Nick Peterson

Senior mechanical engineering honors student Nicholas Peterson was selected to receive the 2018 Internship Student Achievement Award from the Cooperative Education & Internship Association, thanks to co-op assignments with The Boeing Company and Federal-Mogul Powertrain and internships with SpaceX and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Nick Peterson, a senior mechanical engineering major and Honors College student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), will receive the Internship Student Achievement Award at the 2018 conference of the Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA), to be held April 16-18 in Charleston, S.C.

"It is an honor to win a national award, especially knowing the high caliber of competition," says Peterson, a native of Huntsville, Ala., who plans to attend the conference. "Spectacular internship opportunities are an everyday occurrence at UAH. I was extremely humbled that my experiences were chosen among the others."

Peterson at Spacex

The Internship Student Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding student enrolled in a four- or five-year degree undergraduate program who has participated in a cooperative education program between Sept. 1 of the previous year and Aug. 31 of the nominating year. The award is presented annually at the conference’s awards banquet and comprises a plaque and a cash prize of $500.

In letter he received from the CEIA announcing his selection, Peterson was recognized for his excellence in work-integrated learning: "The competition was strong, but your extensive internship experience, letters of support from multiple employers, and commitment to helping the next generation nurture a love of engineering stood out above the others. We also commend your academic efforts and performance at The University of Alabama in Huntsville."

For those familiar with Peterson’s strong work ethic, the honor comes as no surprise. "His determination and willingness to never back down from a challenge, whether it be in the classroom or in the workforce, far surpasses the determination and drive of a typical college student," says Candace Phillips, senior coordinator in UAH’s Office of Career Services, who submitted a statement to the CEIA in support of Peterson’s nomination. "No matter what he does, whether it’s academic or social, Nick devotes everything he can to it. His maturity and dedication at such a young age have made him one of the standout students on campus, and he is truly deserving of recognition and award!"

Peterson with car

Since arriving at UAH after graduating early from high school, Peterson has completed co-op assignments with The Boeing Company in Huntsville, where he worked as a design and development contract engineer, and with Federal-Mogul Powertrain in Decatur, Ala., where he worked as a manufacturing and processing engineer. He has also interned with SpaceX, as an Avionics Test Lab mechanical engineer at their headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., and with Walt Disney Imagineering, as a ride mechanical engineer at their Glendale, Calif. theme park.

"At Disneyland, Nick utilized his mechanical engineering knowledge to resolve mechanical issues with rides and increase efficiency for Disney, and his creative and innovative design solutions were implemented on a variety of projects including a droid that can interact with park visitors," says Phillips. "At SpaceX, Nick independently managed and created an automated crane system to decrease vibe testing time by 40 percent, and he worked closely with upper management to evaluate project logistics and conduct financial analysis – an impressive task for a 20-year-old student."

This semester, Peterson will complete his fifth and final experiential learning experience as an intern with technology giant Apple.


UAH College of Engineering

UAH Honors College

Career Services