Hear Her Story

Christina Gilliland
Thermal Equipment Engineer, Corning MT&E Division.
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
December 2015

 

What made you want to come back to Corning?

I was an intern here in the summer of 2014, working on emergency response procedures for a new plant we were developing. The next year I took another internship at a big, well known company on the west coast. I compared those two experiences side by side and figured out the right fit for me. I’m glad I did that, and glad I ended up here. I graduated from RPI in December 2015, and I came back to Corning in February 2016.

 

Why was Corning the right fit?

The culture. Corning is a big company, but it feels smaller. You’re given a lot of responsibility very quickly, which is really nice. And it’s not just data entry or simple things. You are given things to engineer. When I was at my other internship, I missed being at Corning. And that, to me, was a signal that this was where I belong.

 

What’s the biggest difference between being an intern and coming back as a full-time employee?

Everything I learned as an intern was helpful; I just needed to know so much more when I came on full-time. When you’re an intern, if it’s not related to the project you’re working on, it’s probably not worth you learning. When you’re full time, you take every opportunity. In the big picture you need to know this, so you step back and look at it from a broader scale.

 

What’s your favorite thing about being at Corning?

The first thing is the technical work. I’ve learned that a lot of engineers don’t engineer. They’re in business or administrative roles where you need that engineering background, but you’re not doing technical work. Corning gave me the opportunity to apply technology and develop new products. Now I’m designing a cooling system and all the equipment associated with it.

Second, I’m definitely a long-term thinker, and I could see the opportunities. Even in the role I’m in now, I work across divisions and product lines. I have the opportunity to travel—you learn so much by working across cultures. And look at how many places you can go in your career, like into more technical or management paths. I can see a career here, but I don’t see myself doing the same job for all of it. When I’m ready for something else, there will always be more opportunity.

The last thing was location. Corning has that small-town feel that I like, but at the same time, I see my opportunities going global. Living here in upstate New York while still traveling globally was a huge thing for me.

 

What do you like about living in Corning?

There are a lot of choices. I live right in downtown Corning in a loft apartment, so it feels like I live in the city. But at the same time I’m close to the country, which is a nice balance for me.

If you find Corning too small, everything else is a short drive away. Binghamton is right there, Rochester is right there. You can hop on the corporate shuttle and be in New York City in an hour. You can do small town all week and big city on the weekend.

 

What would you say to former interns who are thinking about coming back?

I had an offer to come back and do a second internship at Corning, but I decided I wanted a different opportunity. And I had a lot of fear that when I turned down that internship, I was turning down Corning forever. When I reapplied, I was relieved to find that wasn’t the case at all. I’m sure there are others out there who turned down a full-time offer after graduating, but don’t let that worry you. We’ll welcome you back.

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