Say hello to this week’s intern of the week, Meredith Ash! This is Meredith’s second summer as a #InterninGP where she has an internship with Caterpillar. Read all about the work that she’s doing here:
Q: Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you!
A: My name is Meredith Ash and I am a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at The Ohio State University. I chose my major because it allows me to explore really cool products and processes from the technical side, while still allowing me the opportunity to get hands on work. I thrive when I can see and understand a problem, and working as an engineer often provides field work, shop time, and product build experience to put drawings and graphics into steel. I chose Ohio State because it has a great engineering program, in-state tuition, and provided the hands on experience that I was looking for. In my free time, I like to hike, read, and explore the different community events in the area.
Q: Tell us about your current position.
A: Right now, I am working at Caterpillar, in a build support role. Alongside shop mechanics and full-time engineers, I am helping to build a tractor from the ground up. Right now my primary work tasks are preparing parts for installation, assisting with troubleshooting with the fit-up process, and getting experience with the different documentation systems used, like our 3-D models.
Q: How does this internship compare to other internships/jobs you’ve held in the past?
A: Prior to this summer, I have also worked in a CPI (Continuous Product Improvement) role with Caterpillar and with Marathon Petroleum at their Robinson, IL refinery. In CPI at Caterpillar, I got to see a lot of the reoccurring issues that our product faces and work with our data collection systems to find root causes and recommend solutions. Caterpillar recently began a “Parallel Co-op” program at Ohio State, which I participate in. In the Spring, I worked with the CPI group for 10 hours a week while I was taking my normal classes from a remote worksite at the university. The work I am doing right now with build support is a lot more hands on than my CPI work, but I am able to leverage some of the experience that I have when talking with mechanics and design engineers daily. At Marathon, I was working as a Refining Engineering Intern with the primary responsibility of assisting Area engineers with project work. I was able to design piping, spec valves, and work with contractors to keep my section of the refinery as safe and efficient as possible.
Q: What is your opinion of the area?
A: I love Peoria! I am from Whitehouse, Ohio, which is a suburb of Toledo. Toledo is about the same size as Peoria (or feels that way), so this is like a home away from home. I wasn’t familiar with the area before coming here (though it is mentioned in a School House Rock song), but the amazing OSU alumni here have taken really good care of me and are always willing to give me recommendations for where to eat, get haircuts, and more.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about your summer here in Greater Peoria?
A: The hiking and the churches! Peoria is so hilly and has great hiking trails that aren’t too far away. My favorite is Black Partridge in Metamora, which is well maintained and a great half-day or less adventure. The churches in Peoria are also both beautiful and plentiful, which means I am always able to find a mass. I also always am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the area by getting to local festivals and ballgames.
Q: What community are you staying in and what are your thoughts on that community/your summer crib?
A: I am staying at ICC in East Peoria. The area is very hilly and my ears pop every single time I drive up or down the hill to the apartments! One thing that I love about my place is that the gym is included and has fitness classes and equipment for all the interns to use! There is also a cross country course on campus that I have been using to train for a 5K I hope to do with my sister this summer.
Q: What are your thoughts on the intern mixer series?
A: I really like the summer intern mixer series because it exposes me to companies in the area other than Cat, helps me get to know other interns in the area, and provides a bit of free food! Last year, the intern series was most valuable to me because it helped me expand my bubble of the area to Pekin and some of the other suburbs while introducing me to the other industries and companies that call Peoria home. Getting to hang out with other interns in the area was also a great chance to find friends to go to Chiefs games and do other activities with.
Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or hang-out spot here in town? If so, what is it?
A: My favorite restaurant in town is Whitey’s grill, closely followed by Blue Duck tavern. My favorite spot to hang out in town is the library in the Fondulac district, though! I like to read in the summer since I often am too busy to indulge in the school year. I am also working on expanding my movie repertoire by seeing some classics and new movies as they come out. They have a summer reading club for adults and put on great programming, and they also have board games that you can rent to play with friends. 10/10 would recommend!
Want to say hi to Meredith and our other great Greater Peoria Interns? Be sure to stop by our intern mixers!