COD Engineering Students Putting Their Skills to the Test With Eaton Automotive Internships

Eaton Interns

By Mike McKissack

College of DuPage Engineering students Herven Barham (Aurora) and Tanmay Chaklasiya (Hanover Park) are exploring their field, gaining invaluable skills and experience this summer through internships with Eaton Automotive in Marshall, Mich.

During the internship, Barham is working with Eaton’s Vehicle Group Center of Excellence Teams, assisting them in developing material and inventory control methodologies and best practices. Chaklasiya, meanwhile, will spend his summer at Eaton working in the supercharger division performing tasks related to quality control and testing for future supercharger parts.

“This is my first exposure to the working world and I’m looking forward to gaining some experience,” Barham said. “Eaton has many people who have been there for more than 20 years and these individuals have lots of knowledge and experience that I can learn from and add to my own knowledge to make me a better engineer.”

Having completed the Engineering Pathways program at COD this spring, Barham will transfer to the Engineering program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for the fall semester. Inspired as a child by the television series NOVA, which covered space and the universe, Barham love of both math and science directed him to pursue engineering as that seemed to be a marriage of both disciplines. After earning his Bachelor’s degree at UIUC, Barham would eventually like to earn his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and dreams of starting his own firm creating reusable rockets. 

He said his experiences during the internship will benefit him well in his future education and career.

“Working at Eaton helps me expand the things I know so that in the future I can pull on the valuable things I learned here to make important decisions; whether they be career or education oriented,” Barham said.

For Chaklasiya, working in the supercharger division is a dream situation in that he’s able to help problem-solve in real life situations.

“Every day is different and an adventure where I learn something new,” he said. “The fact that I get to work on real projects and contribute to solving engineering issues while gaining hands-on experience is everything I would have imagined as an engineer.”

Fueled by a fascination with the way things worked since childhood, Chaklasiya enrolled in the engineering program at COD in 2016. Having recently earned his Associate in Science degree in Engineering this spring, Chaklasiya will transfer to the University of Illinois at Chicago this fall to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Industrial Engineering.

“College classes tend to be primarily focused on the theory of a subject rather than its practical application,” he said. “This internship helps to apply those subjects in real world examples and provide experience working in a professional engineering environment. This internship is also great for my resume, enabling me to differentiate myself from other students who have never had hands-on experience in the engineering field.”

Eaton Automotive Lab Manager Mark Farone said the internship opportunity grew from conversations with COD Physics professor Dr. Tom Carter and Engineering professor Dr. David Smith while he worked at the College as an adjunct professor of Physics. 

“In the early years of my tenure at COD, we discussed the opportunities to further enrich the Engineering program with ways to link the students to the industry and provide students with hands on application of core and engineering curriculum,” he said. “A few years down the road, I was very excited to be asked by the COD administration to explore those opportunities on behalf of COD. Eaton corporation has an extensive internship program and with their willingness, we were able to place our first COD student at Eaton’s Automotive Proving Ground last summer.”

He said the internship provides a variety of benefits to the participating students. 

“Industry work experience provides students the opportunity to apply engineering and scientific core curriculum and principles in a real-world setting,” Farone said. “Without an opportunity like this, students’ exposure is usually limited to lab-based experiments in an academic setting. This internship allows students to apply principles to a somewhat unknown situation, offer a solution, test that solution, evaluate the result and, in most cases, make a change and start the process over. Additionally, the students can work side by side with fellow engineers, in many cases, developing career mentorships with their industry peers. Lastly, the students can augment their academic resume with real-world, on-the-job training that corporations desire as they recruit engineering staff.”

Learn more about the Engineering program at College of DuPage.

(Pictured above, left to right: Tanmay Chaklasiya, Mark Farone, and Herven Barham)

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