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From Intern to Pro: Meet Mechanical Engineer Ishmael Rahimian

From Intern to Pro: Meet Mechanical Engineer Ishmael Rahimian

| Jessica Baris, Communications Specialist and Copywriter

This is the second installment in a two-part series featuring Maxwell Technologies engineers who started their careers at Maxwell as interns. Ishmael Rahimian is a mechanical engineer and UC San Diego graduate.

Q: When did you discover that you wanted to pursue engineering for your career?
IR: I figured it out in my first semester at community college. I was sifting through potential majors and their respective class requirements, and mechanical engineering had the most number of classes that I found interesting. Before engineering, I considered culinary school or enlisting in the military.

Q: What was the value in obtaining an internship?
IR: Throughout college I asked numerous engineers across many industries to explain what they actually do in a work setting, and they would always give me unhelpful generic answers. After completing the Maxwell internship, I had a real idea of what a mechanical engineer does—design and maintain a product. Maxwell was the only internship I had that applied directly to my career choice.

Q: What projects did you work on as an intern with Maxwell?
IR: The two biggest projects that I remember were designing a spinoff concept of an existing ultracapacitor module and the design of a testing vessel for our test and validation group that would remain self-contained during a venting event and allow pressure measurements and video recording of the event.

Q: How did you apply your university education to the internship?
IR: The biggest thing I learned from my time at UCSD that translated directly to my internship was CAD work, project-based classes, and the battle bots club I was in. I used SOLIDWORKS® CAD software quite a bit during my final years at UCSD, and Maxwell uses the same program. That was an easy transition.

Q: Describe what you do now as a full-time engineer. What do you enjoy most about your role at Maxwell?
IR: I handle projects from the beginning all the way to production. Starting from a set of requirements, I design and test concepts, document the design, work with suppliers and manufacturers to supply parts, work with the quality group to ensure parts received are good for use, assist in process development, and provide support on the production line during pilot builds. I also help out in concept generation for potential programs, drive/design prototype parts, fixtures, and modules for one-off jobs, and do sustaining engineering for current production products.

The thing I enjoy most about my role at Maxwell is that I feel like I can make a significant contribution to a final product.

Q: What’s a memorable experience you had in the engineering program at UCSD?
IR: My most memorable experience from UCSD was working on the senior team project. At one point, almost everything stopped working, and my group was working in the lab until 1 a.m. on a Saturday. We finally made a breakthrough the next day and discovered a single non-functioning component, replaced it, and everything worked perfectly with a week to spare.

The contrast from the lowest of low, and so close to the end of college, to the highest of high, and knowing everything was going to be okay was memorable. To top that off, we ended up winning first place out of all the senior projects presented that year, and we got a special award from the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME).

Q: What advice would you give to a current student preparing to enter the workforce?
IR: My number one piece of advice for a student trying to get into any industry is to get an internship. There is absolutely no replacement for actual experience to base you own decisions on. Learning and "doing" are completely different concepts that need to be covered.


Mike EverettJessica Baris
Communications Specialist and Copywriter
About this author

Jessica A. Baris is communications specialist and copywriter at Maxwell Technologies and enjoys telling a good story. Her background includes writing and editing for the high-tech, construction, and meetings and conventions industries. A San Diego native, Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Arts in rhetoric and writing from San Diego State University.


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