Photo: Emily Stolarczyk

Securing that first job after college can seem like a catch-22. To get hired, you need experience…but to get experience, you need that first job. That’s where internships come in — where opportunity meets real world experience. 

“An internship is an experiential opportunity that allows students to gain real-world experience in a field that interests them,” said Jeff Sackaroff, director of Career Services at the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State. “Internships are one of the best ways for students to learn about potential career paths, gain valuable industry experience, grow their professional network and strengthen their career-readiness skills. Additionally, internships allow students to take the concepts learned in the classroom and apply them in a work-place setting, which can be a huge benefit when it comes time to search for a full-time job.”

Our students recently completed internships at a range of well-known clothing brands, the United States government and even the happiest place on Earth. They helped streamline the supply chain at Ralph Lauren, smooth out production at SPANX, make children’s sleepwear safer at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, improve sustainability at Patagonia, dress Mickey and Minnie at Disney and so much more. We asked students from both the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM) and the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science (TECS) to share their experience and advice for those seeking similar opportunities. Read on for their internship insights.


Wilson College of Textiles alumna Marisa Pridgen in mouse ears in front of Disney University buildingMarisa Pridgen ‘19

Major: Fashion and Textile Design with a concentration in Fashion Design and Minor in Nonprofit Studies

Hometown: Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Position: Costumer intern, Disney

Tell us about your internship.

After graduating, I accepted a 6-month professional internship with The Walt Disney Company’s Creative Costuming team based in Orlando, Florida. 

So far my experience has been great with Disney. My leaders are absolutely amazing, I love my team and I’ve gotten to experience so many things while being here so far. A few of the things I get to do from day to day consist of photographing new costumes, editing costume photos in Photoshop, designing textile prints for future costumes, and assisting with fittings and design meetings. My favorite project so far that I was able to be involved with from start to finish were the new Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy Halloween costumes that they wear for this year’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade that will run from now until Halloween at Magic Kingdom. I was in the very first design meeting for these new costumes (my leader manages all Magic Kingdom parades), saw the prototypes that were made along with the designers’ call outs and changes, assisted with the first fittings, and finally attended rehearsals along with the very first showing of the parade this year. As an intern here, I feel that I’m treated like a normal employee — which I love — and if I ever see another job position, department or experience that I would like to shadow for a day or learn more about, my leaders are always willing to connect me to those.

How did you find out about your internship?

I found this internship on Disney’s career website! They upload new internships all the time and they let you apply to as many or as few as you would like.

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job is getting to see all of the new projects and costumes that each team in Creative Costuming are working on. Between the stitchers, cutters, costume assistants, 3D CAD team, production support and managers, everyone seems to be working together and also working on different projects all of the time. Another one of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to go to the parks occasionally to help with fittings on location and take photos on location.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

Typically, I come into the office and have a specific project I start working on as soon as I come in, or my leaders give me a project to work on for the day. We always have costume photos to edit, so I do a lot of work in Photoshop along with a lot of taking photos, working on textile prints and working on other little things that come up.

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

I would recommend applying to as many internships as you can! Of course, only apply to internships you’re interested in, but try and make connections with as many people as you can and get your name out there. Even if you don’t think you have a chance at getting a specific internship, it doesn’t hurt to apply! I never thought I would get an internship with Disney because of how many applicants they have, but here I am!

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned a lot about time management, working with a team, handling having projects that are completely my responsibility to complete, and how to communicate what I want out of my experience to my leader. I feel in any internship, it’s important to be honest with your leaders about what you’re hoping to get out of your internship and what your interests are. Thankfully, my leaders here have been so easy to talk to and communicate with, so they’ve been able to set me up to experience a lot of cool things while I’ve been here. 

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach life after college?

My CAD skills were a big thing that I took from college and was able to apply at my internship and that I use almost everyday. Disney uses software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Clo 3D, Gerber Accumark, body scanning, and electronic cutters all like we have back at school, so definitely take advantage of all the software and machinery you have access to while in school.


Gunnika Ahuja and Sara Blakely at SPANXGunikka Ahuja ‘21

Major: Textile Technology with a concentration in Textile Supply Chain Operations

Hometown: New Delhi, India 

Position: Production intern at SPANX

Tell us about your experience. 

