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Two York College Engineering majors to travel the world as part of jobs with Volvo

Taylor Schmidt ’19 and Taylor Brown ’19 stand in the Kinsley Engineering Center.
(L to R): Taylor Schmidt '19 and Taylor Brown '19

Imagine having the chance to travel the world right after college. Now imagine being offered that adventure as part of your first job after receiving your diploma.

For a year starting in September, two York College of Pennsylvania Engineering students will travel to Sweden, France, and India with about 30 other new, international employees of Volvo to take part in team-building exercises. Between trips, they’ll return to the U.S. and work full-time in Volvo Truck’s facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Seniors Taylor Schmidt, a Mechanical Engineering major from Hampstead, Maryland, and Taylor Brown, an Electrical Engineering major from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, landed their jobs by applying to the Volvo Graduate Program. After that first year, they remain employees of the Swedish automaker.

The aim of the overseas exercises is to build a Volvo team with connected employees around the globe, Schmidt explains. The graduate program offered several possibilities besides the travel and training opportunity, including consultant work.

“Taylor and I got home runs,” Schmidt says. “We get to travel and have a full-time job.”

The workshops are a bonus that they wouldn’t experience if they had taken a regular job with Volvo, Brown notes.

A foot in the door

Both of the students served in internships last fall with Volvo Group Trucks.

“The timing couldn’t have worked out any better,” Schmidt says of his cooperative study and subsequent job offer.

He had taken part in a national SAE Mini-Baja competition last April, leading the drive-train group of his York College vehicle design team. After meeting representatives of Volvo Group Trucks, which had a booth at the event, he sat for an interview and was offered the internship.

Brown applied for the internship online and worked with Volvo Groups Trucks’ software-verification team. During their internships, both applied for the graduate program.

Between their overseas trips, they will work at the Volvo Groups Trucks facility, which designs and builds powertrain equipment, engines, and transmissions for Volvo and its subsidiary Mack Trucks.

Schmidt will calibrate and program new engines or work on emission controls. Brown will work with the same software team she served with during her internship there.

While in Hagerstown, they can explore other areas of the company to find their ideal work setting.

Engineering aptitude

Schmidt got into Mechanical Engineering almost by accident.

“I grew up as a self-taught woodworker,” he says, and people told him he’d do well in engineering. As a high school sophomore, he took engineering courses at a technical center and scored high in manufacturing aptitude on tests.

That led to him enroll at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where he learned to use manufacturing tools and operate machines.

“A big part of engineering is being able to make the things you design,” he explains.

Wanting to go further in math and science, he transferred to York College. Soon, he was making small parts for his competition team’s dune buggy.

Brown had a family connection to engineering.

“My grandfather was a mechanical engineer. I got interested in engineering through him,” she says. “I took a few classes in high school that had to do with electrical engineering and became interested.”

Volvo piqued her interest when it explained its software opportunity.

“The job description for the software team talked about working with sensors,” she says. “I’m interested in controls engineering.”

Prepared for a career

Both students say they’re ready to take the next step.

Schmidt says he’ll apply what he’s learned about transmissions, gear design, material science, “all those classes we’ve taken,” with Volvo’s performance group.

“I feel very prepared,” says Brown, noting that Engineering students serve three co-ops. “We would take three semesters off to work full-time with a company. It gave me a lot of experience in getting jobs and working full-time as an intern. Working (at Volvo) before and coming back I feel very prepared.”

The students say they envision a long future with the automaker. Brown seems to have found her niche working with automotive software.

“I’d like to be still working within the same group, maybe with more responsibility,” she says, looking a few years ahead. There’s the opportunity, she points out, to become an expert in specific sensors.

“My hope is to stay with Volvo until retirement,” says Schmidt. “They’ve put a lot into us with this project. I’d like to eventually be a manager. I’d like to be a big player in making some decisions down the line.”