Three internships, three experiences
This past summer, I had the chance to work in applications engineering at John Crane as an intern. John Crane is a global company that designs and manufactures mechanical seals, which are used to minimize leakage on pumps, turbines, and other rotary equipment. I was one of two interns in the applications engineering department, though there were a total of 15 interns on the campus. I had a wonderful time learning what exactly an engineer’s role could be in industry, and the different paths that I could follow with such a degree.
As an applications engineering intern, my main job was to assess how feasible a particular product would be for a specific company’s needs. To do this I learned how to use some proprietary FEA (finite element analysis) software, the CAD software SolidEdge, and a lot of Microsoft Excel. I got to learn a lot about the uses of mechanical seals and the company’s product line.
Not everything at the workplace was strictly work though. We took a few trips for learning purposes, such as an overnight trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to visit one of their customers, Proctor & Gamble. There we saw many of the seals that we had been working with in action, and we were able to talk to one of the sales representatives, who happened to have an engineering background. I also got to take trips to meet a manufacturing plant manager and some customer reliability engineers. By meeting all these people and finding out what they do, I determined that I will be looking for an R&D internship for next summer.
For those of you looking for an internship, I highly recommend getting some experience with a technically oriented RSO. My experiences with Baja, the university’s off-road vehicle team, has given me so much engineering experience and has introduced me to many upperclassman and full-time engineers who are willing to help me with both school and career advice. I don’t think I would have been so successful without their support.
Being an engineering intern at Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America (AK-BA) this past summer was an incredible experience. Asahi Kasei is a Japanese company that focuses on innovating products in material, homes, and health care. AK-BA is a sector of that company located in Glen View, Illinois, that creates custom bio-pharmaceutical equipment for a variety of applications.
My position was essentially acting as a support for any of the engineers as they developed their products. This sort of position allowed for me to really see a lot of the engineering processes that you don’t necessarily hear about in classes. The other engineering interns and I did assembling, testing, documentation, installation qualification, operational qualification, factory acceptance testing, and more for various projects. I genuinely felt like there was always impactful work and valuable lessons for the interns and I am extremely lucky to have been one of them.
The environment at the office was friendly and fun. The interns’ desks were on the testing floor so there were many opportunities to get acquainted with engineers, assembly workers, and other employees of AK-BA. Everyone was extremely willing to answer questions or work through problems with you. The company had great events to facilitate employee bonding like a company softball game, bowling, breakfast catered on the first Friday of every month, and a cupcake making competition!
I can’t express how grateful I am to have had such an amazing summer working for AK-BA. I’ve made some lifelong friends, learned a lot about the engineering process, and gained a lot of confidence in my abilities as a worker. So thank you AK-BA, for everything.
To all looking for an internship, I think the best advice I can give is to invest in a passion while at school. Although there are a lot of awesome RSOs and organizations you could be a part of, it is really valuable to be able to say you’re deeply committed to one. Recruiters like to see you that work hard for whatever group you find yourself in, and if you truly love it that will make it even better.
I had the tremendous opportunity to work as a Vehicle Cooling Intern at Navistar this summer. Initially International Harvester and founded in 1902, Navistar is now an international company that makes buses, defense vehicles, and class 4- through class 8-sized trucks.
I worked at Navistar’s headquarters in Lisle, Illinois. I was a part of an incredible team of people who were eager to include me in many projects and allow me to sit in on their design reviews. I was involved in numerous projects through the summer: I worked in a few assembly update Releases, the process of supplier cost quoting for a future Cooling Module, and I was given the opportunity to perform the 3D re-routing of a Charger Air Cooler pipe that will actually be used on their LT International trucks in Mexico!
Two larger projects spanned most of the summer, work that I did with Xfmea and the Cooling Library. Xfmea is a software that houses FMEA documents. FMEA stands for Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, and it is a tool that allows for prediction of what failures may occur in a design of a system, and allows for a consideration of how severe that failure is, how likely it is to occur, and the likelihood that current product tests will be able to detect the failure. I made 11 template Design FMEAs that my team will be able to use as baselines for their future project specific FMEA work. Through this process, I learned a great deal about the vehicle cooling process with failure as a lens, and that offered an interesting perspective in contrast to the traditional process of learning a new system in a state of idealizations.
I also worked on the Cooling Library, which is a standard part lookup specifically for vehicle cooling. I created performance comparisons, and created a centralized space for drawing sheets, performance data, and technical information for Fans, Fan Drives, and Transmission Coolers. Through this I learned not only about the part organizational process for high volume parts, but also of the function, interactions, and cooling theory of each of the different parts.
My team was incredibly giving of their time and knowledge. They are comprised of a group of brilliant and kind engineers, and I have to say that I was surprised with the shared desire for collaboration and support that is present within the company. On Wednesdays, we wear purple. That sounds like a mis-quote from Mean Girls, but it’s just a sweet thing that my team did each week. The atmosphere allowed us to walk over to someone else’s space if any one of us had a question, and any member of the team would be more than willing to share their time and expertise to solve the problem.
Working for Navistar was truly a fantastic opportunity, and when they read this, I would like to thank my team one more time for helping to make this summer the great experience that it was.