Student takes off to Southwest internship

Anna Bedwell

Radford University student Anna Bedwell was offered a full-time internship this summer at Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas.

Bedwell’s interior design internship at Southwest Airlines covers a variety of areas. She will be helping re-vamp their headquarters and the ambiance of their boarding areas in airports. Southwest is also building a sky-bridge to connect two of their buildings in their Dallas headquarters.

“They have the preliminary engineering done for that already, so I’ll be helping pick the materials, figuring out window placements and the finishes for the bridge,” she said. “I’ll also be traveling to airports to do field measurements for the boarding area renovations.”

In the interior design program at Radford University, it is mandatory that students have an internship. This requirement led Bedwell to search for internships – where she eventually saw the opportunity at Southwest.

“I didn’t think I had a chance, but I applied anyway, just for the fun of it,” she said. “Over 30,000 people apply each year for these internships and only a couple hundred are chosen. I think this says a lot about the strength of our design program here at Radford. The education that I have received since I’ve been here has changed my life. This is a serious program.”

Bedwell transferred to Radford University because of its design program and reputation of the faculty working with the students.

“The professors in Radford’s design program care about each student,” Bedwell said. “Radford’s program is the real-deal. The people that work here are serious about what they do. That’s what made me transfer to Radford.”

The internship whirlwind began for Bedwell when she searched for and subsequently applied to Southwest’s internship program last December. Bedwell quickly found out that she obtained an in-person interview.

Shortly after the interview, Bedwell received a call saying that she got the internship. She didn’t hesitate accepting the offer.

“I barely let him finish the sentence,” Bedwell said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me – it’s surreal. I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned at Radford.”

Part of that education she’s applying is space planning, field measurements, taking photos, communicating with customers and developing construction documents using AutoCAD, a piece of computer software that replaces drafting by-hand.

“Southwest operates with the thought that interns know what they are doing,” Bedwell said. “They aren’t going to micro-manage. They give a project and let the interns run with it.”

Bedwell said that she is considering the internship a job.

“I’ll be applying the skills I am learning at Radford to something that’s going to be in the world,” she said. “Lots of people are going to see what we design and make.”

A perk of the internship is free domestic travel – and the first city on Bedwell’s list is Seattle.

“I’ve always wanted to go there,” she said. “If I get the chance, I want to go there to see Starbucks’ headquarters.”

Bedwell will take off for the career-altering opportunity May 22 and return on Aug. 11.

Feb 20, 2017
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749