Andrew E.

January 7th – January 14th (0 hours) – I have not been to my internship site yet this semester. The only real involvement that I have had with the program as of right now is trying to setup when I am starting and going to the project meeting. I learned about the second semester project at the meeting last week and all that it entails. There are a lot of different parts to the project and I know that I am going to have to make sure to stay very organized and keep track of all of the due dates so that I can manage my time well. I have realized that I need to start getting organized again after break and get back into the normal routine now that everything has started up again. My calendar hasn’t been as organized i the beginning of the semester and I need to make sure to have all of the dates for the semester put into my phone like I had done for last semester. This system worked well for me last semester and I was able to stay on track with things. I am starting back at my internship this week and I think that that, along with getting everything planned out again, will help me get back into the organization that I had last semester. This project has many new dates to turn things in and I know that I will have to keep track of all of my due dates in order to do well this semester.

I learned about cleaning parts to the level of being able to be put in out clean room (I’ve explained this in logs from last semester, but the clean room is a room that that we have to keep dirt and dust out of. It is used for things that have to be kept very very clean because of specifications from the customers). There are certain things that have to be kept clean because of what the customers want for these things. I’ve learned this at AOS while I was there. There is a list of procedures with all of the different steps, and one of the people who work in assembly explained them to me the first time so that I didn’t mess it up. I did not have to do much study on my own for this, because once I learned the steps and did it a few times, I understood what to do. Now I am able to clean parts on my own and complete the whole process. I can be given a part that needs to be cleaned for someone and then have it ready for the clean room a short time later. I can keep improving this skill by continuing to clean parts and trying to memorize the steps more than I have currently. There are all kinds of parts that have to be cleaned, it depends on what it is going to be used for. If the part has to go into the clean room or is being used on an optic, then it must be cleaned to the specifications that depend on where it is going and why. I don’t have much information on what a lot of things are, because a lot of that is above my paygrade. I ask questions about what things are, but there are some things that are kind of compartmentalized, or it is just that I don’t have the overall knowledge of all of the projects that have been going on for a while now. I try to ask questions as much as I can (but there are times when I don’t because it would be getting in the way of the work getting done, and the information isn’t crucial to my task). Normally it is either fred, Ron, John, Rob, or David that asks me to clean parts. They are the ones who I normally do work for, and a lot of the time I will ask them if they need anything done, or they will just ask me to do it when I have some time.

Cleaning parts could benefit me later on because there might be some jobs where knowing how to do this kind of thing is helpful. I think that there will be a good amount of opportunities in college in which I will be able to use some of the skills that I have learned already and will learn this semester at AOS. This along with some other things are bound to be helpful later on, no matter where I end up. For example, I have gotten experience in organizing the stockroom and the floor stock, and that organization experience is easily transferable to other areas work, not just engineering. I think that most jobs are going to have some sort of organization skills needed later on. Also, cleaning will help later on because if I end up in a science related field I will probably need to make sure that things are clean, and this will give me a good foundation for that sort of thing.

I learned about what a draper is when I was helping Fred clean it up for a group of visitors coming in. This is a kind of optic polishing machine that is used on the large optics. It is used to get the optics to meet the specifications that they need to be made to according to what the customers want from it and what the engineers that are designing it say it needs to be. AOS is in the process of converting this machine from a draper to a different kind of machine; I asked Fred about why they want to convert it and he told me that once it is converted it will be more versatile and useful to AOS for the kinds of need that the company has currently and expects to have in the future.

January 15th – January 28th (20 hours) –  One meaningful experience that I have had in the past few weeks was getting brought in for extra days to help out with projects that they had going on. Normally I just go in twice a week, but for the past couple weeks I have gone in for an extra day because there was work that they needed some help doing. This has made me think about how when working somewhere you have to decide how committed you’re going to be. I could have just said that I only was going to come in for the scheduled times because that’s all the hours that I need for the class requirements, but I came in because I wanted to help and because I wanted to show commitment. I know that sometimes these kinds of things can end up turning into real jobs later on, and I’m trying to do my best so that there might be a possibility of that happening later on. But even if that doesn’t end up happening, I still want to do the best that I can. I haven’t put too much thought into this before, but I think that I’ve learned a lot from this.

