FHSU student gaining invaluable experience at mechanical engineering internship

By Diane Gasper-O'Brien on July, 15 2021

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levi hickert

Levi Hickert - Cascho, Inc. Intern 

Levi Hickert said some of his best educational experiences have come from stepping out of his comfort zone. That’s why he applied for an engineering internship after only one year of studying in the physics/pre-engineering program at Fort Hays State University.

Hickert, whose goal is to work as a mechanical engineer someday, landed an internship with Cashco, Inc., in Ellsworth, a leading manufacturer and worldwide marketer of a broad line of industrial control products.

Knowing that some of the best learning comes from hands-on experience, he decided to apply for the Cashco internship, which is sponsored by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, despite limited experience with the mechanical engineering industry.

“Other than doing auto cad in high school, I hadn’t been exposed to a lot of the industry’s software and programs,” he said. “But I love a good challenge, and I’m definitely getting a well-rounded experience. Cashco uses Inventor CAD software, and they do 3D modeling, something I had never touched.”

He has now.

“They have taken me in and let me ask questions about anything,” Hickert said. “I’ve learned about engineering standards and how to use and navigate their ERP software system, how to test valves and assemble products to ship out. It’s been amazing.”

Hickert, a native of Hays, is enrolled in the 3+2 physics and engineering program. In that program, students spend their first three years at Fort Hays State, then transfer to Kansas State University to complete their mechanical engineering studies. Hickert will earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Engineering from K-State and a Bachelor of Physics from FHSU.

But that’s four years down the road. Now, he looking at his second year of college in a new light after this summer’s internship.

“School gives us the tools to face the challenges in our career,” he said. “But over half of the things I’ve done already this summer you don’t learn in school. It’s all industry experience. Not only will this early hands-on experience with the industry help me down the road, but it also confirmed that this is the career path I want to take.”

Diane Gasper-O'Brien

I am a content specialist at FHSU, and storytelling is part of my DNA. Those close to me say I was born talking and that I haven’t stopped since! Writing began at a young age for me, and my entire professional career has been spent putting words down on paper. My passion for telling stories has taken me many places over the years, and some of my most memorable moments have been covering Tiger Nation. I am a Tiger through and through. My entire family – my husband, our two sons, and I – all attended FHSU, and we will soon have four degrees in the family when our youngest completes his MBA. I am honored to spread the great news of Fort Hays State by telling the stories of our Tiger family – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the university. God bless, and go Tigers!


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