#NDSUintern Spotlight: Trentin Russell

Major: Mechanical Engineering – Company: Tesla  – Location of Internship: Fremont, CA – Internship Title: Seats Design Engineering Intern

  • Why did you choose the company that you work for?
    • I chose to work for Tesla because they are the leading electric vehicle manufacturer. Tesla is the forefront of the EV industry. They are also a relatively young company so opportunities for career growth are plentiful and happen much sooner than most other companies. Having the opportunity to work around and on some of the most advanced electric vehicle technology was just something I couldn’t pass up.
  • What were some of the requirements for your internship?
    My role as an intern yielded much more responsibility than expected. I was in charge of the Model S Plaid second row middle armrest. My role was to design and initiate interim and permanent engineering changes to the armrest itself to further improve its condition. I worked on multiple other parts that are on the Model S seats as well but my main role was to improve the armrest.
  • What is your favorite part about your internship experience?
    • My favorite part about my internship experience was having the ability to drive the engineering fleet vehicles. Engineering fleet vehicles are Tesla’s that we can use to test out prototype parts. We also had the opportunity to drive them for leisure. Out of all the Tesla vehicles, the Model Y is the best.
  • What is the most challenging part of your internship? How have you overcome these obstacles? 
    • The most challenging part of my internship was learning how to use the 3D modeling software known as Catia. This software is not taught at NDSU and is extremely not user friendly. All in all I had to teach myself how to use this software. Eventually I overcame the obstacle and was able to do some basic design work in Catia.
  • How did you find your internship?
    • Through your own self-guided research
  • Why was it beneficial for you to register for credit(s) through the Internship Program offered through the Career and Advising Center?
    • It was very beneficial to register my internship for credits. I was able to receive 3 tech elective credits for the internship. That saves me a class to take!
  • What advice would you give a student who is in the process of applying for an internship?
    • My advice is “Apply, apply, apply” apply to all engineering internships available. Apply to internships outside of your specific major. If you’re a mechanical engineering major don’t be afraid to apply for an industrial engineering internship. For your first internship take what you can get. Beggars can’t be choosers and with no experience under your belt you’re still a beggar in the eyes of the industry. Don’t let your pride get in the way of kickstarting your career. Also, in interviews, try to talk mostly about projects that you have done where you were able to apply some technical knowledge from your major. This lets the employer know that you’re capable of more than regurgitating information from lectures and a textbook

By Rachana Wright
Rachana Wright Graduate Assistant - Internship Program