Before her internship at Lockheed Martin, junior global supply chain management major and honors program student Quinn Thompson had never even heard of the multibillion-dollar technology company. Yet as she searched for internships in her field, Lockheed Martin was a consistent Google result.
“I thought, ‘why does this fake company keep popping up?’” Thompson recalled.
After discovering that the company was legitimate, Thompson took a leap of faith and landed the opportunity of a lifetime.
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company. It is one of the largest companies in its industry, and the world’s largest defense contractor. As an intern at its Lexington location, Thompson has gained hands-on experience in supply chain management, an emerging field that involves overseeing the production and distribution of goods and services.
Day to day, Thompson works under the guidance of a mentor to analyze Requests for Proposals (RFPs), documents asking for bids from contractors to help complete a project. In addition, she spent last summer working on a special project: creating a Global Supply Chain New Hire Manual for the company, which is already in use.
“I have met so many new employees that have used my guidebook and said it was helpful,” said Thompson. “It's awesome that my work is already touching and helping people.”
Thompson wasn’t always so certain of her career path. “I came to college wanting to be a thousand different things. I didn’t really know what to do.” She began looking into academic business programs and discovered EKU’s unique global supply chain management program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 10,000 new supply chain jobs could crop up over the next decade, and demand for supply chain professionals exceeds supply six to one.
The field’s lucrative job outlook first drew Thompson to the program, but her internship kept her there.
“When I started (the internship), I hadn't had any global supply chain classes yet. I honestly was still unsure about global supply chain, but I went to my internship with an open mind,” she said. “Seeing it all firsthand made it so much more real. This is the path I want to go down.”
Thompson began the co-op and internship search process her sophomore year, with the goal of having relevant experience on her resume before graduation. After applying to Lockheed Martin, she spent hours at the Career and Co-op office doing interview prep and perfecting her resume. Those hours paid off; she received an offer letter in February 2019, and started her position that May.
Thompson entered the company with a group of 20 other interns, most of whom came from large universities and had family connections to Lockheed Martin. To be there solely on her own merit became a point of pride for Thompson.
“My goal was to go into that internship and just learn and absorb everything I possibly could,” she said. “I took so many notes.”
This summer, Thompson will continue her internship at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida location. After graduation, she hopes to stay with the company full-time, eventually moving into a management position.
To students hoping to follow in her footsteps, Thompson has some simple, yet profound advice: first, put yourself out there. “You are your number one fan,” she said. “You’re the person who knows the most about yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your capabilities. You can’t be afraid of being told no.”
She added, “Don't go into an internship thinking you know anything. If you come in thinking you know everything, you're not going to take everything in because you already have a barrier up.”