Indium Blog

My Indium Intern Experience: Past and Present

  • 2016 College Interns
  • Hi everyone,

    As some of you already know, I have been in Indium Corporations internship program the past two years. A lot has changed the past two summers within the program, myself, and my projects. It was amazing to see how much the program grew in just one year. At the end of last year, all the interns got together for lunch and gave as much feedback as we could on the program. We discussed what we liked, what we didn't like, and what needed to be changed. Indium Corporation took all of our feedback into consideration when putting together the program for this year. Dawn Roller, Jim McCoy, and Rick Short did a tremendous job making adjustments to the program that would benefit future interns. As an intern that experienced the program with and without the adjustments, I can assure you that the program has improved and will continue to improve in the future.

    There have been many changes within the internship program. One major change was the lunch-and-learns that the interns have every week. Each week, on Wednesday, all the interns get together at HQ and eat lunch together while learning from various guest speakers. Some of the topics were: mentoring, Dale Carnegie training, networking & communications, and resumé refreshing. It was nice to get together with all the interns once a week. Last year we only got together as a group two times; once for media day and once on my second-to-last day. Because I was the only intern in my building last year, I never really got to see other interns until the final week of my internship. I am glad that Indium Corporation's internship program implemented the lunch-and-learns.

    Another difference was adding "bragging day" to the program. On this day interns presented progress reports on their projects to all the supervisors. We discussed what we have learned and how our education has prepared us for this internship. I really enjoyed "bragging day" because we interns were able to hear what everyone else was working on, and we got great feedback from our supervisors and other Indium Corporation employees.

    Another change this year is the blog posts the interns write weekly (like this one). I think the posts are interesting and beneficial because they are essentially our own diary about this internship. I think people enjoy reading our posts because they provide insight into what we are doing and thinking throughout the summer. This year Indium Corporation has also increased their social media with the interns using The Paige Group and Quadsimia. The Paige group conducted multiple video interviews that depict our progress throughout the summer. Quadsimia has been publishing our posts and accomplishments on social media.

    These adjustments to the program have really made Indium Corporation's internship program stand out from the rest.

    There is also a big difference between the projects I have been working on the past two years. Last year, my title was chemical technician intern and I only had one project. My project essentially was one big research and development project. I had to figure out a way to extract indium metal from a compound. I performed three weeks of research before coming up with a lab experiment, then performed various DOEs (design of experiments), and spent the rest of my internship in the lab perfecting my experiments. This project related to chemistry and chemical engineering in every way. I really enjoyed the last summer's assignment, even if it was only 1 project. I was very busy every minute. This year I had three different projects, and only one of them was chemistry related. The chemistry project I've worked on involved determining the diffusion rate between indium and copper. For this I also had to perform research, then conducted various DOEs testing temperature, time, and different indium-containing alloys. This project was very similar to the one I did last summer.

    The other two projects I am working on this summer involve upgrading Indium Corporation's e-commerce website and analyzing customer sales data to look for trends.

    I know that some of you may be thinking, "Why is a chemical engineer working on these projects? They aren't even related to engineering!"  I am working on them because they are making me a more well-rounded individual. No one wants an engineer that can only do one thing. I now have various skills that I wouldn't have if my supervisor did not assign these projects to me. "Are they just busy work for her?" No. They are actually very valuable to the company and I am honored that I am able to help the company grow. "Did her supervisor just give her these projects because he didn't want to do them?" My supervisor, Tim Jensen, has exposed me to many different aspects of this company and I am grateful for all that he has done for me. He asked me, during our interview, if I would like to work on business-related projects and I said yes. Because of Tim, I now have skills that set me apart from the average "chemical engineer." "Would you say you liked your experience at Indium Corporation better this year or last year?" I wouldn't say that I like one year better than the other because there were certain aspects that I liked of each. I really enjoyed last year's project. It showed me that I enjoy hands-on work. I really liked the research and development aspect of the project and the fact that I was able to watch my design grow in front of me. This year I really liked the lunch-and-learns and the various skills I learned from working on projects out of my comfort zone. All in all, I have learned so much from this internship program that it really doesn't matter what one was "better" because this entire experience was so beneficial to me.

    Because of the internship program at Indium Corporation, I can see differences within myself as an engineer and as a person. I have developed valuable skills that will help me in my career. Indium Corporation taught me to communicate professionally and effectively, develop interpersonal skills, and to stand out. The most important thing I have learned from this experience is to never be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help once in awhile. No one is able to do all their projects all on their own. Honestly, who would even want to do that? Wouldn't you want to learn and grow from other people's ideas? I know that's all I ever want to do. I want to learn as much as I can. If that means asking a million questions then so be it. It is definitely worth it in the end. I have become a stronger chemical engineer and a more independent individual because of this experience.

    I am grateful for my experiences at Indium Corporation. I have learned so much the past two years; it truly amazes me. If you ever question whether you should apply to an Indium Corporation internship, the answer is always yes. You will learn much more than you would ever think you could learn. If anyone has any questions about my internship experience at Indium Corporation please feel free to ask.

    Thank you to everyone at Indium Corporation for giving me a chance to grow as a person. I wouldn't be where I am now without these experiences.

    Until Next Time,