My STEP Signature Project was an internship with pH Matter LLC. While interning I was responsible with fuel cell assembly and testing. I also helped with catalyst synthesis and data analysis.
I have learned that I would like to follow the environmental focus within Chemical Engineering. I have always seen it important to push towards sustainability and a healthier planet, but felt it was impossible for one person to make a big difference. This job showed me how much opportunity there is in this market. I am fascinated by the scientific breakthroughs that will help society become more eco-friendly.
I have learned a lot about the day to day work of an engineer from this experience. The biggest being the importance of recording and analyzing data. I had never realized how much time and effort this takes. I also really didn’t have any idea how to look at data before this experience. In class when looking at data you already know what relationships exist and how they should be used, but this is not the case in the real world. Discovering relationships and trends in the data is what leads to improvements down the road. My boss Paul has also given me a lot of confidence as I move forward into the field of engineering. He started the company, and has a vision for it. This has shown me the importance of ideas, and sharing those ideas. Because of this I feel comfortable offering up all my ideas during weekly meetings.
Working at a small company has also allowed me to form close connections with all my co-workers. It was very clear to me that everyone was there for a reason. Everyone works hard with needing to be told to do so. We all share the same passion to improve the world through sustainability, and we all enjoyed coming to work.
After my internship I feel so much more confident that I will be able to succeed after graduation. Before this experience I was very anxious about life after graduation. After being in school for so long I had no idea what it was like to have a career, especially one you can enjoy. However, my signature project proved to me I can be successful in this field, and that I can enjoy life in and outside of work.