Carlos Silva, who in 2006 received his degree in engineering technology from West Texas A&M University, parlayed an internship into a career that has the potential to make an impact on the world.

Silva is a project engineer with GTM Manufacturing in Amarillo, a Jack B. Kelley company that builds high-pressure cylinders designed to capture and transport compressed natural gas (CNG), a by-product of the oil-refining process that otherwise would be burned off into the atmosphere.

GTM's high-tech cylinders can capture the CNG, which can then be transported to places throughout the world where it can be used as energy. It is an incredible technology for countries without line pipe CNG.

Silva has been involved from the ground floor with GTM. He interned during the fall of 2006 just as the company was being formed. He learned the engineering behind the product along with business, human resources, and the basics of starting a company.

"It was an incredible experience that really allowed hands-on application of the concepts I was learning in class," says Silva. His internship confirmed that engineering was the field he wanted to pursue.

He credits WT with preparing him for his career; however, he tells students that the learning doesn't stop at graduation. "Never stop learning," he says. "There is always something else to learn and new knowledge you'll need to progress in your career."

Silva encourages students struggling to find an internship to not give up. "You never know when an opportunity will come. Don't stop looking. If you stop looking, it will never happen."

He knows real-life work experience, gained through internships, is crucial for students. Silva's own experience allowed him to better understand his profession and make contacts which eventually led to a full-time position.

Silva is a great example of a student who made the most of his experience and one who is now using his career to potentially make a huge impact on the world.

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