My role required me to work with the production team on ad hoc projects supporting sourcing, such as creating a vendor matrix, creating a vendor sample library and a fabric costing matrix. I was also assigned to find and contact new factories and manufacturers around the world to produce SPANX apparel. I also supported inventory planning with purchase orders to factories and ad hoc analysis and visited the SPANX warehouse once a week to record inventory changes. All these projects and tasks were challenging yet very interesting and fun and what meant the most was that all my input into these projects was actually meaningful and was helping the production team in their daily tasks.

I made some amazing friends and mentors. I took people out for coffee — especially the vice presidents and managers who were doing exactly what I am potentially interested in doing down the line. It was so inspiring to hear about their career paths and how they shaped their careers to get to where they are. These are a few lifelong mentors I look up to and can reach out to when I need them. All the interns are like my family now, who I can meet anytime and expand my network.

How did you find out about your internship?

I always knew I wanted to intern at SPANX. I found the application on their website and reached out to the recruiting manager, expressing my love and enthusiasm for the company.

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job was to attend cross-functional meetings with different teams in the company such as product development, merchandising and production and observe how all the teams collaborate with each other to bring a product to life.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

My day would typically start by checking all my emails and reading current textile news since I was responsible for sharing all the latest trends and information with my team. This was followed by attending any cross-functional meetings or intern project meetings that I have scheduled for that day. Between attending meetings, I would work on all the weekly projects that my manager assigned me, as well as work with all the other interns on our summer project.  

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

Reach out to as many people as you can on Linkedln and don’t be afraid to message or email them. Try to message the recruiter if you can get their contact information. Remember to be passionate and to love that company more than anyone.  

What did you learn from your experience?

This was my first corporate internship and it was an experience of a lifetime. I learned how to prioritize time management, to not be afraid to fail, how to network and make connections with the people in the company, how to work with other departments to achieve your goal and lastly to not be afraid to ask for help. You are there to learn and grow!

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach a new school year and life after college?

Since my concentration is in supply chain operations, some of my classes really helped me better understand what the production job demanded. My textile technology classes were extremely useful in understanding more technical conversations about fabrics and yarns and they also came in handy when I was talking to factories and manufacturers around the world about SPANX products. 

Approaching my junior year as of now and eventually senior year, I am more aware of how to manage my time better to be more efficient. I am more confident about making professional conversations with industry leaders, my peers and professors. Work smart, not hard!

Anything I didn’t ask that you want to add? 

I MET SARA BLAKELY (my dream come true 😊)!


Julia Sheridan in pink blouse with stream in the background

Julia Sheridan ‘21

Major: Fashion and Textile Management, concentration in Textile Brand Management and Marketing

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina 

Position: Marketing and Communications intern at Implus LLC.

Tell us about your experience.

My role as the marketing intern was to communicate with every team at Implus to help find various ways to attract customers to all 20-plus brands Implus has acquired. Additionally, by working with all teams, I was able to help create fluid communication by creating campaigns, organizational updates and team building events. My area was interactive and sectioned off, with each team having their own group of cubicles. My mentors included my boss, Ryan Cruthirds, the executive vice president and chief digital officer of Implus, as well as Ali FauntLeRoy, the corporate communications manager.     

How did you find out about your internship?

The Wilson College of Textiles Career Fair! 

What was your favorite part of the job?

Getting to work with other teams within Implus, such as the digital marketing, product development and hosiery department employees. 

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

Implus is a consumer goods packaging company that owns over 20 brands which specialize in fitness, outdoor sporting goods and foot care products. At Implus, I was able to research all 20 brands and focused on three specific brands for my final project. My internship was very interactive! Throughout the day, I would work with brand managers, the VP of marketing, our communications manager and fellow interns. All these people helped me obtain more knowledge on the brands chosen for my final project. 

After I talked to employees, my projects focused on the three brands I found most interesting and wanted to learn about. In the brand plans, I included all upcoming products for the next year and a half, financial projections and statements, campaigns, merchandising projects, marketing plans and much more. I also helped in rebranding the Implus LinkedIn page, along with other social media platforms. 

