Source: IACMI | Release | July 20, 2018
This summer, IACMI is hosting its largest class of IACMI Interns, with 43 interns placed at 21 project locations across the United States. The IACMI internship is an integral part of the institute’s mission to develop the advanced manufacturing workforce for the growth of composites in the wind, automotive, and compressed gas storage sectors. The IACMI interns are working with mentors to gain hands-on experience with composites research and production in automotive; wind; compressed gas storage; design, modeling, and simulation; and materials and processing.
This is the third year of the IACMI internship program, and with the 2018 intern class, the internship program has placed more than 75 students at internship locations. As the scope of member involvement has broadened in IACMI, the IACMI internship program has developed to offer an increased number of internship opportunities for students to learn in private industry or through participation in IACMI member projects, in addition to opportunities to intern at national laboratories and universities.
IACMI interns working on IACMI research and development projects are assigned to a project after a period of time working in the lab and becoming familiar with the different companies involved. Both IACMI members and previous IACMI interns encouraged this approach, citing the value of the extensive research skills developed through IACMI internships. As the IACMI internship program has established itself as a rewarding and meaningful learning experience, IACMI members embraced the opportunity to engage this elite group of students through hosting interns.
Eight IACMI members and two regional partners are hosting interns this summer at facilities across the U.S. IACMI member hosts include DuPont, Ford, Vartega, TPI Composites, RMX Technologies, Local Motors, Michelman, and Arkema; and regional partner hosts include the Composite Prototyping Center and Composites Recycling Technology Center. RMX Technologies’ president, Truman Bonds, explained the benefits RMX has experienced through the IACMI internship program: “RMX participated in the IACMI internship program for the first time in 2017. We hosted an excellent intern last year from IACMI who made a significant contribution to the experimental research work we were doing. The selection process IACMI offers provides an efficient way to find the exact candidates we need. We were excited to participate in the program this year as well and were able to select three outstanding interns that are already making a positive contribution to our work.”
Several IACMI interns are working on IACMI projects through the mentorship of both IACMI members in private industry as well as guidance from university laboratories. At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, three interns are working with Michelman – an Ohio-based company specializing in environmentally friendly advanced materials, focusing on surface additives and polymeric binders – to research fiber sizing as part of Michelman’s IACMI project. Students with these placements are able to engage with industry and academia throughout the summer, actively learning about the differences and similarities in research atmospheres, while better understanding how they can work together.
Finally, IACMI is also growing the student base with additional internship placements at university labs and national laboratories. The students continuing to intern at IACMI partner universities and national laboratories are participating in professional development activities while learning from mentors recognized as leaders in their fields. The two IACMI interns at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory joined the Advances in Wind Energy Closed Mold Alliance composites training workshop in June 2018. During this workshop, the interns assisted with injection molding processes, networked with composites workers, and participated in virtual reality (VR) sessions that exemplify simulation opportunities in the wind industry to safely prepare workers for repairing components of a wind turbine.
Additional IACMI interns are learning under the direction of renowned and rising leaders in the composites field, including:
- Uday Vaidya, IACMI’s Chief Technology Officer and the University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Advanced Composites Manufacturing;
- Larry Drzal, Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University with nearly 100 inventions disclosed, more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, 35 patents, and 16 technologies licensed to industry, and most recently named the 2018 MSU Technology Transfer Achievement Award;
- Mike Bogdanor, Director of the Composites Virtual Factory, part of the Composites Manufacturing & Simulation Center (CMSC) at Purdue University. Mike mentors the interns under the direction of R. Byron Pipes, the Executive Director of the Composites Manufacturing & Simulation Center (CMSC) housed in the Indiana Manufacturing Institute in the Purdue Research Park.
- Doug Adams, Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Daniel F. Flowers Professor Chair, and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University.
“The IACMI internship offers students who are interested in pursuing academic and national lab research careers the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of mentors who want to ensure that the students leave the internship with a clear vision of day-to-day operations. This mentorship through the program helps students to gain hands-on lab experience, facilitating their growth as strong researchers ready to enter the workforce,” said Vaidya.
“We are really pleased with the growth of interest for the IACMI internship program,” said Joannie Harmon Heath, IACMI Workforce Manager, “Each year we have grown the program not only in number, but also in scope, to include more industry partners adding real-world learning and application of skills. Additionally, this year we are able to host a variety of internships to include opportunities for both veterans and community college students. We’re especially proud of the diversity we have included in this internship program. Thirty-eight percent of this year’s class is female, which is more than double the national average of women in engineering at 15 percent in 2015. By increasing the diversity of internships and candidates to fill these internship positions, IACMI is better able to support a well-rounded workforce and reach students who are likely to enter an immediate workforce market.”
The students will participate in IACMI’s Summer 2018 Members Meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., where they will be able to network with more than 300 composites industry professionals. In addition to conducting research that expands the progress of increasing efficiency in advanced manufacturing, the students will also develop skills in networking, resume building, and interview prep through guidance from the IACMI workforce and communications team. Students will leave the IACMI internship program both with gained research knowledge in their field and with new career skills, setting them up for successful future STEM careers.
About IACMI-The Composites Institute: The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate innovative research and development in the advanced composites field. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by TheUniversity of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national Manufacturing USA institute is supported by a $70 millioncommitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, and over $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners. Find out more at IACMI.org.