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Internship Success - Andrew Ricker

The Orange County Bridge |2| Engineering Program is a cohort-based learning community at Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, Cal State Fullerton & UC Irvine that focuses on increasing the participation of unrepresented minorities, women, and veterans in the field of engineering. The program will help participants explore careers in engineering and place them on an academic pathway to become engineers. Recently, Saddleback College B2E student, Andrew Ricker had the opportunity to write about the multiple internship opportunities he’s experienced through the program at NASA Jet Propulsion LaboratorySwift Engineering & Freedom Innovations.

“We all have our paths in life. Originally, the military was my path but when I got out I needed to find a new one. Due to the GI Bill, school was a great option for me but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. After going to Saddleback College for a semester I learned about the Bridge To Engineering (B2E) program. I have always been intrigued with how things work and enjoy being creative so I decided to give it a shot.

Since I joined I have been first in line for the classes I need and received free tutoring from tutors who are specifically assigned to help those of us in B2E. Also, with the help of B2E I’ve been launched into the world of engineering, gaining experience only few ever have the opportunity to receive. The program has a great system that places students in reputable internships. Their reach is so deep that my first internship was at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a NASA facility. During my 10 week internship at JPL I was responsible for designing various parts for a robot whose purpose is to land on asteroids to collect samples and data. Never have I thought I would be designing parts that would end up in outer space my first year in college! Surprisingly, it did not stop there.

I was given another internship opportunity at a business called Swift Engineering, an aerospace company. This place was up my ally because they have a history in auto racing and work on advanced military/civilian aircraft. I specifically worked on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) currently in use. I did not do much designing while I was there though I did make a significant impact in the efficiency of producing this product. Designing a product is one thing, manufacturing it is quite another and very important to know when designing a product. Currently, I am working a third internship with a company called Freedom Innovations, located in Irvine, California. This company designs prosthetics with both advanced materials and smart technology. They are the way of the future with fully automated legs that move just like a real limb! Here I have been assisting in a project with design, building and testing which utilizes a conglomeration of the experiences learned in my previous internships.

For more information, visit

Program made possible by funding from the Department of Labor and the City of Santa Ana.  This program is an equal opportunity program. Auxiliary aids and service are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.


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