I learned what a test plate is yesterday from David. We were working on a crate for a test plate and I asked him what that meant, so he told me. A test plate is an optic that they know the exact specifications on. They compare the surface of the actual optic that is polished and made to actually be used to the surface of the test plate to see if it meets the specifications that it needs to or if it needs to be worked on more before it is going to be sent out.

January 29th – February 11th (20.5 hours) – In the past couple weeks, one meaningful experience that I have had is having to get my AOS email set up. Up until now, I haven’t had my email set up, so there have been some things that I was out of the loop on because of that lack of access. Before last week I thought that I could only have access to email on a computer (which I don’t have at AOS), but I then learned from a coworker that it is allowed to have it on my phone. I asked John (my mentor) about setting it up, but he said that I would have to talk to one of the bosses about it. I emailed her and asked, and she told me that I just had to ask the IT guy to help me with it before he left (he works only once or twice a week in the mornings). Once I went in and asked, it took about all of 5 minutes to get set up. I learned from this that a lot of times the only way to get something done is to be willing to ask and find the way to do it. If I hadn’t have asked, I probably would have gone a lot longer without having an email, even though I knew it was starting to become a problem. But, as it turned out, it was very easy when I started to put effort towards it. I had seen that the other people at AOS weren’t going to start this process for me, I had to do it myself.

My first SMART goal was to complete both the Torquing and Staking Training, and the Clean room Training. At my site visit, we were setting the goals and John said that these were both trainings that I was likely to need by the end of my internship, and thought that it would be good to have these set as a goal. I agreed with this and we set that as one of the goals. The first training, Torquing and Staking, was meant to train workers on how to properly use a torque wrench on assemblies that require specific torque values to be applied to screws. The staking part of the training is meant to train workers on how to stake screws and nuts. Staking is what happens after I’ve applied the designated torque to a screw. It is when I take a putty like material into a syringe and use that to mark that the screws have been torqued. This ensures that once I’ve gotten a screw done right, someone else doesn’t adjust it mistakenly, and so that if for some other reason it is moved, the glue will break and make it clear to see that movement has happened and that this screw must be fixed. This part of the goal was fairly easy to complete. The training was taking place a couple days after my site visit, and John said that it would be best for me to just go to that one. I went to the training and everything went very smoothly, and I got through it with relative ease. The difficulty started once Torquing and Staking was over. I knew that I had to make sure that at some point this semester, I was going to have to complete this training to meet my goal. I hadn’t talked much with John about doing this training after the site visit was done, but I soon realized that I was going to have to take initiative with this and start asking about when it would be possible for me to be trained to be able to be in the clean room. I asked John, and he said that he would see about finding a time one day that I could be trained for the clean room and to be a part of some of what goes on in there (assembly processes and testing). I was thinking about this, and I think that really what this is going to come down to is when somebody is going to have time to train me. The other thing that I have been thinking about, is that it might not be very practical from the perspective of AOS to train me, because I’m not quite sure that there is much need for me to be in the cleanroom. When I put myself on the other side, it doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense for a company to take time out of the day to train someone to do something that they will not need to do while working there. As of now (2/10/19), I have not been through the clean room training. I hope that there will be an opportunity for me to go through it in the coming weeks, and I am going to do as much as I can to make that happen. So far with this first goal, I think that completing the Torquing and Staking training has gone very well. I didn’t know really what to expect from it, because I had never done that kind of thing before. But, I was able to get through the training and I am now able to put the skills that I learned from it to good use. Just the other day, I was asked to but some hoisting rings on a plate that was being used for something, and I had to put a certain amount of torque on the bolts, and I was able to do it because I had been trained on how to use a torque wrench. I think that this will benefit me greatly in the future, both because of the industry specific skills that I have already learned, and because of the communication skills that I have had to develop in order to get the clean room training set up. I realized that if I didn’t say something about needing to get this done to reach the set goals, then it would probably not happen until it was too late. I couldn’t wait for someone else to get it set up for me, I had to be direct and say something so that I could have a chance at getting this training done before the end of the semester.

