Building the Next Generation of Innovators: Key Milliken Intern Takeaways

Posted on Sep 23, 2016 12:11:08 PM, by Mollie Williams

At Milliken, we are committed to investing in, developing, and empowering the next generation of innovators, scientists, and strategic thinkers to contribute to the greater good of our world. Every summer, we invite students to join our team and participate in a comprehensive internship experience across a variety of Milliken divisions. Through the program, Milliken gives students the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge, hone communication skills, solve problems, execute on projects, and collaborate in a team environment. 

Over the years, students majoring in a variety of fields including Engineering, Chemistry, Business, and Computer Science, among others, have participated in the program. Recently, we connected with two of our 2016 summer interns to learn more about their experiences at Milliken.

Read on to discover our interns’ most valuable program takeaways, from growth in problem-solving to public speaking.

Andrew Forbes, a Materials Engineering major at Auburn University, joined the team at our Duncan Stewart plant in LaGrange, Georgia. Milliken floor covering is constructed at Duncan Stewart before it is sent to our Live Oak plant for printing. Andrew’s responsibilities involved optimizing width on different machines in order to reduce waste from manufacturing. “I took the internship because it felt like I was going to have an impact on the company,” he explained. 

Not only did Andrew discover the science behind the products, standard plant procedures, and the interworking of the company, he also interacted with multiple management teams on a daily basis in both the Duncan Stewart and Live Oak plants.

Andrew quickly learned the importance of assessing his work from various audience perspectives, especially when collaborating in cross-functional groups where technical knowledge might vary. He noted that it challenged him to think about his audience and seek better ways to prepare for presentations. 

Most of all, Andrew appreciated the care, trust, and responsibility his supervisors gave him throughout the program. “They let me make decisions and take responsibility,” said Andrew. “I’ve already seen how the experience is playing out in my classes this semester. I’m more comfortable being an initiator and taking charge of projects.”


Milliken Magnolia Finishing Plant in Blacksburg, S.C.

Sydney Poskevich, a University of South Carolina student studying Chemical Engineering, interned at our Magnolia plant, one of the largest textile dyeing and finishing plants in the U.S. This was Sydney’s second summer as a Milliken intern; she had such a great experience last year, she was eager to come back once again. This summer, Sydney helped monitor the amount of chemistries, which provide benefits such as stain resistance, applied to fabric as it moves down the finishing range.

Sydney was challenged with developing efficient solutions that exceeded quality expectations and improved the process of creating specialty fabrics. She presented her progress to plant leadership weekly, where she received feedback and guidance on next steps. Her greatest takeaways: developing communication skills and collaborating as a team.

“I had a wonderful sponsor who encouraged me and helped me set small goals,” said Sydney. “By the end of the summer, I could look back and see monumental progress during my time at the plant. I really accomplished something I could be proud of.” 

To learn more about internship opportunities with Milliken, visit our careers page.

Topics: Innovation

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams

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