She's a Scholar-Athlete with a Summer Internship and a Bright Future

Monika Graff is interning this summer at Professional Disposables International, a manufacturing company that produces pre-moistened wipes.

Monika Graff is interning this summer at Professional Disposables International (PDI), a manufacturing company that produces pre-moistened wipes.  She’s part of the firm’s operations team.

She works as a validation engineer, where she helps PDI produce more and superior products in a less time. She assists a team of validation engineers who evaluate the company’s production processes. She documents problems on the production line and provides solutions to the errors. 

Monika is enjoying the internship. PDI pays her a good salary and covers her housing in Orangeburg, N.Y., where the firm is based. Recently she met the company’s CEO and she has met employees from the various divisions within PDI. Socially she joined PDI’s kickball team, which plays games after work every Wednesday.

She travelled a long way to come to NJIT. She grew up in a small town in Germany near to Cologne.  After graduating from high school, she spent a year at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  In 2010 she was recruited by NJIT Tennis Coach Mike Sowter to enroll at NJIT and play Division 1 tennis.  She’s excelled at NJIT ever since.

A definitive scholar-athlete, Monika is a senior in the Albert Dorman Honors College who majors in mechanical engineering with a minor in applied mathematics. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also belongs to the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, and was the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Athletically, during her first year here she was named the tennis team´s Most Valuable Player. She also earned First-Team All-Great West Conference honors and received Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete recognition.  In 2011-12, she won the First-Team All- Great West Conference nomination and ITA Scholar Athlete recognition.  She was part of the first NJIT team to capture a conference championship at the Division I level. In 2013, she was recognized by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women with a Woman of the Year award. And most prestigiously, she was twice named the ITA Northeast Regional winner of the Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, one the top awards in collegiate tennis.

She will graduate this winter, and thinks that her summer internship will help her get a top job.  Here she discusses her internship at PDI.


What division of PDI do you work for?

I work for its operations division. I’m working with validation engineers mostly on the production floor. The company has two different value streams and I am part of the flat pack and canister lines. The two lines I work on most of the times have various machines that are combined to deliver the final product. First the dry towel or wipe is folded, contaminated with special liquids and then cut. Through conveyors the product is transferred to wrapping machine, where the wet stack is packed into its package. Some packages will be packed further into bigger cases and then put on pallets.

What is your role in the operations division?

I’m basically working as a process or validation engineer, where I am trying to produce more and better product in a shorter amount of time with less scrap. I am helping the team of validation engineers to validate processes and machines as well as documenting problems or issues and providing adequate solutions.

Two times each year, once between Christmas and New Year’s and again during the week of the fourth of July, the entire plant shuts down for a week to do maintenance on the machines. This time I was part of the team by measuring the new positions of the machines and conveyors. It was a great experience seeing how the outline of two major production lines changed within a few days.

Are you paid for the internship?

I’m paid and the company pays for my housing. I am living a Holiday Inn within 5 minutes walking distance from the plant. The breakfast is included as well and they are providing a shuttle service to and from the office as well.

Do you like the work and the company?

I really like the people at the company; everyone is really helpful and is willing to share their experience with me. At the beginning of the internship all the interns met with the CEO of the company and we were able to ask multiple questions. There were also multiple company events I was able to be part of and meeting other employees from different divisions. I am part of the companies Kickball team, we play every Wednesday at the Boulder´s stadium. So far I learned more about the work world and how to apply my knowledge from college as well as being part of a company. It has been a great experience so far.

How did you get the internship?

I got my internship through the Career Development Services office. Counselors there helped me with my resume and job search.  I made an account online and looked through the database at various jobs. Once I saw the information about this internship I applied for it. I had a phone interview and a week later I was offered the job.  I have another semester left at NJIT but I’m sure this internship will help me find a good full time job after I graduate from NJIT.

(By Robert Florida)