Lastly, I worked with the communications manager to send out organizational updates to the entire company. The locations range from Durham, North Carolina, all the way to Hong Kong, Paris, Melbourne and everywhere in between!  

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

Go to the career fair! Even if you are a freshman or sophomore, it is a great way to make connections and see what you may like to look into in the future. Talk to the companies you like as a trial for when you are actively applying for internships and full-time jobs in the future. Also, create a LinkedIn account and search for people that have your dream job. See what activities they participated in and how they obtained their current position. 

What did you learn from your experience?

Through my experience at Implus, I was exposed to the different aspects that a worldwide company has to offer. By working with all the teams, I learned the importance of communication, teamwork and commitment to your duties. I enjoyed seeing all employees work together to find resolutions to problems and getting to meet people of all ages, job types and past experiences. I also learned to ask for help when I did not understand how to do something or where to find information. Bosses and mentors at every internship are excited when you want to learn more and want to help you in any way possible!

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your next year in school — and life after college?

I was able to use past knowledge from my Fashion and Textile Management classes to aid me in making progress in my final project. All my former classes also helped when coming up with marketing campaign ideas and when figuring out what materials were used in certain products.

Those are just two examples, but throughout my entire experience I saw my schoolwork come into play every day! I will be a rising junior this year, so as I approach my junior year I am confident that I have better communication skills with people in the workforce. I have learned to talk to people in positions I want and have also learned what my strengths are in certain positions. I truly believe everything I learned will help me going into junior year, senior year and life after college! 

Anything I didn’t ask that you want to add? 

Regardless if you are a first semester freshman or a transferring senior, go to the career fair. It truly helps and you get to see only a portion of the great companies that target the Wilson College of Textiles students! 


Emily Stolarczyk on San Diego beach 2019Emily Stolarczyk ‘20

Major: Textile Engineering (minor in Materials Science and Engineering)

Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland

Position: Textile Engineering intern at HP Inc. in San Diego, California

Tell us about your experience.

I designed an experiment to make a previously wasteful process more efficient. The ink jet printed textile inks must be cured and fixated. The current process is using a heat press for three minutes which is a waste of time and energy. I was trying to achieve similar results in seconds using an LED lamp.

The work environment itself was super relaxed and not stressful. All of my coworkers were very nice and helpful. I made a lot of intern friends and I got close with one in particular. I am actually going to visit her at Purdue in September. I also had two amazing mentors.

How did you find out about the internship?     

ePack

What did you enjoy most about your internship?

My favorite part of the job was that I was given my project and was allowed to go where I wanted with it. No one was micromanaging. Of course people would give their suggestions, but ultimately I made all of the decisions myself during the course of the internship.

Describe your workday.

A typical day was getting in at 6 a.m. and leaving at 2 p.m. I would get in, check emails and then get some coffee. Usually in the mornings, I would go down to the test bed and run my experiment and in the afternoon, I would work on my reports. If it was a Wednesday or Friday, I would go get bagels and donuts at 9 a.m. I also had two or three meetings every day. Some were in person and others were on Skype with the HP office in Barcelona.     

What is your advice for those seeking an internship?

Apply to as many as you can and EARLY.

What did you learn from your internship?

I learned how to function as a working human being for 40 hours a week. I have always been a shy person, and I think having to constantly give presentations and talk in big meetings has taught me to be less shy.

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your senior year and life after college?

It’s crazy to me how directly my classes applied to my job. I wrote macros in VBA to pull the important data from huge data sheets. I analyzed fabric construction and determined which inks would work best depending on the fiber. I also helped a lot of my coworkers statistically analyze data in JMP. After having that internship, I have more of a feel of what I enjoy doing in industry. I like experimenting, so that will be good to know going into senior year.


Julia Koehler in mountains wearing a turquoise Patagonia jacketJulia Koehler ‘20

Major: Polymer and Color Chemistry

Hometown: Oxford, Pennsylvania

Position: Materials R&D Intern at Patagonia in Ventura, California.

Please tell us about your experience. 

My role as the Materials R&D intern was to provide support to the Materials team and Color Quality engineers. My mentor and my manager had both graduated from Wilson College of Textiles with PCC degrees as well; it was great to have their support and advice heading back to complete my last year of school, and I know these individuals will serve as mentors throughout the rest of my career. 

