Irene Hammel

What year are you and what do you study?

Sophmore, Mechanical Engineering

Who is/was your employer?

Antigua Cerveza
Guatemala

How did you learn about your internship?

I received the email from GIP and I followed the instruction they stated.

What was the application process like?

I had to send my resume and write them an email on why I was interested in the opportunity. After that it was two interviews through calls and Skype calls.

What were your major tasks or projects at this internship?

Since it was a startup, I worked closely with two of the three founders in every aspect of the company.

Some of the areas I worked most in were the following:
Procurement & Vendor selection - Calling vendors and maintaining professional follow up on goods purchased. Additionally building spreadsheets of prices, lead-times, and good characteristics.
Brewery signage and layout - Creation, printing, placement - all following local legal requirements.
Office maintenance & cleanliness - Maintaining clean and organized work space.
Communication with staff on work status - Working with staff to discuss progress and updates when necessary.
Engineering - Working with team to provide ME expertise on bottling, labeling, and conveyor machinery. Working with 3rd party vendor to communicate needs and document work and responses.

Entrepreneurship Sessions
This will consist of a bi-weekly session discussing life topics from graduation and entering the workplace, to more advanced entrepreneurship topics such as building a business plan, raising money, and communicating with shareholders.

Do you have any recommendations for Georgia Tech students looking to intern in the same company or country?

It is a great experience, but you do have to be very outgoing, street smart, fine with being alone for times. Antigua Guatemala is a great place but as any Central/South American country it is very dangerous, so especially as a girl I had to be very aware. Growing up in Puerto Rico I felt more prepared and more conscious of the situation and I never felt unsafe because I was always ready. Since it is a startup, there were no other interns and even though my bosses were great seeing the same 2 people for 3 months is a lot! I made tons of friends in Guatemala but you have to be open minded when going to such a different experience.

Where did you live? Did you find accomodations independently or with your company's help?

I found housing through a good friend that is from Guatemala, my bosses where willing to help look if needed, but I was more productive than them in the search.

How has this internship influenced your career path?

It was a good internship because it was a unique experience and now is the time to go do something like that. It was less mechanical engineering than I want in the future, but that was something I knew from the beginning. It was a great experience but just to diversify my experience.

If paid, did the company you worked for pay you enough to live off of your salary or stipend, or did you have to supplement your income with personal funds?

The salary was just enough to cover housing and just because I had a good deal because it was my friend’s house. All the food and expenses came from personal funds. They did cover the flight to and from Guatemala.