Senior mechanical engineering major Wes Means came to Harding in the fall of 2014 after completing his first internship with defense company Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company. Means completed two full summer internships with the company in 2014 and 2015.
“It was cool as an intern, because they didn’t make me do intern things,” Means said. “I was more like a lab-aide.”
Means said he expected the internship to be less hands-on and would involve him getting coffee for everyone, but it turned out to be much more involved.
“I was doing the same kind of work they were,” Means said. “They would ask me to run a test and then ask me how the test went and what data I got. I would submit official data for real programs.”
Means said a normal day would be filled with tests.
“I walk in there, I see the project, and I set up the experiment or set up the test I’m supposed to run,” Means said. “I basically ran tests all day, collected a lot of data. Usually running a full test takes a couple of days to get all of the data. After you did that, you’d write a report on it and then you’d send it back to the people who asked for the report in the first place.”
Means worked on several projects, but one that stood out to him the most was a javelin missile, a hand-held shoulder-launched missile which is featured in the “Call of Duty” video game series. He also worked on a targeting system called Arrowhead, which is on the Apache helicopter. The Apache Arrowhead connects to the helicopter’s computer and tells the missile how to find its target, Means said.
Even though Means studies mechanical engineering, he did a lot of chemical engineering work in the materials testing lab.
“I did a lot of using an electron microscope, which uses a beam of electrons to look at something instead of a beam of light,” Means said. “A normal microscope beams light from the bottom or top so you can see the object, but this one doesn’t shine light at all. There’s even an attachment for it that measures the energy it gives off, and it can tell you exactly what material it is.”
Means said how much the hands-on work he did for Lockheed Martin benefitted his schooling. Specifically, his materials, manufacturing and engineering chemistry classes. Some prerequisites went into helping prepare Means for his internship as well, like calculus.
“Just knowing how to do complex integrals really prepared me for the lab work,” Means said. After his graduation in May 2018, Means would like to pursue a career in aero-space engineering.