Autumn Cook of Crown City, Ohio, enjoyed her internship at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) so much she accepted RCBI’s offer stay on through the summer. The junior in Marshall’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences landed the internship through the College’s Co-Op Program, which pairs qualified students with employers in their fields.
Cook, who is studying mechanical engineering, said she has enjoyed the hands-on nature of her experience at RCBI.
“I’ve been able to work with the 3D printers, which I know I will be working with in the future, and learned about slicing or layering objects to prepare them for printing,” Cook said. “I’ve operated the Amada Pulsar Laser Cutter and several other production tools. “One of the biggest things is I have accelerated my CAD (computer-aided-design) skills exponentially.”
In addition to the laser and 3D printers, Cook has learned to operate the high-end professional equipment in RCBI’s community makerspace, the Maker Vault. This exposure to equipment that includes the Glowforge laser, the X-Carve router a drill press, and other equipment, is experience she ultimately will be able to apply to her career.
Autumn has worked directly with a number of RCBI clients, including assisting with creating 3D printed and silicon-poured molds for a food producer, drawing 3-dimensional computer designs used to produce a herbicidal application tool, and laser cutting and bending precision components for an equipment manufacturer.
“Because of Autumn’s mechanical engineering background, we’re able to assign her to work with our clients to solve real-world problems,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “She brings a fresh perspective to projects while gaining the kind of practical engineering experience that will further her career. We are glad she accepted our invitation to continue her role this summer. We have more to do!”
Interns aren’t the only ones to benefit from the Co-Op program. Companies gain access to STEM-trained employees who are learning the latest applications and new industry trends. Companies around the state and beyond have hired more than 100 Marshall students this summer, most of them through the program.