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North Atlatnic Industries Networks with Students

by Matthew Yan

Bill FormanIt’s not every day that the president of a company comes to recruit people in person, but that’s exactly what happened when Bill Forman came to Stony Brook on Tuesday. Bill Forman, the head of North Atlantic Industries (NAI), a Long Island-based electronics and software company, spoke to a crowd of nearly 90 students at the New Computer Science Building about internship opportunities at his company in an event co-hosted by five student organizations, including the Stony Brook Computing Society and the National Society for Professional Engineers. “We’re looking for young, capable and engaged students looking to stay in STEM,” he said. Fifteen engineering professors including visiting scholars Anna Guerra and Francesco Guidi from the University of Bologna, department chair Petar Djuric, and WISE program administrator Doreen Aveni, also attended and networked with students at the dinner reception afterward.

Located in Bohemia, NY, NAI specializes in the production of modular electronics used in a variety of settings, including aviation, defense, and computing. According to Forman, NAI can produce a quadrillion different types of devices by mixing and matching the parts it produces to suit a customer’s needs. A panel of 8 NAI employees, including Stony Brook alumni Anne Porfido, Chris Doody, Hayden DeBoer, and Paul Bachek, answered questions about NAI’s internship program.

The company expects to hire 30 interns this year on their software engineering, test engineering, electrical engineering, and project management teams. According to Roxanne Conroy, one of NAI’s recruiters, interested students can apply for these positions online through the NAI website and assigned to a role based on their coursework and interests.

Once they are hired, interns will be mentored by current employees while working on group projects. “This isn’t a solo job,” said Forman. “No, we try to give you exposure with a lot of mentors to make this a win-win internship.” The projects interns work on are sometimes turned into actual products. Doody, a former intern and a mechanical engineer at NAI, says he spent his internship developing thermal analysis software that can increase the speed of analysis by 200%. According to him, the value of the internship is proportionate to how robust and ambitious the intern wants their project to be. “This is as enriching for you as it is for us.”

Recruiters aren’t just looking for students with good grades though. DeBoer, a design verification and testing manager, says that the biggest thing NAI is looking for is independent projects. “It doesn’t have to be in-depth,” he said, “but the more you know about the work, the better you’ll do at your internship and at work.” NAI is not expecting its interns to know everything either. “A lot of us panicked and said, ‘I don’t know how this works! Were we supposed to learn this in school?’” said Michael Vetri, another ex-intern and a current test engineering lead. “My mentor taught me everything down to the theory.” Other desirable traits recruiters were looking for included a willingness to learn, initiative when tackling projects, and strong communication skills. “You can’t go, ‘I’m gonna be a hermit!’” said Vetri. “That’s not how engineering works.”

The application deadline is December 6th, and some students, like junior mechanical engineering student Jamila Khanfri, are already raring to apply. “I wasn’t even looking at the agency at at all,” she said, “But after coming to this event, seeing what they can do, I’m really excited.”