Photo courtesy of Pat Kane
By James Irwin
University Public Affairs
Rachel Judge secured a seven-month internship with Neutrogena while attending the 2015 National Society of Black Engineers’ annual conference. There was just one problem: The internship was in supply chain management and Judge didn’t know what that meant.
“On the application it said ‘supply chain/operations,’ and because I was in engineering I figured I would be in an operations role — like manufacturing,” Judge said, laughing. “But then I received my offer letter to come work in Los Angeles in supply chain management.”
Judge decided to accept the offer anyway.
“I had two suitcases, a duffel bag and my backpack,” she said. “It was a scary experience. I was 3,000 miles away from home — and I still didn’t know what supply chain was.”
Judge learned quickly. She found she enjoyed working in consumer products and shepherding goods from supplier to shopper. She also decided she wanted more field experience. By the time the chemical engineering major returned to VCU in January 2016, she was securing an internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, where she has worked for nearly a year in currency technology. Judge is on the team that makes sure the machines used to process currency are functioning properly.
“We manage the machines across the United States,” she said. “We do all the troubleshooting.”
Judge will finish her Fed internship in June and return to Neutrogena in July, this time for an opportunity in packaging engineering. Later this month, she will be honored with the National Society of Black Engineers Impact Scholarship at the NSBE annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Her advice to students: Don’t be afraid.
“Take the opportunities as they come,” Judge said. “I think [internships] give you a new perspective: what it’s like to be a young professional.”
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