Next time Florida Polytechnic University junior Lindsey Gerberich boards a plane, she may feel satisfaction knowing she played a role in the Wi-Fi service she’ll connect to, the payment service she’ll use, and the movie she’ll watch during the flight.
Gerberich is interning this summer at Thales Avionics in Melbourne, Florida, working on what she calls “the fun part of flights.” The company specializes in providing Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment products to the aviation industry.
“The airlines tell us the movies they want their guests to see,” said Gerberich, who is majoring in computer science. “It’s our job to make sure that the passengers have access to those movies.”
The West Palm Beach native explained she’s working directly on the user and access management software in the company’s connectivity product. She’s implementing new features, working on bug fixes, and running integration tasks to make sure everything works properly.
“And the code that I am writing and creating is actively going toward the final product,” she added.
Gerberich works hand-in-hand with eight experienced engineers and is the only intern on the team.
“It’s a bit nerve-racking sometimes how hands-on this internship is because they don’t treat me like an intern. I feel like they view me as another member of the team,” she said.
This is the first time Thales Avionics has hired an intern from Florida Poly. Rick Butler, Gerberich’s supervisor, said the experience has been positive.
“Lindsey is fully integrated into one of our software development teams and has been assigned actual changes needed by one of our customers,” said Butler, software engineer manager at Thales. “This helps Lindsey gain real-world experience while we continue to provide timely solutions to our fleets.”
That real-world experience is something that Gerberich said Florida Poly has been preparing her for by teaching her quick problem-solving skills and critical thinking.
“At Florida Poly, you’re taught to think bigger than the problem in front of you,” said Gerberich, who will be the first in her family to earn a college degree. “You learn to really understand the problem from all sides so it’s not a hurdle, and you can quickly solve it.”
Looking ahead, Gerberich knows her two-hour commutes from Lakeland to her full-time internship in Melbourne will be worth it, setting the pace for her goal of a career in the aerospace and avionics industry.
“It’s hard not being able to see your family during the summer. But at the end of the day, this is going to better my future and I’m doing something I love. So I’m going to work as hard as I can to get it,” she said.
Assistant Director of Communications