I learned what an arbor press is this week at AOS. An arbor press is a machine that is used for “press fit work”, which is things like installing bearings, and riveting. I learned this from Fred when he was talking to me about how he needed the press cleaned and brought into the assembly area to be used in a project that they were doing later int he week. It lives in the machine shop in AOS, which is one of the places in the building that is considered dirty (because of all of the metal shavings and other particles created by machining work- these can be very dangerous to optics, because they can damage the surface of an optic that is expensive and time consuming to fix).

February 12th – February 25th (20.5 hours) –  One meaningful experience that I have had in the past couple weeks was doing the inventory for the floor stock. By this I mean that I was going through all of the floor stock we have (all of the screws, washers, nuts, bolts, etc. that aren’t program material that is controlled), counting, and recording how many of each item we have in stock. It took multiple days for me to do (someone else had done a portion of it already, but I ended up doing all but that small part), and it is a very tedious task. Despite this, I worked on it until it was finished, and now it is over. I learned from this that there will always be things that nobody wants to do, and that’s why companies hire interns and entry level workers. I also learned that things like inventory aren’t going to be very enjoyable, but they still have to get done. The best thing to do is to just get into it and work through it, putting forth your best effort. Complaining and trying to avoid working isn’t going to help anyone, so it’s best to work hard on it, and then once it is done, you get to work on something that is more interesting. This has also reminded me of all of the work that has to be done at places like AOS in order to keep it running. Everyone always thinks about how these places have to have people capable of designing and constructing complex assemblies, but many people don’t realize that there is another side to these companies, the side that is enabling the engineers and technicians to complete their work with as few delays and dangers as possible.

I recently learned what a durometer is. A durometer is a tool that is used to measure the hardness of a material. I learned this when a new one came in for the assembly area. I was there when the order came in, and Rob had me read the instruction manual for it so that I knew how to use it and so I tell others if they needed to know.

February 26th – March 11th (16 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had recently has been seeing how much planning has to go into everything that happens when projects are being worked on. I had the opportunity last week to be a part of a training for a critical procedure that had to be done with some of the components of a project we are working on. But before any of the work could start for this step, there had to be a detailed plan written that gave very specific, step by step instructions on what was to be done, and how. This is done to minimize the chance of mistakes occurring in the process. Another reason for this is so that if something does go wrong with it later on, it is easier to see what caused the issues because there is detailed documentation of what work was done. This has made me come to realize that pretty much every job is going to have lots of work that isn’t all that enjoyable. There is going to be parts that I am going to really enjoy, these will be the parts that draw people to certain careers, but there will also be other parts that I don’t like doing, but that still have to get done. Not every part of the job is going to be all that fun, but that shouldn’t be what I use to decide on what career I want to pursue.

My second SMART goal that we set at my site visit was to observe assembly processes done by trained AOS employees. I chose this goal because at the time I had not been very involved in the assembly side of things, I had been doing more work keeping things organized and clean. I realize that this is work that has to be done in order to allow others to do their jobs better, but I also wanted to be able to observe or be a part of the work on the projects being done. I would say that the first real step in achieving this goal was for me to take the initiative to go ask people who I do work for if they have anything that I can do for them. There are many times when my mentor, John, does not have anything that he needs done, but there are others who need help with something. When I don’t have something to work on, I always try my best to go and find something to do. By doing this, I am making better use of both my and the company’s time, and I am also seeking out more opportunities to do assembly work and to have new experiences. For example, recently I didn’t have anything going on the moment, so I went and asked Fred if there was anything that he needed done. He told me that there was in fact some things that he needed done, and then showed me what they were. There were a couple large components that were going to be a part of a procedure that had to happen soon. There were preparations that had to be made to get ready for this, and he had me work on getting the components ready so that when the time came, the work could be done. Another step in completing this goal was simply making sure that John knew that I wanted to be a part of the assembly processes that were going on. We talked about that a while back, and within these past few weeks, there have been multiple times in which he told me that there was something happening that day that he wanted me to be a part of. One of those was being involved in the training for the assembly of the components that I mentioned earlier. I not only saw what would happen, but I got a glance at how much preparation has to go into something that many people would consider insignificant. There had to be a lengthy document containing the exact procedures that was drafted and revised multiple times, and then there was a training on exactly what was going to happen to ensure that when it came time for the real thing, it all went according to plan. It is not as simple as just thinking of a way to solve a problem, you have to find a solution to the obvious issues, and then think of every little thing that could go wrong, then make a plan that takes all of that into account.

