Garrett Corneliussen is studying welding and fabrication engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Have you always been interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields?
Funny, I actually was not too big on science and math when I was younger. It wasn't until I learned how these subjects are relevant and useful in everyday life that I became enthused. Now, everywhere I look I see STEM, and I never want to stop learning.
What is it about welding that captured your attention?
Taking welding courses in high school, I was instantly drawn to the mix of industry and art that welding provides. It is a skilled trade. It takes a lot of time and effort to get good at it. The challenge was inviting. Once I found out there was so much more opportunity in welding, I knew it would set me up with a prosperous career.
What attracted you to Penn College’s welding and fabrication engineering technology major?
Pennsylvania College of Technology provides a healthy mix of hands-on learning and theory. The welding program provides us with applicable skills that allow us to jump right into industry and make an impact. This hands-on learning method has given me a well-rounded education that allows me to bridge the gap between all aspects of industry, from craft labor to engineering, design and management.
What do you like most about your major?
My major at Penn College combined every aspect of STEM to make us as employable as possible. We learn the science and math through lecture and practice, use technology to see it in action, and combine everything to solve real engineering problems in both the classroom and through internships. I’m impressed and satisfied that I actually use my education every day at work.
Speaking of internships, you have a great one with Tesla. Can you tell us about it?
I am a manufacturing engineer intern at Tesla in Nevada. I’m the main point of contact for all welding and joining operations for the Tesla Model 3 Battery Pack at Gigafactory 1. My team sees the body production lines from early design to full ramp-up. We ensure our automated systems are working as designed and that our welding processes provide the highest quality with the most efficiency. Cycle time is very critical in automotive manufacturing. Our goal is to make every new system better than the last.
Every summer, I’ve had a different internship in a different industry. Tesla is my fourth internship. My work experience and a solid education give me the confidence to pursue the greatest challenges and take on more responsibility. That is how Tesla operates. We use STEM and logic to do things that no one has done before.
Any regrets in pursuing a STEM degree?
I am already working in my dream job, at my dream company. Words cannot describe how thankful I am that I had the guidance to pursue a STEM degree. I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe I would have paid more attention to grade school science and math classes. (This stuff really matters!)