"The internships really lay the groundwork for getting your first job out of college. There are a lot of good skills your St. Ambrose class work provides, and then you can take those into real-world experiences. That's where you're really able to set yourself apart."
Jason Owens '07 wasn't afraid to dream big as an Engineering and Physical Science major at St. Ambrose.
Yet, when he walks onto the floor of an expansive factory where multiple Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes are in their final stage of assembly, Owens understands he is a part of something really big.
The Dreamliner is a twin-engine airliner that stands five stories tall and is the length of more than half a football field. Built for overseas long-distance flight, it seats between 210 and 330 passengers and has been in production since 2007.
Owens joined Boeing in 2007 as an industrial engineer after earning his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering degree from St. Ambrose. Since 2011, he has worked as a Shipside Support Manager for Boeing's 787 Pre-Flight and Delivery Division, which is the final stage of preparation and testing before the massive airplanes are delivered to client airlines.
He loves his job.
"It's pretty amazing coming to work," he said. "My desk is right next to the airplane. It is awe-inspiring walking out of my stall and onto the airfield and seeing so many big airplanes. It is impressive how they get into the air. Really spectacular."
Owens credits a St. Ambrose-arranged internship with Rockwell Collins Inc., an international manufacturer of avionics communication systems based in his native Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for helping him win his job at Boeing. His work as a Rockwell Collins intern was focused on radios used in the Dreamliner.
"I think the internships really lay the groundwork for getting your first job out of college," he said. "There are a lot of good skills your St. Ambrose class work provides and then you can take those into real-world experience through internships. That is where you are really able to set yourself apart."
Owens came to St. Ambrose to play baseball and found a perfect place to hone his engineering instincts.
"The engineering department gave me a good foundation," he said. "There is a diversity of opportunities. And with the smaller class sizes, we got a lot of hands-on opportunities. We were able to build good relationships with our professors, so they were able to give you insight into the work force and realities after school. It really helped me get started on my career."