Advanced education


Noblesville High School senior Juan Armendariz named Indiana high school intern of the year

A laugh and smile is the first thing that comes from Noblesville High School senior Juan Armendariz when asked about his knowledge about Noblesville’s largest employer SMC Corporation.

“I had never heard about SMC before the (industry) tour and I live right across the street,” he said. “It’s a huge building but it’s just so quiet and calm no one pays attention to it.”

Armendariz, who now spends 24-25 hours a week at SMC now, recently won the Indiana Intern of the Year in the high school division.

“There are so many students out there. It was exciting to hear my name called out,” he said. “It’s a fantastic company.”

Armendariz’s recommendation came from SMC.

“Juan conducts himself in such a manner as to convey confidence and poise under pressure of deadlines,” SMC wrote in his nomination. “Juan’s knowledge of the order-fill process has also allowed him to build rapport with the order filling leadership, thus allowing him the freedom to research issues as they arise and follow through to resolution.”

Frank Rivera, SMC manager of the central warehouse, said the company has 14 students this year interning.

“Juan demonstrated those leadership skills early on,” he said. “His learning curve was short. Juan stood out that he could do a little bit more things … We rely on him with little to no direction.”

Armendariz credits his teachers and administrators at the school for getting him interested in an internship.

“Ms. (Beth) Meguschar would take juniors around to different facilities – hospitals, Gaylor, construction – SMC was one of the options and I was interested in SMC the most,” he said. “I’m also taking classes where we had SMC managers and supervisors come by and talk about their facility.”

Armendariz interns on the warehouse and production side of the facility.

‘In the production area, I’ve pretty much been placed with mechanical engineers, machinery. I’ve gone through the whole assembly process with cylinders. Everyone always asks me what the cylinders do. It’s more for air pressure to open or close a prison or jail cells,” he said. “At the warehouse it’s more running around, trying to find orders, expedite and consolidation, pick and pull and making sure the right orders come down the line.”

Armendariz said working is his favorite part of his internship.

“The workers always tell me they can’t believe I always come in here smiling,” he said. “I just enjoy one day working with a machinery worker and the next helping around and picking. I like moving around a lot and the opportunity to be at a variety of areas.”

“He has a positive attitude all the time. Here at school in classes teachers would tell you the same thing,’ said Susan Wiersema, NHS internship coordinator. “He has a fantastic work ethic and attitude.”

In all, NHS has 165 students involved in business internships across the city.

“Juan is just one of those remarkable students,” Wiersema said. “He saw an interest as a junior and followed though and obviously has done a great job for us and SMC.” They hired him outside of his internship which speaks to his work ethic and obviously has done well as an intern there.”

Wiersema said students spend three hours every other day and 15 hours every two weeks at the internship. Armendariz however spends more time, approximately 24-25 part-time hours.

“After my internship I have a little time to myself and then head back there,” he said, adding he gladly volunteers to work on weekends. “I always try to work Saturdays. It starts at 6 a.m. and usually ends at noon. Those hours are optional but I thought what am I usually doing – just sleeping. I might as well come in and work.”

This summer Armendariz plans to intern with SMC’s human resources department, more specifically inside sales.

“I can have internships at the warehouse, production and office,” he said.

In the fall, Armendariz will take general classes in the fall at Ivy Tech.

“I’m interested in getting into robotics, automation and chemical engineering,” he said. “Those are the big three but right now I just want to see where I am after two years of college.”

Armendariz said his experience has provided him with a trade understanding that few of his peers possess.

“I think the internship program is very helpful during high school because it helps students, especially as a senior getting ready to go to college, improve their self-confidence, work ability, problem-solving skills, responsibility and just leaving high school you are going to have those traits,” he said.

Know more

The Noblesville High School internship program began in January 2013 with 22 students. Last school year, 87 seniors participated and that number doubled to 165 students this year. Susan Wiersema, internship coordinator, said the program provides high school seniors with a hands-on learning experience.

“Internships introduce students to the habits and value of work, while making connections between academic learning and its real-world application,” she said.

Wiersema said NHS is partnering with 43 local businesses.

“We have a lot of great partners,” she said. “The City of Noblesville has been fantastic and made my job easy because businesses have embraced the program and volunteered to have interns come into their businesses.”

Interested students take industry tours at potential internship sites as juniors. Businesses interested in partnering with NHS may contact Wiersema at or call 773-4680 ext. 12262.

Meet Juan Armendariz

Age: 19

Hobbies: I like to work and play soccer

Plans after graduation: Summer internship at SMC Corporation and will attend Ivy Tech Community College

Favorite food: My mom’s torta’s

Favorite class: Advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering, English and math.

Favorite movie: “The Lion King”

What he has learned the most through his internship: That asking questions is the most important one when working at an environment like that. Once you get used to the work you express your opinions out there on what they should do to get out an order or how to fix an order.


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