Andre Foltz is a graduating senior majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He is a former member of the Legislative Internship program and is a College of Liberal Arts ambassador. He recently answered some questions about his year-long internship at Woodward, Inc. in Fort Collins.
How did you decide to apply for an internship at Woodward? Was there a competitive process to be selected?
The opportunity to intern at Woodward was presented to me during my junior year at CSU. Dr. John Straayer reached out and encouraged me to apply for Woodward’s Government Affairs and Business Communications internship while I was participating in his legislative internship program at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
In the past, Woodward has partnered with the Political Science Department at Colorado State University and asked professors to encourage qualified students to apply for internships. The selection process was rather competitive. In all, more than twenty candidates applied for the open position.
What are some of your daily tasks?
The government affairs aspects of my job include tracking legislation that impacts the aerospace and energy sectors, monitoring and engaging in Political Action Committee activities, site level strategy development and execution, and responding to customer, industry, and association requests related to government affairs.
Additionally, I serve in a business communications role, and am responsible for the execution of message development, digital asset management, channel design and development, and target identification.
Have you worked on any fun projects during your time at Woodward?
One of the best parts about my internship has been working on a variety of different projects such as organizing volunteers for events in the community, building relationships between the university and Woodward, and even being assigned a personal project from CEO of the company.
I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with the Community Outreach Committee where I helped organize Woodward’s 3rd Annual Make a Difference Day, which is sponsored by United Way of Larimer County. We were able to successfully recruit over thirty volunteers from Woodward to assist The Family Center/La Familia with cleaning up their classrooms and playgrounds. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and the children at La Familia even sent us handmade thank you cards.
My drive and strong work ethic put me in a position where I was recommended to work a personal project for the President and CEO of Woodward Inc., Tom Gendron. As a Board Member on the Cystinosis Research Foundation, Mr. Gendron requested my assistance in creating an organizational diagram or visual roadmap intended for researchers, which outlined a possible path to a cure for cystinosis. Not only was it an honor to have my work presented at a national conference on cystinosis research, it was also a precious opportunity to learn from and work directly with an amazing mentor. Additionally, I was able to meet several brilliant people dedicated to improving the lives of those who are impacted by cystinosis.
Do you have any mentors at Woodward? If so, how have they helped to shape your journey?
Working with Mr. Gendron has left a strong impact on me. His friendly demeanor, genuine personality and receptiveness made working with him extremely enjoyable. I can’t thank him enough for expressing his confidence in my abilities. If there is one lesson that I observed from working with Mr. Gendron, it’s that a great leader is someone who has the passion and character to turn a vision into a reality. Having the opportunity to work with him has definitely helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Tracy Gohari has also been excellent mentor to me. Tracy has been completely supportive of me from the beginning of my internship. In fact, she recommended me to Mr. Gendron when he mentioned that he was looking for someone to assist him with a personal project. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tracy, which is why she has often been the first person I go to for advice.
How has completing an internship added value to your educational experience?
The internship has added value to my educational experience because it has allowed me to apply what I’m learning in a real-world setting. It has been an invaluable opportunity to see how the private sector operates. There are so many valuable and practical skills that I’ve acquired through my internship that will help me excel in my career such as project management and execution, building constructive relationships, and working collaboratively. Overall, my internship at Woodward has been an invaluable experience and has complemented my education extremely well.