Internships are of value to both the intern and the organization for which they work. There are several benefits in completing an internship including learning to balance teamwork skills with working independently. Internships also offer organizations and students the opportunity to explore potential job matches with academic and personal interests. CAR’s internship program strives to achieve a blend of learning with real-world work skills.
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) has been in operation since the early 1980s when it was known as The Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation or OSAT at the University of Michigan. In the beginning, OSAT had three full-time employees, and soon after operations began, started the interns program. CAR has been an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 2003.
Throughout CAR’s history, there have always been interns around the office assisting on projects, attending CAR’s Management Briefing Seminars, and building impactful relationships with staff and others in the industry. Since 2008, CAR has employed over 45 interns, some of which have gone on to become senior analysts, engineers, lawyers, district managers, directors, and five currently on staff have become full-time CAR researchers.
In the past year, CAR interns have had the opportunity to work alongside staff members on various topics, including: connected and automated vehicle technologies and new mobility business models; mixed materials and joining processes; sales, production, and employment trends; and trade issues. In addition to assisting on various projects, this past summer the interns had the opportunity to research a topic of their choosing, receive guidance and feedback from senior CAR researchers, and present the results to the entire CAR staff. CAR has been fortunate to have had so many bright, talented individuals working throughout the years as student interns.
CAR currently has three interns working with us this fall: Danielle Mathiesen, Jack Ombry, and Brett Zeuner. Danielle has been with CAR for three years, Jack over a year, and Brett started earlier this year. Each of the interns works directly for the Industry, Labor, and Economics group (ILE) and report to Yen Chen, Senior Economist for ILE.
Originally from White Lake, Michigan, Danielle is currently finishing her last semester at Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Actuarial Science and Economics. During her time at Eastern Michigan, she served as the Vice President of the Economics Club, and enjoyed playing tennis and running in her free time. During the summer, Danielle lived in Chicago and worked for Arthur J. Gallagher as an Underwriting Intern in her chosen field of study. Danielle is actively pursuing her associateship at the Society of Actuaries and has currently passed one out of seven exams needed to obtain her associateship.
Danielle has plans to backpack through Europe over the holidays before starting her full-time position as an Actuarial Analyst at Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company. Even though Danielle will no longer work directly in the auto industry, she continues to have a passion for cars. She recently purchased a Subaru BRZ with intentions to start racing at track events.
“CAR has given me the framework necessary for the rest of my career. Over my three years at CAR, I have improved my communication, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and perhaps most importantly I have made lifelong friends.”
Jack is from Rockford, Michigan just outside of Grand Rapids. He is currently a junior at the University of Michigan studying marketing with a minor in music. Jack enjoys learning about Asia and has been studying Mandarin Chinese since age 14. Among his many talents, Jack is a trumpet player in the Michigan Marching Band and Michigan Basketball Band.
Upon graduating, Jack plans to work in the music and music products industry for 2 to 5 years before returning to school to obtain his Masters in Public Policy and Ph.D. in Economics. Eventually, Jack would like to work in the public sector analyzing consumer behavior to inform policy decisions.
“The environment here at CAR is outstanding. From my fellow interns to upper-level management, everyone is so welcoming and willing to help from day one. This atmosphere combined with in-depth research opportunities makes this a great place to work.”
Brett graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and a double minor in Mathematics and Sustainability, and is currently attending the University of Michigan, pursuing a Master’s Degree from the newly founded School for the Environment and Sustainability (formerly the SNRE).
While at Eastern, Brett founded a chapter of the Food Recovery Network, a student-led organization that recovers and donates surplus food from campus dining halls. He also interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a larger two-year research fellowship. In his master’s program, Brett focuses on issues related to urban air quality, and has applied for a dual-degree with the School of Public Health in the biostatistics department. He plans to combine these two degrees with his skills in GIS for spatial statistic applications to environmental health.
“Though it might sound like my studies are not relevant to automotive research, I chose to work at CAR to develop a better understanding of the automotive industry and to improve upon my research skills in an area that both interests and intimidates me. Policies that are cognizant of how the auto industry operates can help improve the health of people and the environment while also minimizing the economic burden for the industry; this concept is something I am very interested in.”
Looking forward, Brett hopes to work for the federal government; at first, full-time for the U.S. EPA and then possibly as a member of the Michigan delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brett’s goal is to help develop and implement policies that balance social, environmental, and economic factors for a sustainable future.