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Posted on October 14, 2015

Matt Thoreson

Senior Matt Thoreson can’t discuss all the details of his internship at the Manitowoc company’s operation in Shady Grove, Pa.

His project there is ongoing, and although he’s taking a full slate of on-campus classes this semester, he continues to work part time as an electrical and controls engineer for Manitowoc, which manufactures industrial cranes.

But Thoreson is happy to talk about the way the company treated him, and how much he gained from his summer experience.

“Students and professors often talk about companies that make interns sign all these nondisclosure agreements and then give them the boring ‘go-fer’ work,” Thoreson said.

“That was not the case at all with Manitowoc. We went through the orientation, and I was immediately put on a project. I had the same cubicle and tools as a regular employee, and within the first week I was put in charge of the project.”

Thoreson expects to graduate in December with degrees in robotics engineering technology and electrical engineering technology. He transferred to Cal U’s 2+2 program at the suggestion of alumnus Raymond A. Setaro ’04, his STEM applications teacher at Chambersburg Career Magnet School.

“After getting my gen ed courses (at Shippensburg University), I needed the hands-on experience, so I came to Cal U,” Thoreson said.

Compared to engineering programs that are heavily weighted toward math, the University’s engineering technology programs provide plenty of real-world learning.

As Thoreson puts it, “We go into the lab and build the circuits … so we get to see and practice everything.”

“Several faculty members have been commenting about Matt and his strengths in engineering and technology,” said Dr. Joseph Schickel, chair of the Applied Engineering and Technology Department.

That combination of academic skills and hands-on experience, coupled with his self-described “freight-train personality,” positioned the intern well.

“The project I managed ended up being implemented on million-dollar machines that I personally operated and tested,” Thoreson said. “You think taking a test is stressful? Try driving something worth $1.2 million that’s the size of two tractor-trailers.”

The president of Manitowoc Cranes flew in from corporate headquarters to see the intern’s project presentation. During the last week of his internship, Thoreson held conferences with the company’s entire executive staff.

Now in his final semester at Cal U, Thoreson is serving as a mechatronics lab assistant and contemplating a possible return to Manitowoc.

“Hopefully some sort of internship relationship can be created there so other Cal U students can get this great experience,” he said. “I am just thankful that my internship has led to such prosperity and success.”