International Students - Internship Success Stories

Cheng (Kim) L.
Cheng (Kim) L.
Bachelor's, Chemical Biology/Bioengineering, May 2016
Most Recent Position: Quality Assurance Intern, Abbott Laboratories, Santa Ana, CA
Previous Internship(s): SAT Subject Test Tutor, Solutions SAT & ACT Specialized Courses Walnut Creek, CA

What was your role at your most recent internship?

For my Abbott internship, I was lucky enough to take part in two different sectors at Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) located at Santa Ana. Although I was hired as a Quality Intern, I got some exposure to the Chemistry R&D aspects by working in the laboratory twice a week, utilizing my chemistry background from Berkeley.

For QA, I was assigned into the CAPA department, which stands for Corrective and Preventive Actions. The CAPA team is responsible for conducting investigations and implementing corrective and preventive actions for nonconformance and potential nonconformance related to product or quality system issues through an electronic IT system known as Global Quality Management System (GQMS). It was a very interesting experience for me to view the problems coming from distinctly different sectors of AMO and grasp an overarching picture in regards to the running and maintenance of a division as large as AMO.

Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to accumulate some industry research experience in Chemistry R&D. My previous project was a comparison of color characteristics of SLM2 silicone with the APHA Color Standards using Color Spectrophotomer. My current project involves detection of trace protein and lipid in multipurpose lens solutions using FTIR Spectrometer. Other than operating remarkable equipments I would never get to touch in school, I also learned valuable skills such as proper recording of data and reporting of results.

How did you find your internship(s)?

For Abbott, I went to an Abbott information session hosted by my club, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Not only did I pay attention to the info session, but I also stayed after the event to talk to the employers and asked for their contact information. Later when I actually applied for the position, I not only submitted my resume online, but also sent my resume to the person I networked with after the info session and asked her to forward my resume. After some time I was contacted for an interview opportunity and then hired.

For my tutor employment, I found this opportunity by a search through Career Center's Callisto [now replaced with Handshake]. Soon after I submitted my resume and other documents, I was contacted by my employer and eventually hired to be a SAT subject test tutor.

What advice do you have for international students looking for an internship?

My top 3 advice for international students would be...

  1. Positivity and perseverance. Don't be defeated by rejection, don't give up, and definitely don't be afraid to try. You don't know how bad your resume is until your first rejection; you also don't know how good your resume is until your first hire.
  2. Opportunities don't knock on your door. Be active in your job search and actively look for opportunities through resources offered by Cal. There are a ton of resources available to you at Cal, from info sessions to career fairs. Moreover, networking is an important skill to sharpen so definitely be sociable and enthusiastic!
  3. Good resumes open doors for you. While most jobs require more than just a resume, a good resume gets your legs into the door first. So definitely fill up your resume with meaningful extracurriculars. Also, having hobbies show employers you are not a robot so put your passions onto your resume. Lastly, formatting is critical so take advantage of the resources at Cal. Go to resume critiques and book appointments with career counselors to polish yourself up!

Encouraged to share your own internship search success story? Complete this online form and you'll be contacted shortly.

Back to Internship Success Stories Home