One hurdle that I encountered while trying to achieve this goal was the fact that I was only actually at AOS for about 8 hours a week, split up over two afternoons. This made it difficult for me to stay involved and to keep up with what was going on with everything. Over Spring break I have been going in for full days, not half days, and I have been available to come in for almost the whole break to be a part of anything that John wanted me to be a part of. For example, I was able to be cleanroom trained last week because I was there for a lot longer, so John was able to find some spare time and took me through all the procedures for the cleanroom. The whole thing probably took less than 30 minutes, but it was so much easier to find time to do it when I was there all day and able to work around John’s schedule. Another issue with only being there in the afternoons is that a lot of the time, more things get done in the morning before lunch. It is always different, but I have noticed this week that it seems a little busier in the mornings. I overcame both of these by communicating to John that I was available and would like to work more over break, and then going and working as much as I could.

I would say that the thing that went well in completing this goal was seeing that only being there for less than 10 hours a week was hindering my ability to move closer to my goal, and then being able to easily find a solution. I only had one day over break that I was going to be unavailable no matter what, but other than that, I told John that I could be there for just about any day that he thought that it would be good for me to be there. This made it fairly easy for me to be there when there was going to be assembly work for me to be a part of, making it possible for me to meet the goal that I set.

I think that completing this goal will help me in a couple of ways in the future. The first way is probably the most obvious one, that I gained new technical skills in the process of meeting this goal. There were multiple different processes that I got to be a part of, and they were all different from each other and required me to learn to do different things. The second way that I will benefit from this is that I had to improve my communication skills in order to find a way to get to my goal. If I hadn’t said anything to John about being available more and wanting to be more involved in the assembly work, then I probably would not have accomplished what I set out to, and if I did it probably would have taken much longer because I would have been waiting for somebody else to try and guess what it was that I wanted to be doing, which would take a while for someone that is busy with their own work.

Feeler Gauges- I learned what a feeler gauge is last week at work while performing a test to make sure that two large parts were going to fit the right way when put together. A feeler gauge is a tool used to measure small gaps between two objects, it looks like a bunch of flat metal strips, all of which have a specified thickness that is used to find the size of the gap. I used one of these at work recently during the fit test to see how good or bad the fit was for this assembly that we were working on. 

March 12th – March 25th (31 hours) –  One meaningful experience that I have had in the past two weeks is getting trained to work in the clean room, and then soon after having multiple opportunities to work in the clean room (a clean room is a room in which measures are taken to ensure that as little dirt is present inside as possible). One of my goals set at my site visit was to be clean room trained. Last week John showed me what has to be done in order to go into the clean room. I have to put on a full clean room suit that covers up pretty much everything except for my eyes. The other big thing is making sure that anything that I take in with me is clean and will not give off any sort of fibers (paper, fabric, etc.). This training didn’t take very long at all, and the next day that I went in I was working in the clean room for part of the day. There have been a couple more times that I have been working in there. First I helped an engineer test a sub assembly and changed out the air filters, then I swept it out (it has to be regularly cleaned to make sure that it isn’t too dirty), and then I helped Rob get another sub assembly put together. I am happy that this happened because I have been wanting to work in the clean room for quite a while now. I feel that I have grown from this because I now have experience working in a clean room, a skill that is likely to benefit me in the future if I am to pursue a career in engineering.