Ventura has a small beach town feel, with incredible surf breaks steps from headquarters. If the conditions were good, many employees would have a scheduled ‘board meeting’…location: Pacific Ocean. There were 12 other interns this summer that I bonded with through intern climbing and backpacking trips in the beautiful scenery that California offers.

How did you find out about your internship?

I found the role posted on Patagonia’s Careers page. I applied in the fall when the applications opened.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The company culture encourages their employees to get out and explore what makes our home planet worth saving, and it’s amazing that the interns get to be a part of that. I was so motivated by the initiatives Patagonia is taking to create sustainable and positive impacts within the textile industry. Being able to contribute to those efforts confirmed why I am seeking a degree in textiles, and was my favorite part of the position.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

A typical day on the job would consist of helping to approve lab dips with the color team, communicating with suppliers on color or quality issues, working on my assigned project of microfiber shedding, yoga class or surfing at lunch, and then pursuing any passion projects I initiated throughout the 12 weeks.

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

Don’t be afraid to reach out and take advantage of Wilson College of Textiles alumni who are in an area of work that you’re interested in. Connect with your professors on what experience you’re trying to gain, whether that be in research, work or graduate programs, and get excited about the endless opportunities a Wilson College of Textiles degree will offer you!

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned so much about the quality standards required for products that have to perform for years on end — and in extreme alpine settings. I gained invaluable experience designing and executing experiments that prove the functionality of a material, while meeting the social and environmental responsibilities Patagonia upholds.

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your senior year and life after college?

I learned how to confidently make decisions in a fast-paced environment and appreciate the teamwork that goes into creating a high-performance material or product. It was so fulfilling to see the skills I’ve gained as a PCC major in action with a sustainable goal in mind. Most importantly, I learned how to have a voice in pushing the textile industry in utilizing cleaner dyeing and manufacturing processes. As I enter my senior year, I am thrilled to share that I will be a Patagonia Campus Organizer here at NC State, allowing students to engage in Patagonia’s mission of saving our home planet.


Jonathan Bethel gestures at Ralph Lauren sign on the wall beside himJonathan Bethel ‘20

Major: Textile Technology, concentration in Supply Chain Operations

Hometown: High Point, North Carolina

Position: Supply Chain Planning and Optimization intern at Ralph Lauren 

Tell us about your internship.

Over the course of the internship, I tracked and analyzed inbound purchase orders totaling over 1.62 million units, as well as took on daily analyst reporting duties. I worked with the Supply Chain Planning and Optimization team to provide up-to-date visibility to all areas of the company, so that everyone had a clear understanding of where their product was at all times. Using lots of Excel spreadsheets, online data platforms and email communication, I tracked and prioritized purchase orders to streamline transportation of goods. 

Ralph Lauren’s primary distribution centers and warehouses are in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, so the core of their supply chain teams have corporate offices in Greensboro/High Point, which is where I was located. It was only about a 10-minute drive from my house.

The team I worked on was so welcoming and friendly, and they really took me under their wing to ensure I learned as much as I could about their jobs and Ralph Lauren’s end-to-end supply chain. I became close with everyone on my team, and still text with them regularly in a group chat. Not only did we become close on a personal level, but they also served as valuable professional mentors, and I know I can count on any of them for references, networking or career help in the future.

How did you find out about your internship?

I don’t remember exactly, but I found this while searching for major-related jobs on indeed.com or ePack. Having grown up in High Point, I knew of Ralph Lauren’s presence, so I was excited to see that they had an internship opportunity in my field of interest.

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of this experience has been being made to feel like I’m a valued part of the team and actually getting to do meaningful work for the company, and in turn getting to see the results of my work throughout the products’ supply chains. I actually got real-world exposure to the industry and made a tangible impact on it.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

I’d arrive to the office around 8:30 a.m., grab coffee from the break room, and sit down at my cubicle to go through emails for about an hour. Usually around 10 a.m., there would be some sort of team meeting to discuss the business, if there was anything important for us to be aware of, any pertinent current events (nationally or internationally) that could impact our supply chain, things like that. From there, I’d either go shadow another analyst for a while or start working on some of my daily reporting duties. Around noon I’d take a break for lunch, then get right back to my reporting duties. In the afternoons, there were usually one or two conference calls with production, sales and supply chain teams about product flow for certain product divisions. Like I said above, most of my duties involved Excel spreadsheets with extensive use of Pivot Tables, online data platforms and email communication. 

