Michael Paolicchi

Company: Hamilton Sundstrand - United Technologies
Company URL: http://www.hamiltonsundstrand.com
School: Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
High School: Morton West High School
Expected Graduation: May 2009


When I was applying to colleges, I really had no idea where I wanted to go. I was accepted to several colleges - IIT, U of I, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, Cal Poly, and Purdue. I decided that I wanted a larger school that also had a smaller feel to it and a strong engineering program. Purdue's freshman orientation week (Boiler Gold Rush) and Freshman Engineering Learning Community gave me that feel.

Through Boiler Gold Rush and the learning community, I ended up meeting a lot of the friends that I continue to hang out with going into my fifth and final year at Purdue.

I had never thought very much about the Co-Op program, but when the Co-Op interviews came around, I figured, "Why pass up the opportunity to talk with companies?” So, I interviewed with 6 different companies and received offers from a few of them. One of the offers really interested me. Hamilton Sundstrand works on aerospace power systems. I thought that working there would be really interesting, and they also had a really strong Co-Op program with over 50 students there each semester.

So, here I am now. I just finished up my fifth and final work session, and I cannot imagine not going through the program. My sessions included working on failure analyses in the Reliability group, assisting with testing on units on the Space  Shuttle, testing and simulation work on generators on the Boeing 787, working in a lab setup of the entire 787 power system, and working on HS-specific units on the 787 to achieve FAA approval.

It's incredible to think that three years after starting the Co-Op program that I am on my way to graduating and already have a year and a half of work experience under my belt! I have no doubt that this experience will put me leaps and bounds ahead of many other students when I interview with companies this fall.

Through working at Hamilton Sundstrand, I've become extremely proficient at programming in Excel, learned tons about how the aerospace industry works, and more generally how a big company operates. Most importantly, I've learned that to be a successful engineer you have to interact with many different people to complete a single project. In my opinion, it's also not enough to consider myself exclusively an Electrical Engineer. I must also be familiar with the repercussions my decisions will have in other fields of engineering, the business side, and even legal aspects.