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Internships and More Internships Drive Textile Student’s Career

Wilson College Campus

Internships and the invaluable on-the-job experiences they provide have not only been Wilson College of Textiles senior Adam Barksdale’s favorite aspect of college, they have helped him launch his career.

Since arriving at NC State in 2010, Barksdale, who will graduate May 7 with his bachelor’s degree in textile engineering with an information systems design concentration, has completed four internships. Two were completed at NASA Langley Research Center in his hometown of Hampton, Va., in 2011 and 2012. A 2014 internship was with Technimark, an injection molding company; and the last was with bedding provider Tempur Sealy in the summer of 2015.

In addition to the industry and technical knowledge he picked up as a LARSS intern at NASA, a quality engineer intern with Technimark, and a global product development intern with Tempur Sealy (“I helped in making sure your mattress lasts 10 years”), Barksdale learned how to problem solve and work with different kinds of people.

“They all provided different experiences. But each helped me figure out what I liked to do and what I didn’t. They helped me with my job hunt and with interviewing. I had so much experience that I could talk about when I sat down with interviewers,” he said.

The result of those interviews is a position with car manufacturer Nissan. Barksdale will relocate to Farmington Hills, Mich., after graduation. There he will work as an interior trim product engineer.

“Everything in a car minus the seats and the dashboard is interior trim,” said Barksdale who is excited to work in the automotive industry.

Nissan also appealed to him because of their commitment to community involvement. The company recently received the Chairman’s Award from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The award recognizes Nissan’s commitment to NSBE’s mission to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

Community service is near and dear to Barksdale. Since his freshman year, he has been an involved member of NC State’s Collegiate 100, an auxiliary organization to the 100 Black Men of America. The organization’s purpose it to assist the 100 Black Men to “develop the social, educational, emotional, and physical needs of the young black males who are in need of positive role models.” Barksdale was able to do just that by mentoring students at A. B. Combs Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh.

“I worked with them on leadership and had the chance to get them excited about college and engineering,” he said.

Barksdale, who started college as a mechanical engineering major before transferring to textiles because it better fit his interests, said his NC State experience has been one he’ll never forget.

“I’ve enjoyed it so much. Hanging out with friends. Being at a place where faculty and staff make sure that I am succeeding, it’s been great,” he said.