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Lessons Learned at AWS

Lessons Learned at AWS

The Society’s first welding engineer intern shares his valued takeaways

This summer, I had the opportunity to be the first welding engineer intern AWS has had, but let me explain my journey before detailing that exciting endeavor. I’m from New Jersey and was first introduced to welding in my freshman year of high school. From there, I took welding and ran with it. In the fall of 2020, the opportunity to attend Pennsylvania College of Technology (PCT), Williamsport, Pa., essentially fell into my lap. The college offers a hands-on, four-year welding degree. For me, the deal could not have been better. Four years later, I am going into my senior year of studying welding and fabrication engineering technology. This degree is similar to the more widely known welding engineering degree but takes a more hands-on approach to focus on problem-solving and the application of welding, gearing more toward manufacturing. In the summer and anytime I would have time off from school, I also worked for a small welding repair shop in my hometown. There, we mainly focused on construction/mining equipment repairs, plant maintenance, and heavy-duty fabrication. However, that is not to say we did not have our fair share of work brought to us by farmers around the area. 

Internship Happenings

 I heard about the AWS internship through an email sent by PCT’s School of Engineering. It informed students about the position for a summer welding engineer intern. I applied, was offered the role, and was ecstatic to accept it. 

Mentoring Matters 

Over three months, from May to July, I worked in the Technical Services Department under the guidance of Staff Welding Engineer Nathan Carter. Working beside him was nothing short of a learning experience. Having spent the first half of his career in power generation, his knowledge spans the basics of welding to metallurgy to knowing the essentials of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX. Every time I had a conversation with him, there was something I learned.

The Importance of Codes 

The Technical Services Department’s job is to be the in-house go-to source on technical matters. With AWS’s worldwide reach, spreading across countries with its numerous codes, specifications, and guides, there are always questions regarding clarifications or understanding AWS documents, such as how to qualify a welder. The department is easy to reach as well. An email to standards@aws. 

org provides customers with the ability to have their technical questions answered. I will certainly keep this service in mind after graduation when I come across something I don’t understand in an AWS standard. In addition to codes, AWS offers certifications, education courses, and much more. With codes being updated, new information being discovered, and the constant development of new certifications, the Technical Services Department is there to help. Codes and standards are the heart of the welding industry; without them, the infrastructure of the world would be in jeopardy. 

Benefits Gained by Attending Events 

This past summer, I was able to take part in all the previously mentioned tasks and a handful more when I was in the office. Other opportunities were also presented that got me outside of the office and traveling. To name a few, I attended ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Week in Las Vegas, Nev.; shadowed an AWS Accredited Test Facility audit; went to the AWS District 14 Conference in Indianapolis, Ind.; and learned from the Additive Manufacturing Symposium, held at Florida International University, near AWS World Headquarters in Miami, Fla. I had never been exposed to additive manufacturing, so this was a major educational experience. Additive manufacturing does not only apply to the welding industry but also can help other industries, such as medical. At the time, the university was finishing up construction of its new cold spray lab, which I was fortunate enough to tour. I am very excited to see what projects they develop with the lab at their disposal. 

Summer Summary

 With my internship over, I plan on taking all the knowledge, experience, and connections I gained over the past months and applying them to further my education in my final year at PCT. Between academics and extracurriculars, such as running my school’s AWS Student Chapter, it is going to be a jam-packed year. Overall, I learned a lot during my time at the Society, including the value of an internship. Regardless of the field you are studying in, an internship is something every college student should strive to have on their résumé before they graduate college. Internships allow you to establish a baseline of what the industry you wish to pursue is like. Through tasks you enjoy and even those you might not like as much, you build industry connections and, most importantly, gain real-world experience. One thing most students lack fresh out of college is experience, and that’s where having already participated in an internship will help. 

2024 Plans 

Post-graduation, I hope to obtain a manufacturing job in the defense or aerospace industries. I’ll always carry the skills I learned throughout various experiences, including this AWS internship, to continue growing and moving forward even more.

Original article From https://www.aws.org/