Student Success Spotlight: Cris Baillargeon


Sometimes, it is rocket science.

Cris Baillargeon, a junior studying Aerospace Engineering at NC State, landed a co-op position with UTC Aerospace Systems in Wilson, NC this summer. His primary goal was to work on optical flame detectors in Black Hawk helicopters, as well as other military and commercial aircraft. He performed engineering design, qualification, and production testing and became a leading expert on the technology, equipment, and procedures associated with the detectors. As Cris proved himself, he was able to write new military test procedures for military and commercial pilots, create new test setups to be used on a permanent basis within the industry, facilitate purchases on the magnitude of $50,000, and perform rigorous quality assurance tests. Cris was so passionate about his internship that he worked overtime every week and logged an impressive 863 hours for the summer. This earned him the honor of being the only UTC intern to ever receive a Level 2 Full Time Employee Certification for exemplary customer focus.

Cris worked alongside full-time engineers and was given a chance to let his skills shine. He also interacted with customer representatives from companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, and Rolls Royce. Cris was so pleased with his experience at UTC Aerospace Systems that he plans to return there for his Spring 2016 co-op rotation.

For students interested in following a path such as Cris’s, he had these words of advice to offer: “Realize that it is not all about perfect grades or being the smartest student. The thing that made the biggest difference for me was showing that I am ready to work, excited to learn, and maintain a positive attitude through tough conditions. Nobody expects a first time intern to come into work on the first day and be an expert. Being a hard worker and good communicator is what people really want to see in new employees, especially in an industry where you really can’t get relevant experience on your own. I would absolutely recommend MAE, IEEE, or MSE students to look into the opportunities provided by UTC. The knowledge and hands-on experience gained are priceless, and the people there are really world class employees.”

Cris took his passion and transformed it into a career through the Career Development Center’s co-op program. The possibilities are endless for co-op students, and Cris is a stellar example of what can be achieved through a perfect match between employer and intern.