Mechanical engineering major, Burton Snowboards intern
- By Megan Morley Thomas
Burton Snowboard's formidable R&D operation -- "pretty much the ultimate prototyping facility for our industry in the world," according to company founder and CEO Jake Burton -- is located on the outskirts of Burlington in a cavernous warehouse next to the company's headquarters. Inside is a collection of custom built machines and rapid prototyping equipment that can crank out an experimental new snowboard in a day or a binding in a few hours.
This hotbed of product innovation is where Logan Williams, a mechanical engineering major from Vergennes, Vermont, spent last summer working and learning through an internship. With the guidance of Jeff Burga, a Burton engineer, Williams designed a machine that will test the ability of a new generation of snowboard bindings to endure all manner of simulated crashes.
Logan Williams says his Burton Snowboards experience was a critical complement to his UVM coursework.
Williams landed his internship thanks in part to a new partnership between UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and Vermont HITEC, a workforce development company with deep ties to Vermont employers, that placed engineering and math students in summer internships around the state.
He’s one of a bumper crop of UVM students with challenging internship positions last summer, the product of a new effort to expand and consolidate the university’s many internship initiatives, a plan laid out by UVM colleagues including UVM President Tom Sullivan.
The investment in deepening the well of internship opportunities is critical to students’ success after graduation. Internships and employment during college are the top traits employers consider in evaluating recent graduates for a position, eclipsing GPA and major, according to a survey conducted last year by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Marketplace, the public radio program.
For his part, student Logan Williams says his Burton Snowboards experience was a critical complement to his UVM coursework. “Here, I’m learning how to run a business and getting to work on all these awesome projects,” he says.