Bucks Students Soar with Internships at Lockheed Martin

Partnership with the college ‘builds a pipeline for new employees and a strong workforce for the future.’

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company–Newtown has recently expanded its internship opportunities for students at Bucks County Community College, employing three students in mechanical and software engineering as well as finance.

The partnership with Lockheed Martin, which began about six years ago, was strengthened when Dr. Dana “Keoki” Jackson, Vice President of Navigation Systems at the Newtown facility, was appointed to the board of directors of the Bucks County Community College Foundation. Jackson has been with the company for more than 15 years and moved from the San Francisco area to Bucks County in 2010.

“From Lockheed Martin’s perspective, the internships build a pipeline of new employees and a strong workforce for the future,” said Jackson. “The internships are not just for grooming employees for future work; the interns really contribute now.  They have a great deal of energy and current skills.”

All three Bucks interns worked on the Global Positioning System III program, which will provide the next-generation of navigation satellites for the U.S. Air Force. “Lockheed Martin is currently responsible for two-thirds of today’s satellites for GPS,” Jackson noted.

Students (left-right) Andrew McGalliard, John Swearer, and John “Joey” Ramirez gained valuable experience through internships at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Newtown while attending Bucks County Community College.


John G. Swearer, who studied general engineering at BCCC and transferred to Drexel University, spent last summer gaining hands-on experience as an intern with Lockheed Martin’s parts, materials, and processes team.  He helped to resolve hardware and parts issues with the U.S. Air Force’s technical representatives while working on the GPS III system.

“The internship really provided nice real-world applications to classroom instruction,” Swearer said.  “It is one thing to learn concepts and formulas in class, and another to apply them in the real world.”

Swearer reported to Jeff Reifsnyder, Senior Manager of Specialty Engineering with the GPS III program and a Lockheed employee for more than 32 years. 

“We found the internship program to be valuable,” Reifsnyder said.  “It is a great thing for building a relationship with the community college.  And for the students, it gives them the opportunity for on-the-job training and helps them determine whether what we do is of interest to them.  We try to give the interns meaningful work assignments so that they can get a good feel about the true nature of our business.”

John J. “Joey” Ramirez, an actuarial science major who transferred to Temple University, completed his second summer internship with Lockheed Martin in the finance department for the GPS III program.  He started his internship in the area of audit preparedness to help make sure Lockheed Martin is ready for a government audit.

“You gain experiences that you can’t gain in the classroom,” Ramirez said. “You also set yourself apart when transferring to another institution and on your resume when applying for a job.”

Andrew D. McGalliard spent the past two summers working with the company, and is currently working part-time at the Newtown facility while in his second year at Temple University as a computer science major.

“At Lockheed Martin, I was able to utilize the Java I [computer programming language] learned at Bucks,” McGalliard noted. “I enjoy what I’m doing at the company and would be more than happy to stay with Lockheed Martin for a while after graduating.” 

Jackson complimented the college’s efforts on identifying outstanding students for the internship program.  “We are pleased with the quality of interns,” he said.  “And we are looking forward to working with the next group.  Our hope is to make this a long-term partnership.”

For more information about how to partner with Bucks County Community College, contact the BCCC Foundation at 215-968-8224, foundation@bucks.edu, or www.bucks.edu/foundation.

About Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Corporation employs around 123,000 people worldwide; the Newtown facility employs about 1,000 people.  The unit designs and develops, tests, manufactures, and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security and military, civil government, and commercial customers. The Space Systems Company portfolio includes a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological, and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; ballistic missiles; missile defense systems; human space flight systems; and nanotechnology research and development.

About the Bucks County Community College Foundation

Bucks County Community College is a public, two-year college that provides a wide range of educational opportunities at campuses in Newtown, Bristol, Perkasie, and online. The BCCC Foundation was established in 1982 as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational trust to provide expanded resources for the college’s growth and development. The Foundation’s $6 million endowment supports instructional resources, campus facilities, scholarships and awards, cultural activities and special college projects. To learn more, visit www.bucks.edu/foundation.

Jean Dolan
Assistant Director, Public Relations