SolAero Technologies is an Albuquerque based company. They are one of the leading providers of satellite solar power and they invited SWE UNM to tour their facility. I met the marketing assistant at the School of Engineering annual Networking Social. That event is always held the night before the Engineering Career Fair put on by UNM SOE and Career Services. This was my second year attending and my goal was to find female engineers to attend SWE’s causal networking night.

I walked up the SolAero table and the marking assistant was super enthusiastic about the company. I pitched my meeting idea and she put me in contact with one of their Directors of Engineering. When the time came to put on the causal networking night, SolAero employees made up more than a third of all the attendees. The best part was that every professional that came was a woman who had amazing advice and guidance.

By the end of the night, the director came up to me and suggested a tour. I was super excited to coordinate it and visit their facility! Over the next few months, I worked with SWE and SolAero to make it happen and the SolAero employees completely exceeded my expectations.

When we walked in, they had treats and goody bags for all of the attendees. They gave an awesome presentation not only about their company, but their internship program. My favorite part of the company was that they weren’t just about building and assembling satellites. They take advantage of the size of their company and make real changes for the community and within their organization through volunteer opportunities and social events.

They also care a lot about company morale. They explained their Rocks Star Core Values. I thought it was really cool that coworkers and peers identify a “rock star” in the company and celebrate them for their hard work. While the company was impressive, I was blown away by their internship program. I have heard of SolAero before, but I did not know how competitive the opportunity is. They get applicants all over the country and they pair their interns with mentors. Each intern gets to work on a single project for the summer and can be exposed to experiences and content way above their course work. SolAero truly trains their interns to eventually join their team as a full-time employee.

After the introduction to their company and a few questions, we broke into groups to visit their facility. We got to see the process of making their satellite from the growth process to the assembly. Their facility allows them to not only test the solar cell’s efficiency but also operate a small-scale production of their products if required by the customer. I think the best part of the experience was that the whole event was put on by female employees who were extremely knowledgeable about their products.

The whole experience was unlike anything SWE has done before. We were not only exposed to real world fabrication, but we were able to network with local professionals within the Albuquerque community. I really loved exploring SolAero and I am excited to continue to collaborate!

Anna