This page provides a bit more detail about some of the jobs and internships I've worked at, beyond just the limited information found on my résumé. Reference letters from my supervisors at a few of these positions can also be found under the "References" tab above. 

 

Click any of the following links to jump to a section on this page:

 

Deep Space Systems - Littleton, CO

 

Test Engineering Intern - Summer 2017, January 2018

Deep Space Systems is a private aerospace company dedicated to systems engineering that supports the design, development, integration, testing, and operations of science and exploration spacecraft. During the summer of 2017, I worked full-time as a test engineering intern at Deep Space Systems. I was also invited to return for a month during my winter break in January 2018.

A digital rendering of the Orion spacecraft

As an intern, I was assigned to help work on Deep Space System's contract to develop and test a complex camera system for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. I therefore learned how to administer thermal cycle, random vibration, proton radiation, modulation transfer function, and shock test procedures to flight hardware. I also regularly executed inspection, functional, and performance tests to continuously determine hardware status, and I helped communicate with NASA and Lockheed Martin representatives through written test reports in order to meet aggressive delivery deadlines for Exploration Mission 1 (recently rebranded as Artemis 1).

In Boston, MA to conduct proton radiation tests on Orion's cameras!

I had a blast at DSS (no pun intended). I worked with an incredible team of determined engineers as well as some other outstanding interns. I was able to experience what it's like to conduct experimental work in a lab and I enjoyed all of the fast paced challenged that came along with it. Ultimately this position exposed me to some of the exciting work happening in the aerospace industry and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity.

 

HollyFrontier - Cheyenne, WY

 

Design Engineering Intern - Summer 2016

HollyFrontier is a Fortune 500 petroleum refiner and distributor of petroleum products, ranging from gasoline to petroleum-based lubricants and waxes. HollyFrontier currently consists of 5 refineries in the United States and 1refinery in Canada. In the summer of 2016 I was selected for an internship position in the Capital Projects & Design Engineering Department at HollyFrontier's Cheyenne refinery.

HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery

This internship acted as my first opportunity to utilize my engineering education in a professional environment. Over the course of the summer I learned fundamental refinery processes and operations, assisted with three main capital projects totaling more than $5 million, worked closely with numerous engineering contractors, developed detailed cost estimates, effectively communicated project status to senior management, and strived for safe, successful, and profitable production of petroleum products. Part of my internship also overlapped with the refinery's "turnaround" period (a scheduled event where entire processing units are shutdown for intensive maintenance work.) This period of "organized chaos" confirmed that the long, stressful days don't stop for engineers after graduation! Nonetheless, the turnaround was a unique learning opportunity that allowed me to see another side of refinery operations that most interns are unable to experience. 

Last day on the job

It was made clear to me during my time at this internship that my supervisors and the other engineers in the department were intent on providing me with real-world, challenging, and meaningful responsibilities rather than simply assigning me to small menial tasks. I also enjoyed two travel opportunities during this internships. The first was to Dallas, TX to meet company executives as well as interns from other refinery location. The second was to Salt Lake City, UT to inspect the safety showers that I was involved in purchasing and installing in the refinery. I also enjoyed participating in HollyFrontier's involvement with community events such as Cheyenne Super Day and Cheyenne Frontier Days. 

At the conclusion of this internship, I was required to give a presentation covering what I learned and accomplished throughout the summer. Click this link to view the PowerPoint file I created which summarizes my main talking points:

 

McNair Scholars Program - Laramie, WY

 

GRE Math Instructor - Summer 2018, Summer 2019

The University of Wyoming McNair Scholars Program (named in memory of astronaut and Space Shuttle Challenger crew member, Dr. Ronald E. McNair) is an undergraduate research and graduate school preparation program that prepares students from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education for success in doctoral degree programs. Selected scholars receive funding for research projects, engage in educational opportunities about graduate programs, and complete preparation courses for the GRE (a standardized exam that tests both verbal and quantitative reasoning skills, and is required for most graduate program applications). In the summer of 2018, I was hired to be the instructor for the 3-week preparation course for the quantitative reasoning section of the GRE.  

The outstanding students I instructed during the 2019 McNair Program

I was chosen for this position since I myself had recently performed well on the GRE (a near perfect score on the quantitative reasoning section) and due to the teaching experience I had acquired as a TA for engineering courses. Nonetheless, this was a very new experience for me. I was responsible for considering the pre-test scores of the students, designing an appropriate course that covered a wide range of material, providing a large set of practice problems, assigning homework problems, leading six 2-hour sessions throughout the summer, and of course answering student questions and providing whatever help necessary to ensure their success on the GRE. Doing all of this was a ton of work, but it was also an extremely rewarding experience. I am happy to report that every single student showed an increase from their pre-test score to their final score after completing the course I designed. This resulted in me being hired again for the same position in the summer of 2019. I currently also have an outstanding offer to instruct this course one final time during the summer of 2020.

Although I don't anticipate my future career as an engineer will require me to directly teach too many math courses, I believe the lessons I learned from holding this position are extremely valuable. Certainly, even the most brilliant of engineers would struggle to succeed if they were unable to effectively communicate with, and ultimately educate, those around them. Finally, I would like to say that all of the student scholars I have worked with during this program are amazing, highly determined people and very bright thinkers. My success in this position would not have been possible without their positive attitudes and desire to learn. I wish them all the best as they continue on with their graduate educations. 

Car Wash Express - Aurora, CO

 

Shift Manager - May 2013 - August 2014, Summer 2015

 

Car Wash Express is an express, exterior style car wash that strives for a superior level of customer service. It currently has several locations in the Denver area. I was employed full-time at their Aurora location for just over a year between the time I graduated high school and started college. During this time, I worked my way up from an entry-level line worker to a shift manager position. By the time I left for college, I had received an offer for an assistant manager position. Although I declined this offer to instead pursue my engineering education, I was welcomed back the following summer to again work as a shift manager.

Car Wash Express Aurora

My responsibilities included operating and maintaining the express-exterior, conveyor style car wash while developing extensive customer service and team management skills. As a shift manager, I performed necessary maintenance, completed store opening and store closing procedures, trained and supervised six other employees, earned commission marketing specials and promotions to customers, completed weekly and monthly financial reports, managed company inventory, and strived to maintain a clean, safe, and friendly environment.

Again, even though I don't plan to wash too many more cares as a professional engineer, I believe this experience and the lessons I took away from it will continue to be fundamental for my engineering career. Not only did I develop several hands-on technical skills, I learned what is was like to be an important part of a business. My time at Car Wash Express was also responsible for important lessons such as forming positive relationships with co-workers, working towards career advancement opportunities, speaking with and selling products to customers, professionally resolving issues with unsatisfied customers, and building substantial work ethic. In fact, I retrospectively believe that the positive habits and work ethic I developed at this job were largely responsible for my ability to go on to succeed in a rigorous engineering program. 

Super Target - Aurora, CO

 

Café Worker - August 2012 - February 2013

 

Target is the 8th largest retailer in the United States. Many of their "Super Target" locations include a café that serves a variety of snacks and beverages to store guests. During my senior year of high school, I worked closing shifts after school. My responsibilities were therefore to serve guests, clean the kitchen and café, and ensure that everything was prepared in order for the following day to run smoothly.

Super Target Café

What else can I say? I was 17 and eager to start earning a paycheck - it was a simpler time then. 

© 2020 David J. Tobin