ME student rolls in style with summer internship at Rolls-Royce

Cole Jensen poses outside of the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Cole Jensen

Cole Jensen was in awe of the jets as they zoomed overhead when he went to air shows as a kid. Now as an adult, he has had the opportunity to work on the jet engines that fascinated him as a child.

Jensen grew up in Prior Lake, Minnesota and chose to attend Iowa State University because of its strong engineering program and after hearing stories from his uncle, Jason Hoehn, who studied civil engineering at ISU in the early 1990s.

“I knew I wanted to do engineering, so I chose my adventure at Iowa State,” said Jensen. “I was originally an aerospace engineering major but realized mechanical engineering better suits my wide variety of interests.”

However, his brief time in aerospace engineering was beneficial to his professional development as he said that background helped him to land an internship this past summer when he worked as an engineering project management intern for the Rolls-Royce JSF LiftSystem team in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“My work was a combination of project engineering and program management, both of which I really enjoyed. I led a few different projects and assisted others ranging from component testing coordination to detailed process variable analysis. I was able to put manufacturing engineering and thermodynamics concepts to the test,” Jensen said.

While Jensen’s interest in airplanes was first sparked when he was a child, that interest was further cultivated through strong faculty and staff at Iowa State. Jensen said former NASA astronaut and current aerospace engineering professor of practice, Clayton Anderson, has been especially influential on him, encouraging him to “aim high” and “persevere through anything.” He added that his academic advisor, Aliza MacKenzie, has also been helpful in guiding him through his journey at Iowa State. He said he’s been challenged but has enjoyed many of the courses he’s taken as part of the ME curriculum.

“My favorite classes are the ones where you get to put your knowledge to the real world test. Classes like M E 170 [Engineering Graphics and Introductory Design], M E 270 [Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design] and Aer E 160 [Aerospace Engineering Problems with Computer Applications Laboratory] were very influential,” said Jensen. “I am looking forward to my senior capstone design course next semester.”

In addition to his coursework, Jensen has also gained valuable experience by serving as the project director of the AIAA GoFly student organization on campus and by serving on the Professional Relations Committee for Engineers’ Week. His interests also expand outside of engineering as he has participated or currently participates in Ames Flyers (previously The Flying Cyclones), Automotive Enthusiasts, ISU Canoe and Kayak, GENRE Music Club, Entrepreneur Club and ISU Film Club.

Jensen plans to complete his studies in summer 2020 and will likely work for Rolls-Royce after graduation. In addition, he will manage his side company, Jensen Applied Sciences, which he founded with his brother, Dillon, a computer science student at Iowa State.

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