In 2016 Hashim Al Lawati was a Product Quality Engineering Intern at Third Wave Systems, a CAE software and services provider based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Today, he’s one of Third Wave’s Lead Engineers, responsible for mentoring the next wave of incoming interns.

“When anybody asks me why I stayed at Third Wave my first answer is really the people. I love the small company nature of it,” Al Lawati said.

As an intern, Al Lawati was given many opportunities to work on different projects, which helped him learn more about the company and develop more valuable skillsets. That’s the kind of experience he wanted for Third Wave’s newest Engineering Intern Karlyn Gahnz.

Gahnz started her academic career as a mathematics major at St. Olaf, but found she wanted something in STEM that allowed for a bit more creativity.

“I was talking to my brother, who is a computer engineer, and I was telling him, ‘I wish I could do something that’s math but also creative. How can I combine them?’” Gahnz recalled. “And he said, ‘What are you talking about, that’s engineering in a nutshell.’ He recommended I try mechanical engineering because of the design aspect of it. So, I took my first design class and I said, ‘this is it. This is what I want to do.’”

Gaining an advantage
As an Engineering Intern, Gahnz was a part of a team that is redesigning the user interface for Third Wave’s machining simulation software, AdvantEdge. This required her to work closely with CAD software, rending and exporting her designs.

The project, she said, was a great learning experience and it’s given Gahnz a leg up in the design classes she’s currently taking at the University of St. Thomas.

“The Solid Works portion was a lot easier for me because I’ve had that experience of practicing every day, doing a certain number of hours of CAD. So I think it is an advantage for sure.” Said Gahnz.

All for one
Now experienced at hosting internships, Third Wave does what it can to ensure Gahnz and all their students have the support they require. Interns are put on a product team, Al Lawati explained, with biweekly demos to stakeholders, where they can receive feedback on their work. The evaluation that’s given is on the deliverables the team presents as a whole.

“It gives everyone motivation to help the intern excel,” Al Lawati said, “because at the end of the day, it’s their success as a collective team.”

“It’s been a huge confidence boost for me to have this internship,” Gahnz affirmed. “It’s given me perspective into what engineers actually do and to hear that I’m contributing to that is cool.”

From part-time to full-time
The work that Gahnz did at Third Wave this spring will be incorporated into the software released to customers, helping them better understand the use of the product to improve their machining processes.

In retrospect, Gahnz was very grateful for the experience, she said, “It’s the most fun job I’ve had. I don’t really feel like I’m working. And everyone I’ve met has been so incredibly nice. I’ve really loved this experience and continue to love it. I’m really excited to work for Third Wave and learn all I can.”

Gahnz’ part-time internship will soon come to an end but, like Al Lawati, her time with Third Wave will continue, having accepted another internship at Third Wave over the summer before returning to St. Thomas for her senior year.

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