Name: Minh Tran
University: University of Washington (UW)
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Class: Senior
High School: Nathan Hale

Can you tell us about your internship? Currently, I’m interning at a female-owned medical device company called Hokanson, which was founded in 1973. I had the opportunity to be a part of several projects while at Hokanson. The first was creating a record of designs. I recorded designs of the RF welding dies using computer-aided design (CAD). These dies are used for making vascular cuffs and other devices. Recording designs helps to improve consistency and make reproduction easier.

I also performed root cause analysis to ensure our products meet important industry and safety standards. Since the medical supply business is regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), I was also able to learn about the FDA regulatory system.
Another project I worked on was corrective action for a finger cuff product. We used a textbook to find equations to improve the products we made. I was amused to learn that my classroom textbook was applicable in the real world. Now that the summer is over, I’m still interning at Hokanson 10 hours per week on various projects.

Where did you look for internships? I’ve utilized Indeed.com, and the University of Washington’s HuskyJobs career and internship website. I’ve also reached out to Theresa, my WSOS Program Officer, who finds a lot of internships and helped review my cover letter and resume. I found the Hokanson internship through Husky Jobs. I always look through a variety of resources. I also participated in the WSOS Skills that Shine mentorship program, and worked with my mentor a lot. The UW Career Center gave me extra advice for the job search, too. Since I didn’t have previous internship experience, it was helpful to talk to others and get their advice.

What is your advice to other Scholars? Take advantage of the WSOS program. Look for internships as early on in your school year as possible as a great way to learn about the industry that interests you. The programs provided by WSOS are amazing. Get a mentor and go to WSOS events because you can network and gain a lot from the experiences.

How did your internship experience support your education overall and how did it contribute to your major? My internship contributed heavily to my major. I realized a lot of my classes are applicable in the real world. I learned how accurate my textbooks are and used them in real world situations. My experienced helped me confirm that this is the right major for me. I would love to continue developing medical devices. I now know that the skills I learn in my classes will help me to grow professionally.

What’s next for you? I’m finishing my project at Hokanson. I’m weighing the options of pursuing a post-graduate degree or securing a job. My internship really fueled my desire to get more involved in projects at school. I want to gather as many skills as possible to better prepare myself for a career as an engineer.