How Jordan Tatgenhorst Found Fulfillment in On-the-Job Training

As a mechanical engineering major, senior Jordan Tatgenhorst secured an internship at Komatsu America Corp. with the System and Components group and Vehicle Development Group, working with truck applications and new products.

Although several of her courses prepared her for the experience, she acknowledges most of what she learned on the job can’t be taught in a classroom but through on-the-job training and actively performing tasks.

“The most important thing is to constantly search for opportunities that aren’t immediately provided to you because they often lead to the most gratifying experiences,” she said.

Bradley encourages mechanical engineering students to participate in internships for professional development. Tatgenhorst embraced the opportunity and put her engineering skills to task, designing and making a bracket for a piece of machinery.

“I ended up making and presenting three brackets that could potentially fit in different spaces,” she said, noting how her team provided feedback and ways to improve the design. “They ended up using the bracket at the proving grounds in their testing kit. It was very cool to see it being used. I felt like I did something important.”

Flying to Komatsu’s testing facilities in Arizona to observe their testing procedures was a highlight of the internship. Not to mention, it was her first time flying solo without her parents. Sometimes the journey is half the experience!

Encouraged by the internship, Tatgenhorst came away more self-assured and confident.

“I always had self-doubt when I didn’t know how to do something, or if it didn’t come naturally. However, working with a team showed me that I don’t have to be an expert in everything, and I don’t have to be the smartest to be successful.

“If I am passionate about something, then success will find me.”

 — Emily Potts