Internship Experience – Dakota Puga

There are many success stories about students that were able to find an internship or full-time job through Career Services at WT. For Dakota Puga, a senior marketing major, walking into the Career EXPO not only lead to a summer internship, but also a full-time job immediately following graduation.

Describe your internship experience:

I was given the opportunity to work at Bell/Textron in Amarillo and assigned as a supply chain management intern for the V-22 Osprey. The Amarillo facility of Bell is the birthplace of the V-22 Osprey and the site for the assembly of this U.S. Military aircraft. The primary role of my internship was to communicate with vendors that produce parts for the aircraft. This is an integral part of the aircraft assembly and vital to Bell. Efficiency, follow-through, and communication skills were imperative for this process to be successful. I worked on systems such as Systems Applications and Products in data processing (SAP) and Excel daily. Part of my internship required working with manufacturers and vendors that Bell utilized to find better processes to ensure accuracy, efficiency, and timely delivery of parts. First, I realized that my degree in marketing could lend itself to other areas such as the supply chain. I was able to utilize the skills that I had learned in the marketing program at West Texas A & M University such as communicating with vendors, determining operational planning,  and thinking creatively to assist a major corporation such as Textron. 

Dakota interviewing with Steve Sellars, the Internship Coordinator in Career Services at WT. Dakota was a candidate for WT’s Intern of the Year this semester.

During my internship, I was able to contribute to Bell in many ways.  This role allowed me to participate in two major projects for the company. Perhaps my most enjoyable was the Bell Flight Camp for Amarillo college. This project was very important because it was a marketing tool to educate, expose, and excite the youth in the Amarillo area about Bell via the camp at Amarillo College. This is an annual event; however, due to COVID-19, all facets of marketing, access to campers, and delivery of information had to be reformatted since access to campers was going to be primarily virtual. My team was given the task to create access, items, and information for the youth during this pandemic. We created a brochure that demonstrated all the aircraft that Bell creates. In this brochure, there was information about the V-22,  a list of all career disciplines that are needed to successfully operate Bell, and an activity for each camper to build a model Osprey by using popsicle sticks and paper. After the participant created the miniature V-22, he/she took a picture of it and sent it to the communications team at Bell with a winner being acknowledged on Bell’s social media sites. My second project was related to the supply chain department of Bell. The main goal behind this was to mitigate shortages in the future and make production more efficient. Working alongside a supply chain delivery specialist, I was able to utilize a spreadsheet called “Black Out” to project shortages for the year 2024 and increase efficiency for ordering V-22 parts. The results from using this process decreased shortages by 28%.  

I took the interns to my friend’s ranch just West of Canyon.
As you can see, most of them bought their own boots
and cowboy hats.

I believe the experience increased my knowledge and business skills and is one that I will cherish forever. I was able to experience a successful business without leaving the comfort of this area. I live in Canyon so having and internship in Amarillo was great. I met people from all over the country and was able to show them around the Texas Panhandle. Most of the other interns had never been on a ranch/farm and wanted to get their own pair of cowboy boots. It was a great experience to show them what the backbone of this area is and let them be a part of our culture.

What has been your biggest challenge during your internship?

Learning the software used on a daily basis was the most challenging aspect of the internship. Coming into the internship I knew there would be a learning curve because my major was different than the job I would be doing over the summer. Luckily, the supply chain team at Bell took me in and taught me everything that I needed to know. They taught me how to use SAP software to organize data for companies, how to contact vendors and suppliers, how to create purchase orders, and also how to communicate with mechanics. All crucial parts of this department in a business. Communication is key, and this software creates a great foundation to build clear communication.

What was your biggest take-away from your internship?

This is the new NEXUS by Bell. It is a future helicopter taxi
that will be used in large cities.

I’ve learned how important networking and communication are in a business. In a large company such as Textron, the company that owns Bell, it is important for all aspects of the business to work smoothly. Each department such as mechanics, supply chain, marketing, engineering, are all important gears that keep this company going. I was able to connect with so many different departments to better understand them to see how this large company works together.

I’ve also learned how much my education has benefited me in this situation. Courses that I have taken at the beginning of my college career and classes that I am taking now have been huge factors in the day-to-day. How to communicate, how to help manage, CDIM, these courses help me succeed in this business world.

Tell us about your WT experience so far:

I am born and raised in Canyon, TX so for college I want to leave for a while. In my first two years of college, I went to Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) in Abilene, TX. The main reason that I went to HSU was to play football and further my education. After two seasons and some family health emergency, I decided to come back to my hometown on Canyon. I was not excited after being on my own to come back to Canyon, but WT definitely helps with that problem. I was able to connect with a great counselor (Michelle Vineyard). She helped me with my classes and gave me information on connection groups such as Enactus, AMA, the Wesley, all groups that I could connect with other students. Not only that but my friends from Canyon helped me connect with many other students. This made me feel more comfortable on campus. Even though WT is larger than HSU, I felt way more connected at WT because of the people and groups that I was able to connect with.

Meeting the other Bell Interns for the first time

Tell us about influential faculty or courses that you’ve taken in the COB:

There were many different classes that I enjoyed and professors that I connected with during my period here at WT. My first-semester professor Lina Hajje was my business math 2 teacher. She was one of the best math teachers I ever had and she was very personal and wanted us to succeed in class and in our future. She enjoyed teaching and you could tell through the passion she taught with each day. I then connected with Dr. Robert King as an advisor and a teacher. The class that I had with him was advertising which was an interesting class that I learned a lot of information about. As a marketing major, this class piqued my interest and the way Dr. King taught it made the class very beneficial for me. Some other teachers that I enjoyed the class with were Dr. Oscar Solis and Dr. Syed Anwar.

What is your plan after graduation?

Through my internship with Textron-Bell Flight I was able to secure a job with Textron. I am apart of the Integrate Supply Chain Leadership Development Program for Textron. This program is a 2-year rotational program where I will go to three different business units for eight months each. The program is built to adapt me with skills for the supply chain department, after the first 2 years I will be placed at one of the business units throughout the nation where I will work hopefully as a manager. My first rotation will start in January and I will be going to Augusta, GA. The business unit under Textron in this location is E-Z-GO golf carts, and I will work as a Quality Assurance Specialist.

If you are interested in more information about the WT Internship Program, visit the Career Services website or contact Steve Sellars at (806) 651-2345.