By: Joey Lund

We checked in with Matt Biederwolf, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, to talk about his plans for the 2014 summer.  Matt has previously held summer internships with both Kraft Foods and Yaskawa America, and this summer he is interning with John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa.


Describe your experience at John Deere. This summer, I am working as a Product Engineer in the Product Verification and Validation group focusing on Noise, Vibration and Harshness. This means I am working on understanding vibrations and sound as they relate to an operator (i.e. farmer), whether it’s loud and annoying sounds or vibrations that are causing parts to fail prematurely. My specific project will be to build a modal analysis of a tractor cab and then correlate the results to an existing model.

How did you become interested in this work? As for the work I am currently doing at John Deere, I became interested in this topic after taking Professor Bentsman’s ME 360 class. Modal analysis was interesting to me, so getting a job in Noise, Vibration and Harshness kind of fit perfectly.

How has Illinois benefitted you? Illinois is the reason why I am where I am. It is unbelievable all the opportunities that the U of I has given me to grow. The resources are amazing: the career fairs where I have gotten each of my 3 internships; the people I have met who have challenged me; and the professors who have been so gracious to help me along the way. The most important thing I’ve developed here is the ability to learn and lead. In so many situations, I don’t know all the answers, but I am able to learn and then make smart decisions.

What has been the highlight of your experience? My manager invited me over to his house for dinner one Friday night. This is a really nice thing to do for any intern, but I had an enhanced appreciation because of my multiple food allergies. He went out of his way to personally make sure that all the food made for me was safe for me to eat, and that was pretty special… There is a real family aspect to John Deere.

Any advice for other engineering students about summer opportunities? Create your resume, use Engineering Career Services to review your resume and participate in their mock interviews, and don’t be afraid to just go to the career fair. It’s vital be yourself. I can’t tell you how many people try to change who they are for the career fairs, and it is not what companies are looking for. Dress nice and be polite, but act the way you normally do. A second piece of advice is to not be afraid to do an internship with a company you have never heard of before. At the career fair, if a company has a short line, go over and talk to them, even if you have never heard of them! You never know what you will find.