December 15, 2016 11:45AM
Growing up in Gardner, Kan., Tom McLennan and Jonathan Banka always had their sights set on faraway lands.
One, in particular, was at the top of the list.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of going to Australia,” McLennan said.
Just three years after enrolling at Pittsburg State University, their dream is about to come true.
McLennan and Banka, both juniors at Pitt State and both manufacturing engineering technology majors in PSU’s College of Technology, will travel to Australia in 2017 for a unique internship experience.
McLennan will travel to Australia in January to work at the AW Bell foundry in Melbourne. He will work alongside the AW Bell staff, completing standard foundry jobs while also completing lean manufacturing continuous improvement projects.
McLennan said the educational experience will be his first out of the country.
“I am looking forward to experiencing the Australian culture and exploring the foreign land,” he said.
And then, when he returns next summer, his childhood friend will take his place. Banka will travel to Australia in June 2017 for the AW Bell internship experience.
“This is most exciting for me, as I have never traveled outside of the U.S.,” Banka said. “Having the opportunity to work a Co-Op in my degree field is more than a dream come true to me. I'm most looking forward to the experience of the job, because I will begin to build a globalization standpoint for my future.”
This internship experience came about after University Professor Russ Rosmait visited Australia while on sabbatical in the spring of 2016.
“I made contact with AW Bell while in Australia, and they were very interested in our students,” Rosmait said. “This is very exciting for our students and for Pittsburg State’s College of Technology. We hope this will be an ongoing relationship with AW Bell.”
Sam Bell, AW Bell CEO, said he’s excited for this unique partnership with Pittsburg State.
“The internship is of mutual benefit to both AW Bell and PSU students,” Bell said. “I feel like cultivating young, intelligent students into our company will help continue to strengthen our business culture.”