Kevin Roy: Internship? Yes. Hired? Yes.

Kevin Roy
Hometown: Phippsburg, Maine
Age: 26
Degree: Industrial Engineering ’09

During an interview for an engineering position at Amgen, the interviewer candidly told Kevin Roy (’09) that he lacked the job qualifications. But Roy landed the job because he had proved himself during internships at the company’s plant in West Greenwich, R.I.

“I’ll never forget it,” says Roy, now a chemical engineer at the biotechnology facility.

Yes, a high GPA and a polished résumé can help, but there’s nothing like walking into an interview where the candidate already knows the boss, the staff and the operations.

Every year, hundreds of University of Rhode Island engineering students intern at companies around the globe. For students like Roy, the internship serves as a proving ground for a future career at the company.

After earning his bachelor’s in industrial and systems engineering, Roy served as a contractor for Amgen. When a full-time chemical engineering position opened in 2011, Amgen managers, remembering him from his internships, encouraged him to apply.

“I wasn’t really looking for a job at the time, but I knew I would like the job so I couldn’t really pass it up,” he says.

When Roy walked into his interview, he had already interned at Amgen for two summers and he came ready with suggestions about process improvements and an insider’s understanding of the company’s strategies. Amgen quickly offered him the job.

For Roy, it was life-altering. The Maine native expected to finish graduate school at the University of Rhode Island and then leave the state. Indeed, before his internship, Roy knew little about Rhode Island engineering jobs and was stunned to learn Amgen operates a multibillion-dollar plant in the Ocean State.

These days Roy knows the Amgen plant inside and out. His team, the Process and Systems Analysis Group, uses statistics and chemical engineering to control the manufacturing process for new biologics. Roy says it’s a job that any engineer would enjoy doing.

“For me to enjoy a job, I have to enjoy what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with,” Roy says. “Because of my internships I already knew the people and I had already played around with some of the stuff I would be doing. To be honest, I knew I would love it.”