Claire Hicks - The University of Tulsa

Claire Hicks

Claire Hicks shares her top things she looked for in an internship, the resources she used, and why she ultimately went with Phillips 66.

What Resources Did You Utilize When Evaluating Options for Internships?

One of the biggest ones I used was Golden Opportunities. It’s were all the job openings are and they have great descriptions for each job. I also used it to learn about a company before the career fair. I would find out which companies were coming, research them on Golden Opportunities, and then attend. It gave me insight into the company and confidence when I met the recruiters in person. It’s a great resource and one that I encourage everyone to use.

What Were Your Top Things You Looked for In an Internship?

The things I always asked companies were:

  • What was the hiring rate from internship into full-time?
  • What development opportunities did they have for interns and new hires?
  • How much of my chemical engineering degree would I actually get to use?
  • Will this develop me academically?

These were all very important to me.

Out of all the companies you submitted to, why did you ultimately choose Phillips 66?

There were several factors that went into picking Phillips 66: They had a lot of great opportunities; they have a great hiring rate from internship to full time; I got to use my degree in chemical engineering; they have great programs for new hires.

What Was the One Thing You Learned During the Internship That Surprised You?

How many soft skills I learned. I went into the internship thinking: I’m going to learn a lot about engineering and get very technical. But surprisingly, I learned a lot about writing an effective email, asking good questions, being a good communicator, and working with vendors. It was much more on the soft skill side than I thought it would be.

What Stood Out to You About the Phillips 66 Workplace Culture During Your Internship?

Safety was pushed 100%. My internship took place in a refinery. This was the first time I had ever been near process units and in a situation where I could potentially be put in harm’s way. From day one they push safety and the first thing you do is safety training. You learn how to mitigate hazards, keep yourself safe, and keep everyone around you safe.

Did You Find the Internship Work Meaningful? Did You Receive Detailed and Structured Feedback?

Yes! One of the coolest things about my Phillips 66 internship was that I got to see my project implemented. From start to finish, I got to see it all the way through to completion. In fact, I saved the company 3.5 million dollars a year! It was something that I could put hard numbers to and it was meaningful and satisfying work.

What is Your Advice for Students Looking for Internships?

Be Open-Minded

It might not be exactly the type of company or opportunity you though it would be, but be open-minded. You never know what might come along with an opened mind.

Put Yourself Out There

Be willing to put yourself out there for the right opportunity. Pursue the company, pursue the recruiter, and get in contact with them. Do your research, educate yourself, and put yourself out there.

Build Relationships

Focus on building a lasting relationship with the company you intern for. If they have good opportunities for development and you see yourself working there, keep those relationships going after the internship.

What Advice Do You Have for Companies?

Focus on the Development Side

Figure out how you are going to develop people to become full-time hires. You have a 3-month opportunity to learn about these people and shape them into the employees that you want. My internship had a huge impact on the employee I went on to become. Focus on developing them.


Make sure you are getting feedback from the interns. Create a safe place for them to give honest opinions without fear of looking bad or not getting hired.


Focus on keeping interns engaged the whole time. Keep them involved, make them feel valued, and keep up with them after they leave. Let them know about opportunity updates and new job openings. Keep relationships open.