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

My advice would be [to] be diligent in your search for an internship, and don’t be discouraged by rejections. I applied to over 50 internships last year and only got offers from two of them, whereas the year before I got offered an internship with the first company I met at a career fair — sometimes it really can just be the luck of the draw. Additionally, try to choose a company that will value your input and has a dedicated program with experience hosting interns. The inclusion and support I felt from my team this past summer made all the difference for me. 

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned a lot about how large companies operate on a day-to-day basis, how individuals work together on teams and how teams work together to achieve company goals. Being in a corporate work setting was a completely new experience for me, so it was invaluable for me as far as understanding what kind of work setting I’d like to be in after I graduate. Additionally, it was just very interesting getting to see how such a large corporation’s supply chain works from end-to-end.

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your senior year and life after college?

To be honest, most of what I did and learned at my internship was new to me. A lot of the terms and acronyms I had never heard before, and I was mostly working with data platforms that were all new to me. I’d say the one transferable skill I had from school was knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and just general email etiquette. 


Rosemary Edberg in black dress and converse shoes in front of Converse shoe art installation that looks like dozens of black Converse shoes hanging from long stringsRosemary Edberg ‘20

Major: Textile Engineering 

Hometown: Mora, Minnesota

Position: Color and Materials Operations Intern at Converse

Tell us about your experience.

In my role, I worked on color achievability and assisted designers on materials activations. I frequently communicated with suppliers to update materials information, produce color samples and learn more about the new materials they offer.

The internship was in Boston, Massachusetts, and our headquarters were on the Charles River, which made for beautiful views. Boston itself is a city full of history (and great seafood!). 

The internship also included a summer-long group project with other interns, who became my close friends during the summer. My functional team was also extremely supportive and gave me a lot of professional and personal advice.

How did you find out about your internship?

ePack! I saw it on NC State’s career website and applied. 

What was your favorite part?

Working with such creative people with unique backgrounds. All of my coworkers — and members of the other teams we worked with — had such a wealth of knowledge that I would learn something new every day. 

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

Every day was different, but a normal day usually consisted of responding to suppliers via email, having suppliers show my team their upcoming season’s offerings, attending meetings with design teams on certain materials activations, and having one-on-ones with other employees to learn about their roles. 

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

Apply early and to a lot of opportunities. Utilize your connections and try to create as many as possible – through career fairs, conferences or organizations. 

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned that the most valuable skills that you need for your job aren’t directly learned in class. Soft skills like communication, team management and public speaking are all things that take a lot of practice to become proficient and will get you the farthest in your career. 

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your senior year and life after college?

PCC 301 and TE 201 were valuable. The experience I gained this summer will help me in Senior Design, where communication with the sponsor and potential suppliers is key. Gaining exposure in such a large company will help me continue my career in the footwear/sportswear industry and has given me a lot of connections that I can utilize after graduation. 


Furkan Kose in suit and tie against neutral backgroundFurkan Kose ‘22

Major: Undeclared (Textile Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Statistics intent)

Hometown: Syracuse, New York (family currently lives in Cary, North Carolina)

Position: Product Development/Innovation intern on the Global Innovation Team at Kontoor Brands, parent company of Wrangler, Lee and Rock & Republic.

Tell us more about your experience.

One of my primary roles was working as a wearable electronics product developer both in the corporate/office environment at Kontoor’s Revolution Mills Headquarters as well as in a lab setting in the company’s space at the Greensboro Innovation Center. The overall environment was very lively and conducive to learning, collaboration and personal growth.

My responsibilities included both front-end and back-end innovation and research. Specifically, I conducted a vendor search for engineering firms with experience in integrating electronics and their respective control systems onto textiles. In order to maximize supply chain efficacy, I targeted companies in specific regions that were innately flexible and versatile with their capabilities. Simultaneously, I developed quality assurance and quality control testing procedures to confirm the safety of products and verify vendor claims and specs.

