Josh Lindberg

Gaining valuable experience -- Josh Lindberg, a senior in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s aviation management and flight program, is one of 47 students in the nation to participate this semester in the “NoLimits” Southwest Airlines Internship Program. Lindberg is working as a paid intern in the airline’s safety and security department at Love Field in Dallas. Lindberg is a 2007 graduate of Carbondale Community High School. (Photo provided) Download Photo Here

April 01, 2011

Student part of select group as Southwest intern

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For Josh Lindberg, an aviation management and flight student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, there are definitely “no limits” to his future.

Lindberg is among a select group of college students this spring selected to participate in the “NoLimits” Southwest Airlines Internship Program. Lindberg, a senior, from Carbondale, said there were approximately 4,500 applicants for 47 nationally competitive slots.

Lindberg, 22, is working as a paid intern in the airline’s safety and security department at Southwest Airlines’ headquarters at Love Field in Dallas. Lindberg said he’s enjoying being part of a “unique corporate culture” that challenges him professionally, but does so in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Lindberg’s internship began in January and ends April 29. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August.

David A. NewMyer, chair of SIUC’s Department of Aviation Management and Flight, said Lindberg is receiving a “wonderful experience.” A couple of former SIUC aviation students have worked as interns at Southwest Airlines in the past, NewMyer said.

“Josh is an excellent student. He has a great attitude. He absorbs information like a sponge, so his approach to this is as positive as a student can get,” NewMyer said. “He’s an excellent representative of SIUC. He’s the kind of person who you want to see go out to be your ambassador.”

Southwest Airlines is now accepting applications for fall 2011 internships. Most of the internships are in Dallas, and a wide variety of opportunities are available. The opportunities are not limited solely to students within the aviation program, and include advertising, communication, finance planning, flight operations, maintenance, marketing, public relations, purchasing, and technology. The airline has a website at with more information. The application deadline is Monday, April 4.

Lindberg applied to Southwest Airlines last year after talking with some of his instructors in the aviation flight and management program. He initially talked with airline officials in a telephone interview and then flew to Dallas for an in-person meeting in November. He received the internship the next day.

Lindberg credits his aviation safety and security-related courses at SIUC in helping to achieve the internship.

“The type of training we receive during our flight courses is geared toward being safe and understanding the regulations,” he said. “That’s what I deal with here in the internship.”

While at Southwest Airlines, Lindberg said he’s been able to work on “some very important and security sensitive projects.” He enjoyed accumulating Boeing 737 full-motion simulator time with an instructor, and the free travel benefits to go wherever he wants within Southwest Airlines’ system.

Lindberg is now working in the communications group in the airline’s safety and security department. There are six groups within the department, and interns spend several weeks with each group to get a feel for the job and responsibilities, he said. The other groups within the department are airport security technology, federal airport security, occupational safety, operational safety, and safety performance.

Working in the different groups enabled Lindberg to see the wide range of potential job opportunities within the aviation industry, he said.

“It definitely helped me realize where I want to go with my career,” he said. “It has opened my eyes to many different aviation topics and aviation-related fields that I can go into rather just being a pilot.”

Lindberg said he would like to go into accident investigations of some manner, whether with Southwest Airlines, another airline, the National Transportation Safety Board, or another governmental investigative agency. The NTSB oversees aircraft accident investigations, and Southwest Airlines’ investigative team would assist the agency as subject matter experts in the event of an airline accident or incident.

Lindberg said he is intrigued with how and why accidents happen, and wants to help reduce accidents within the airline industry.

“This internship is not just a job but it’s an opportunity to get real-world experience in the aviation industry,” he said. “Everything I’ve learned and been exposed to will definitely help me further my career in the aviation industry. An internship is an opportunity that every student should try to take advantage of.”

Because the internship is not limited to aviation management and aviation flight, interns can work throughout the company. Lindberg is receiving a complete exposure to the airline, NewMyer said.

“Josh has been all over the airline. He gets to go all over the country working on whatever projects they need him for in the safety and security division,” NewMyer said. “They really treat them like full-fledged employees even though they are spring interns.”

Lindberg, a 2007 graduate of Carbondale Community High School, is the son of Phillip and Lynn Andersen Lindberg. Phillip Lindberg is assistant director of the International Students and Scholars program at SIUC; Lynn Andersen Lindberg is director of business innovation and research at SIUC.