ATC Capstone and Internship

1-18-2017 18:53

Instead of studying for my FAA dispatch written exam like I should be, I’m going to foolishly write this long letter to nobody. As promised in the previous post I’m going to tell you why ATC 484 (ATC Internship) and ATC 491 (ATC Capstone) are important. They’re important for more reasons than just your grade, as they will teach you real life skills and give you something to put on your resume; which I’m guessing is bare because anyone who would have found this is probably a college student with no real world work experience. Most importantly, if done correctly you can combine the two to make your life easier and compound the effect it has on your resume.

ATC 484 for me was incredibly insightful as I did my internship at the Phoenix TRACON (P50) and Tower. Obviously having open access to these facilities is incredible, and an opportunity achievable no where else in life. The internship consisted of two parts: RPO’ing in the tower simulation lab and working in the Quality Control (QC) department. While working in QC can be mundane data entry related tasks, it will teach you valuable skills (which you probably don’t have) that the entire professional world operates under. Not to sound repetitive by harping on college kids, but I feel it necessary as the emphasis will be explained at the end.

RPO’ing in the training department taught me valuable lessons that I could use towards acquiring a job as an RPO for the FAA (not directly for the FAA as they contract out those things). For me personally this would equal a downgrade from my current position. However, it is a solid back up incase where I am at currently doesn’t work out and I am unable to acquire a position in the same field. For your typical college student, I’m sure $15/hr straight out of school sounds like sex. I will eventually get to what/where it is I am currently working, I promise I am not a liar it’s just talking about work when all I do is work activates my gag reflex.

Getting back on course, now its time to talk about ATC Capstone (491), and then how they can tie together. Capstone consists of you working with an industry partner and in the most basic explanation, pitching a solution to a problem they have. For my capstone I worked with the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC). Without getting into incredible detail I made them a way to quantify the data they collected to allow them to gauge the performance of a new program they implemented. More arrogantly speaking I created a quality control program that helps fine tune the efficiency of the entire national airspace system; doubt any other student has done anything that profound.

Stepping back off my high horse it is now that you should see the similarity between what I did for my capstone and working with the QC department for P50. The QC work fed the mind set for creating the capstone project. On top of that I was able to do quite a bit of work for my capstone during my internship. Meaning I was able to do school work during my internship. Now I can add my capstone project on my resume under the FAA Internship section, sky rocketing it upwards far above and beyond anybody else’s experience there. Which is even more important for a college student with limited professional experience to display on a resume. Hopefully that sinks in otherwise I just wasted valuable studying time.

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