Additionally, I conducted market research and created industry reports which I then presented to executives across 10 departments. This included a survey of “what is out there,” as well as implementable business strategies and best practices to keep in mind. I also helped facilitate and set up interactive presentations to company shareholders and executives as a stage crew member.

I made several friends and mentors from various backgrounds including my superiors and peers. I developed relationships with other interns through complimentary career development seminars and group projects. It was a really cool experience, as there were several other Wilson College of Textiles alumni for me to interact with.

How did you find out about your internship?

I found out about this internship in an email from our very own Jeff Sackaroff.

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job was being able to leverage and genuinely apply my research experience in Dr. Jesse Jur’s Nano-EXtended Textiles Research Group (NEXT) right here at the Wilson College of Textiles to the industry setting. I really enjoyed the opportunity to directly apply what I’ve learned about the research & design process and the world of wearables.  

Furthermore, I got to build on my technical/electrical skill set and apply it to the business environment in the corporate world. Essentially, my favorite part of the internship was its interdisciplinary nature and direct connection to my research experience and interests.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

There was a lot of disparity in the different kinds of work I did. Nonetheless, a typical day at the job would start with a one hour commute to Greensboro. I would then either head to the corporate headquarters or lab depending on my assigned project/work for the day. I would also have several meetings during the week and a presentation to prepare for and give every week during the second half of the internship.

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

The best advice I would give is to keep applying regardless of how early it is or how qualified you think you are. I applied as a Freshman to [more than] 10 research and internship positions of all tiers before landing this internship. Essentially, keep an open mind and stay positive as you never really know until you try. As cliché as it sounds, you almost inevitably have to fail at least a couple times before your first shot lands. Don’t lose your confidence. Your value/skill set does not decrease because of someone else’s inability to see your worth at a given time.

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned what it actually takes to commercialize a wearable in the industry and all the challenges that come with the corporate environment. I learned how to give presentations in extremely stressful environments and to create value and insight to executives who are already experts in their field. I learned about what exactly consumer insights research entails and the importance of developing business strategies and products based directly on consumer wants/needs instead of on just “cool” ideas.

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach this school year and life after college?

Since I am only a sophomore, I didn’t have a lot of class material that translated to my internship. However, in my TE 105 class, one of my assignments was to meet with professors at the Wilson College of Textiles for a research assignment. I met with Dr. Emiel DenHartog, who does work on firefighting apparel. One of the specific challenges he works on is defining physiological comfort, which was one of my responsibilities when developing quality assurance and quality control procedures this summer. 

What else would you like to tell us about yourself?  

In summary, I am an intrinsically motivated student pursuing engineering with a passion for wearable electronics and business, demonstrated through my research and internship experience.  Working for [more than] three years as a research assistant in the NEXT Research Group at the Wilson College of Textiles has given me a first-hand look at the vast potential that smart clothing and self-powered wearables have to offer. I am extremely excited about the impact to be made in the advancement of health informatics, sports and the overall quality of everyday life.  The underlying technology is increasingly mature, while the challenge lies in the commercialization of said wearables.

I am constantly looking for new opportunities to build on my experiences and truly bring at-scale wearables to the general market. Ideally, I would love to combine my passion for sports and wearables through an internship at Adidas, Nike or Under Armour. I am also increasingly interested in data analytics/data science and am pursuing industry experience in that field.


Melanie Katherine in plaid sleeveless blouse and tan knit beanieMelanie Katherine ‘20

Degree: Master of Science in Textiles (minor, Textile Engineering) 

Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama 

Position: Student Trainee-Physical Sciences (Textile Technologist) at U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Tell us about your experience.

CPSC is a regulatory government agency in Rockville, Maryland, outside of D.C., focused on protecting the public from “unreasonable risks” associated with consumer products. My position was largely focused on flammability testing and hazard reduction for children’s sleepwear, general wearing apparel, mattresses, carpets and rugs. 

I had the opportunity to network with industry professionals and gained some amazing colleagues, including a [Wilson College of Textiles at NC State] alumna. Additionally, I explored so many Smithsonian institutions, the United States Capitol, the Library of Congress, and tons of monuments. 

