Aidan Kennedy ’20 exemplifies peak “involved Merrimack student.” While pursuing his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a mathematics minor, Aidan also held leadership positions in student government, WMCK college radio, and the Best Buddies program. Outside of this, he participated in Mack Gives Back, intramural frisbee, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers … just to name a few of his involvements! He’s a self-starter, and that work ethic has culminated in a great co-op with Teradyne! Aidan joins us today to discuss that opportunity, how he honed his technical skills and how Merrimack prepared him for the working world.
AIDAN KENNEDY: I was referred to my co-op at Teradyne Inc. through my friend from Merrimack, who is currently an employee! She had interned at Teradyne the previous summer, and is now a Mechanical Engineering intern at the North Reading site.
That’s great! Opportunities come from the most unexpected places. It sounds like you didn’t have much trouble finding your job, but did COVID-19 impact your process in any way?
I was unable to visit companies on-site or speak with anyone in-person. In response, I focused on online applications and followed up with messages to hiring managers, talent recruiters or employees of companies I applied. Additionally, I created a LinkedIn Learning account and enrolled in intro courses for Python, Six Sigma, and SolidWorks 2020. Lastly, I edited my first online portfolio. I was diving deeper into the job, research, and project opportunities I had during my time at Merrimack.
What a well-rounded approach! Now that you’re working, how has it been at Teradyne?
I love Teradyne’s team environment! Ever since my first day, I’ve felt comfortable asking questions when I am unsure about something or want to better understand my job. I am also enjoying having my first taste of trading with companies all over the world. Whether in China, the Philippines or Costa Rica, I am experiencing the opportunities of global trade and the steps necessary to ensure their success.
Teradyne has a spectrum of employees, from complete beginners to 30-year veterans. These employees are located throughout the world, including Cebu, the Philippines and more. I feel comfortable communicating with anyone on the team, whether I have a question or need help. As my experience continues, I am gradually finding ways to contribute to the team’s needs.
Now that you’ve spent some time working, has your co-op highlighted any skills you still need to develop?
I need to master product data management! I want to better understand how to find parts, assemblies, and drawings needed by customers. Further, I find myself communicating with buyers, customers, and co-workers frequently in my position. As a result, I am continuing to build on my soft skills in professionalism by being clear and concise when I communicate with others.
Building both your hard skills and soft skills takes a lot of work, so kudos. On the flipside, brag a little: what skills have you brought to your position at Teradyne?
One skill I’ve been able to bring to my position is analyzation. I’m frequently tasked with assessing customer lists for program mitigation reasons. I have applied my skills in coding to better study these lists, and extract data the necessary data.
No matter the major, we all definitely do a ton of analytical work in our four years at Merrimack. Speaking of: when we first reached out, you cited Merrimack as being really influential in your career development — and that’s awesome! What resources had the most impact on you?
Merrimack College played a crucial role in preparing me for my career as an engineer. My career advisor, Laura Thibodeau, helped develop my resume, edit my cover letters and find job opportunities matching my interests and skills. The O’Brien Center’s Spring Career Fair is where I received my first summer internship! The Professional Development Retreat helped me build on my soft skills as well, and make connections to many talent recruiters and experienced engineers. The O’Brien Center was definitely instrumental in my career development.
It’s so good to hear from you, Aidan, and thanks for joining us for Working Warriors.
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.