Djalma is a Chemical Engineering student who studies at Universidade Federal de Sergipe. In the United States, he completed the academic portion of the BSMP program at both SUNY New Paltz and Florida Institute of Technology. For his AT, he interned at Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace company, in Melbourne, Florida.
What did you do during your AT at Embraer?
At Embraer, I had the opportunity to choose which project I wanted to work on. The project that appealed to me most was related to a new fire system for an Embraer executive jet.
Embraer is very concerned with the environment and my task was to research the feasibility of replacing the Halon fire extinguisher. Halon is the agent most commonly used extinguisher agent in the aircraft industry, but, despite its effectiveness, it has been used less in recent years because it contributes to ozone depletion. To find out how feasible replacing Halon was, I had to do research on agents that could replace Halon and comply with new environmental rules.
Djalma posing in front of an Embraer Executive Jet
What was the most interesting thing you did during your AT?
To see the aircrafts in person was the most interesting. Working at Embraer Engineering & Technology Center was a dream come true because I had the opportunity to solve various problems using different types of software. I had the opportunity to experience my field of study in a practical, more real sort of way. Seeing the aircrafts was like a symbol of this whole process.
What were the most important things you learned while at Embraer?
At Embraer, all workers have badges and on the back of the badges are the company values. For me, the most important value and the one I will carry with me for the rest of my life is, “Our people are what make us fly.” I reflected on this statement many times and after my AT I now know how important teamwork is. It is the secret to success. I constantly had questions about my project and there was always an engineer who was able to help me somehow. Everyone has particular skills, but combining these skills make a company successful.
Djalma with other BSMP students and Walter Junior, the managing director at Embraer Engineering & Technology Center in Melbourne.
Can you compare what you thought about Chemical Engineering before and after your AT at Embraer?
After this experience, I am impressed because I saw how comprehensive Chemical Engineering is. Before, I thought I wouldn’t have a large amount of options in the industry. However, during my internship at Embraer, I had the opportunity to work with something I never even thought about before, the fire system of an executive jet. This showed me that chemical engineering exists in every industry.
I also thought that an engineer’s work was more individual, but I was wrong. To complete my project, I had to consult and work with many other engineers. This not only taught me about the industry, but also helped me with my networking skills.
In what ways do you feel your AT helped you to mature?
Today, I feel completely capable of working in an Engineering company and that is because of Embraer. I am more confident when presenting in front of a crowd and at Embraer I realized the trick to this was that I had to believe in myself. I also know more technical language, which is an amazing skill to have, but can be hard to learn at the university.
Djalma in the cockpit of an Embraer Executive Jet
How will you use the things you learned during your AT when you return to Brazil? Would you like to work at Embraer one day?
When I am back in Brazil, I plan to help all those around me using the knowledge I required. I definitely want to work at Embraer one day because I felt so at home everyday while working there. In 10 years, I hope to be an established engineer and be able to return to Embraer in Florida to work with the BSMP interns. It will be my pleasure to tell them to make sure to do their best because it is the opportunity of their lives.
How can BSMP students have a fulfilling AT opportunity?
Students should be open to learning. This opportunity is such a unique experience and will define your future as a competent engineer.
*Djalma would like to thank Walter Junior (in second photo above) for this awesome opportunity.
To connect with Djalma on Facebook, click here.