How did you find out about your internship?

NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles Spring Career Fair

What is your favorite part of the job?

Being in the Flamm lab.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

No day is typical, but most involved some combination of research, compliance testing and regulatory support and development.

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

Network, attend career fairs and carry yourself with confidence. Don’t be nervous, be prepared.

What did you learn from your experience?

Applying research and knowledge towards practical application.

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach the next year and life after university?

With a combination of a background in fashion and textiles…an understanding of supply chains, textile construction, fiber identification, and definitely Dr. Roger Barker’s Clothing Comfort and Personal Protection Science class. I intend to use flammability research in my thesis and am interested in continuing with a government position in the future. 


Wilson College of Textiles student Nilesh Rajendran in red shirt next to large metal wolf sculptureNilesh Rajendran ‘20

Major: Textile Technology with a concentration in Supply Chain Operations 

Minor: Business Administration

Hometown: Tamil Nadu, India

Position: Continuous Process Improvement Intern at the Elevate Textiles manufacturing plant in Rockingham, North Carolina

Tell us about your internship.

I worked with the quality data and machine data to find correlations between them to predict the quality loss data. The team at the plant was open to help me whenever I was stuck, and created a very good environment for me to learn quickly about the processes. I felt like a family with the team at Rockingham. 

How did you find out about your internship?

Wilson College of Textiles Career Fair

What is your favorite part of the job?

Working with a team with more than 30 years of experience in textiles helped me learn more about the field.

Can you describe a typical day on the job?

Collaborated with the operations and planning team to predict warp-outs and predict quality loss and ways to improve them.

What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?

You’ll stumble upon rejections, and little to no communication, but it isn’t the end. Keep trying. Also, once you get an internship and start working, it is very important to respect the experience of people.

What did you learn from your experience?

“Treat every problem as an opportunity to improve.”

How did you use your education in your internship? What will you take from your internship as you approach your senior year and life after college?

The classes helped me understand the processes quickly, and I was able to use the knowledge to create a formula to predict warp-outs of the looms. Similarly, I will look at all problems as an opportunity to improve and grow myself as a person both [in and out of] class.



Text "Internships 101" in black over background divided diagonally in red and white

Internship advice from Jeff Sackaroff, Career Services director:

When should I begin thinking about an internship?

Most students will complete at least one internship while in college, usually  during the summer preceding their senior/graduation year. However, there are internship opportunities that are available during the school year as well, should your schedule allow it.  It’s not uncommon for some students to complete more than one internship during their time in the Wilson College of Textiles, so don’t feel like you have to wait until your final year in school.  In fact, many employers specifically target sophomores and junior internship candidates!

Can I receive academic credit or pay for my internship?

While there is a for-credit option available to some FTD and FTM majors, the vast majority of Wilson College of Textiles students will receive compensation, rather than credit, for their internships.  The general internship wage ranges between $10-$20 an hour, depending on location and industry. With that said, there are some, though not many, internships that are unpaid. It’s up to the individual student to determine if the experience gained through an unpaid internship is worth the time.  

What should I expect during my internship?

Ideally, your internship experience should consist of meaningful, career-related tasks and projects that allow you to gain a true sense of what it’s like to work in a particular field. Additionally, you should have a mentor/supervisor who is responsible for overseeing your experience to ensure that you are learning and growing throughout your time with them.  While you may be occasionally asked to perform administrative/non-skills based tasked, the bulk of your time should not be spent making copies or fetching coffee! You and your supervisor should sit down and outline your role, tasks, responsibilities and expectations prior to you starting your internship.  

How do I find an internship?

The Wilson College of Textiles provides numerous opportunities for students to explore internship options.  Each year, we host 2 career fairs and post hundreds of positions in ePACK.  In addition, students are encouraged to utilize LinkedIn and leverage our alumni and employer database to grow their network and learn about new opportunities.  It’s also recommended that you attend the Wilson College of Textiles career-related workshops or schedule an appointment with Jeff Sackaroff, director of Career Services.

Make plans to attend the next Career Fair on Thursday, October 3, 2019!

 

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