Elaine Vallejos’s journey has taken her from Chile (where she was born) to Allentown (her hometown) to Philadelphia and Temple Engineering. Now, the mechanical engineering major and Temple Formula Racing team member is back from a seven-month summer internship with Tesla in Fremont, California. Her interest in engineering was sparked in high school.
“I was good at physics...and liked the idea of designing something structural and physical, without limiting myself to buildings or bridges,” she said.
“Every day at Tesla is completely different,” she added. “I’m on a project management team, so my role is to lead whatever project is given to me. Some days are crazier with multiple different line trials where I get to see if my planning paid off and if there are any issues that need to be resolved to continue production.”
Vallejos also works to coordinate cross-functional teams to complete a project or part introduction, while also working part-time with other teams, such as controls engineers.
“For two months, I would spend the day troubleshooting issues on lifters and conveyors on the general assembly line,” she said.
Though she entered the internship feeling prepared, her steepest learning curve was learning about the company, itself. As a project manager she says, “depend on those around me and they depend on me to keep them informed and for me to be informed and on track.”
What’s next on her journey? Maybe Tesla.
“After graduation I know that I want to start working full time, I would love to come back to Tesla, or Silicon Valley in general, but right now I am keeping my options open because I still have time to apply and see what works best for me. I want to either work as a process engineer or pursue an MBA.”
Did you pursue interesting internship experiences over the summer? Let us know!