STEM Intern of the Year: Teresa McKinney!

Teresa on site.

Many STEM students participate in internships during their college career. One STEM student, Teresa McKinney, has won the STEM Intern of the Year. The STEM Intern of the Year award is given to a student that has shown a high quality of work, has shown initiative, has completed presentations, and has had an impact on the company with whom they have worked.

Teresa McKinney, a senior Mechanical Engineering student, has accomplished a great deal in her college career. While she has held several internships, one of her most memorable ones was her internship at Nucor Steel Auburn, Inc. During her internship at Nucor she gained much more than just the experience as an engineer, she gained a family. For Teresa, her Nucor internship was life changing.

“I learned how to be a real engineer, worked on projects, and met some amazing people at the mill,” Teresa says. “[They] ‘adopted’ me and guided me throughout the summer, and I hope we will remain friends well into the future.”

Teresa took a summer off from interning in 2012, after her sophomore year of college, to study abroad. While she may have not been interning, she still learned and experienced much more than the average student. Even though she spent much of her summer semester on a ship traveling the Mediterranean and visiting countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece with the Semester at Sea program, she was able to balance classes at each port they visited. In 2010, Teresa also spent a week at the Gerace Research Center in the Bahamas. There, she explored caves, ruins, and other natural phenomena.

Teresa with her coworkers.

The North Jackson native often jokes that her father must have really wanted sons, but got a daughter first. With the strong work ethic and passion for how things work her father instilled while working on projects together, Teresa chose Mechanical Engineering for her future. After applying and being accepted into several colleges, Teresa felt that YSU and YSU STEM were where she would feel most at home.

“YSU has a fantastic engineering program,” Teresa says. “The school is small enough that professors know [your] name, but large enough that we have access to equipment that larger schools use.”

Teresa is also very active on campus. For three years, she was the Vice President of the STEM Leadership Society, as well as a Student Government Association STEM Representative. She is the president of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. When she is not spending time with one of these on-campus activities, she can be found doing many different activities including camping, intramural volleyball, and drawing.

After graduation, Teresa plans to attend graduate school so she can focus more on sustainable energy or combustion and thermal research. These types of programs will help her to achieve a successful career in the alternative energy field. Teresa knows that no matter what she does that she will continue to have the support of her parents, as well as the support from her friends, classmates, and professors that she has grown so close to throughout her YSU career.