Thread Locker is a liquid that is applied to the threads of a screw to make the fit tighter so that the screw will not move from the desired position unintentionally. I learned what thread locker is while working with Rob in the clean room. We were using it when we were putting a sub assembly together because we wanted to make sure that all the screws stayed in the exact positions that we set them at.

March 26th – April 8th (16 hours) – One experience that I have had recently was having a project that was pretty much my responsibility to get finished. We had 4 large components that had to go through multiple tests to and procedures to make sure that they work and to get the assembly process moved along. I was expecting that I would do some work on this and then whatever still had to get done would be done by someone else, because that is normally what happens since a lot of things have to happen quickly and I am only there twice a week. This was different, it seemed like this wasn’t as rushed to happen. That meant that there was time for me to work on it and make progress while I was there. This made it feel like this project was almost my responsibility. The only other time that this has happened was with the floor stock inventory. I think that this helped me grow because I was able to have a thing that I had to manage getting done. John had told me that they had to get cleaned up and moved into the clean room, and I was the one to do most of that process. This was one of the first times that I thought about what I actually had to do to make sure that something was done when it needed to be. I had to make sure to work efficiently so that I got the work done.

One thing that my internship has taught me is that communication is very important in a workplace, but it can be challenging. I started out knowing that this would be a struggle for me, and I have had to improve a lot since then. I have had multiple times in which I needed something done or I had questions about something and I have had to be able to talk to people about what I need. Another thing that I have learned through my internship is how to work on delicate objects and make sure that they are able to be used in optical assemblies. I think that the cleaning and assembly skills that I have gained will benefit me wherever I go in the field of engineering.

1. Make sure to keep all dates in your phone and be prepared to get everything done early. I have let things slip a few times and it has been hard to catch up. It is best to just stay on top of everything in the first place.
2. Get to know lots of people at your site. It is good to make a lot of connections in the industry so that you can open up the possibility of having a job or something in the future. Also you are more likely to learn more if you have good conversations with people have have spent years in their field and are knowledgeable about it.
3. Talk to your mentor about what you are interested in doing at your internship. Communicating with them is important and it is how to take advantage of every opportunity. If you talk to them about what you want to do, then you will probably get more out of it than if you just go with whatever is easy to do.

Lock Washer- This is a type of washer that goes up against the nut on the screw to make that it doesn’t rotate once it is in place. I learned what this is while I was working on getting a large assembly ready to be shipped.

April 9th – April 22nd (7.5 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had recently was when there were some parts needed for an assembly, but we didn’t have them. We went to go put something together and we didn’t have the right screws for one of the pieces. We looked through all the hardware in the clean room, but we couldn’t find it. We checked in the stockroom, and they weren’t there either. We couldn’t find them anywhere. We looked at what the specifications for the screw required were, and tried to figure out if we had a different kind of screw that might fit. We didn’t find a solution before I left that day, but I saw through this that there are times that things don’t run smoothly at a place like AOS. There have been a couple times like this before, but this has reinforced that understanding. Before I had thought that for the most part, things go according to plan. I have seen how much work goes into planning of just about everything that goes on in the assembly process, but even with that amount of planning, things still get off course sometimes. I think that this has helped me grow in my understanding of how a company like this works and how there will always be things that go wrong, and the thing that makes a company exceptional is the ability to deal with these complications as they arise without causing more issues with the rest of the project.

Set Screw- a screw that is generally used to secure an object within or against another object, usually without using a nut. I learned this term while looking for a lost set screw with Rob. We needed it for an assembly but couldn’t find the right one. 

July 20th – August 13th (0 hours) – I haven’t started my internship yet. I think that this has shown me how sometimes it isn’t easy to find somewhere to work at, even if you would be capable of working at different places. I’m supposed to start at AOS this week, but it is going to be hard to catch up on the missed hours due to all of the time that I have missed out on. Part of me thinks that I should have started searching sooner, but I did start as soon as I knew that I needed to be looking for my own placement. I talked to a lot of different people that I have connections to at multiple different companies, but none of them were able to offer me a placement, and if they thought that it might be possible, it was going to take to long to find out. I have learned to be very persistent with people when waiting for an answer about something important like a placement. There was a lot of time that I spent waiting on an answer on something from a lot of different people, which was quite frustrating.

