ATTENTION: 2020 Summer Undergraduate Core Internships applications will open on January 1, 2020. Please visit the Core Internship Program site for more information.
Engineering majors Telvin Abariga, Payton Andrews, William Day, Leo Goldschmidt, Dalton Macres, Oliver Walz, and Kevin Zheng were among the 24 UMass undergraduates to participate in the 2019 Summer Core Internship Program in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. An intensive 10-week paid internship, this program focuses on providing students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects with hands-on training in a real-world lab setting.
The program allows students from STEM disciplines to gain applied training and experience in the use and operation of state-of-the-art research equipment in UMass core facilities. They also experience gathering data and data analysis and develop team science and soft skills, all while spending their summers in Amherst.
Student interns work approximately 30 hours weekly, with a flexible schedule based on project needs. They work hand-in-hand with core facility directors to support advanced research using cutting-edge technologies while learning valuable, real-world technical skills that can be applied to industry jobs in STEM.
As one example, chemical engineering major Abariga worked in the Nanofabrication Cleanroom, fabricating a host of devices and silicon wafers. He deposited new metals onto the devices and removed the metal plating from pre-plated wafers while relying on reactive ion etching to accomplish this task. As he said, “With my major I plan to specialize in material science, so this is the best place to be.”
Biomedical engineering student Andrews interned in the Magnetic Resonance Center working on spectrometry MRIs. “I've learned a lot of different softwares and programming things that I didn't even know existed, because they are specific to MRIs,” she said. She processed the data at hand and compared the biochemicals of subjects from different studies to identify any differences, considering factors such as age and gender.
Like Andrews, biomedical engineering student Macres researched in the Magnetic Resonance Center. There he spent his time focused on real-time fMRIs entailing a stimulus-generation program in which subjects enter the MRI and receive feedback on how well they perform certain tasks. In the future, he hopes to work on the design side of the MRI industry. “This is great for learning how the whole system works,” he concluded.
Mechanical engineering major Day worked at the Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication Lab operating 3D printers. He took part in design projects, set up prints for professors and researchers, and performed maintenance on the equipment. “We're getting a lot more involved with research compared to if we were working for a company or, you know, a normal engineering firm,” he said. “We do a lot more academic research, which is cool!”
Similarly, mechanical engineering major Goldschmidt also interned in the Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication Lab, doing much the same kind of research as Day. “I knew about this place because I'm trying to pursue a career in 3D printing and additive manufacturing,” explained Goldschmidt.
Another MIE student working in the Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication Lab was Walz. “We've all kind of established our own little quadrants of the lab,” he said. “Getting hands-on time with millions of dollars of equipment is not an easy thing to do. So that's an important experience for me.”
Finally, computer engineering major Zheng did his research in the Mobile Health Sensing and Analytics Laboratory, where he worked on an eBike project. The goal was to integrate bikes into everyday lives to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. As he explained, “Definitely through this internship I'm learning a lot about how sensors work and how they can collect data with people, and how you can understand and analyze that data to make some inferences or assumptions about people's lives.” He also took part in a high school outreach program, working with 13 local students to teach them computer science and machine basics with a health sensing focus. (October 2019)