and was told it made me an appealing candidate due to my experience working in a team environment, time management skills, and the ability to overcome failure and conflict.
The work that I do is heavily dependent on working on multiple tasks at once. Multitasking and time-management techniques that I learned from balancing schoolwork and softball have impacted my ability to handle many tasks at work.
The work ethic that I have with softball has transferred to the quality of work that I turn in to my leadership in a timely manner. Softball is a sport of conflict, and it has taught me how to overcome situations that don’t play out in my favor.
In the attractions industry many things don’t go exactly according to plan, so being adaptable and fluid is very important, which is something softball has taught me.
■ What skills did you acquire at the internship that you plan to bring back to help lead the softball team?
I am so extremely thankful for the opportunity I had this summer because not everyone is able to randomly apply for a position and get it, especially with a large company like Universal. Something that I will bring back to help lead the softball team is the quality of gratitude and thankfulness.
Not everyone has the opportunity to play college softball, so everyone should be grateful for that opportunity. A great leader not only shows gratitude for playing their sport but also gratitude towards the people they play with and for. Something else I will take away from this summer is the ability to delegate tasks among my peers.
Being able to delegate tasks is an important quality for leaders to have. Leaders should be able to delegate tasks respectfully while also leaving tasks for themselves to do as well. Good leaders don’t give all their tasks to their team; they included themselves in the work and guide their team to success.
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