I hope to learn better communication from the program. I am not very good at communicating to people right now and I hope that by the end of the year I am better with that. I think that part of this will come from working with others, but another big part will come from the stuff we learn in the classes for the internship. I hope to learn industry skills from my mentor and internship. I want to learn about how an engineering firm functions, and also about how products go from the design process to production. I am told that AOS has a factory as well as a design firm at the office where I will be interning. I think that I will be able to learn a lot by working on both ends of engineering because these are the two sides that I have struggled to decide between which one to pursue after high school.

I have learned that I am often uncomfortable when I’m talking to new people. I have had to talk to multiple different people that I don’t know and I have had to ask them to go and ask about giving me an internship. I am not very good with communication, and that made it a little more difficult get my point across about the program and what an internship at the companies would entail. This made it hard to explain sometimes but I think that I got better by the end of the search. I also learned to be patient yet persistent. I had to be able to wait on an answer about a possible placement but then also be in contact enough so that they didn’t forget about it. It was hard to find this balance and I’m not quite there yet, but I think that I have improved.

August 14th – August 27th (0 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had is waiting to hear from companies. In the past few weeks, I still have not gotten to start an internship yet, and I have had to do a lot of waiting for people to get back to me on things. At first I was attempting to find my own internship site, but I had to make the decision not to keep pursuing those places because I knew that it would take too long to get the internship set up if I even would be able to get placed there. I the learned that it is normal for companies to take a while to give an answer on something. I understand that it is difficult when starting out with a company to get things sorted out. I don’t have one person that I have been set up to work with yet, so I have to go through different people who all have to communicate with each other, and that takes time. I think that through this I have learned in this experience to be patient, but after an appropriate amount of time be sure to follow up with people. While this experience has been a little bit frustrating, I feel like I have learned a lot about communication through this.

August 28th – September 10th (0 hours) – Over the past two week s I have continued to learn about how slow the business world works. I really didn’t plan on starting my internship this late, and now I am really behind. I am going to be going in to my internship two days a week for four hours at a time. They want me to come in for larger chunks of time because they say that it is hard to really get anything done there if I am only there for an hour or two. I think that this is actually going to be easier to get all of my hours done than if I were to go in for small time blocks for a lot of days. I think that I have also learned is how to schedule things and prioritize my schedule. I have had to put this ahead of basically everything else. I have had to learn more about scheduling now so that I can make sure that I meet the requirements. I am having to move a lot of things around in order to make this all work. This is teaching me about how when you need to get something done, that comes before other things.

I honestly have no idea. I haven’t been there yet outside of my interview. I remember them saying that the dress code is pretty casual, but I haven’t seen exactly what that means. I am hoping to find out when I start tomorrow. But as of now I just know that I need to show up at 1, stay until 5, and do what they tell me to.

I think that it will be a good fit, but I don’t know. I have spent no time there outside of my interview. Based on the interview, I feel like I will like it there. It seems like a good place to work, but I don’t know.

I learned what it means when they say that they make large scale optics. I learned this in my interview when they were talking about what they do there. It means that they make things that end up going on telescopes and satellites. They do everything from design to manufacturing there.

September 11th – September 24th (16 hours) – One meaningful experience that I had in the pat couple weeks was working for the guy that runs the stockroom during times that my mentor didn’t have things for me to work on. Things have been a little slow right now because the company is starting on a new project, and things haven’t gotten all of the way going yet. My mentor told me that in about a week or two it will be time to start actually making and testing stuff, and at that point we will have plenty to do. My mentor is an engineer, so expected that I would be doing a lot of things like what he does. But so far I have spent most of my time organizing the stockroom and finding parts from different places to be send out for testing. Also, I helped the stockroom guy set up a ventilation system for a clean room that we are setting up for the new project. I learned that with this internship, I am not just there to work for one guy, but that I am there to do whatever they tell me to. This makes sense because I am getting paid, so that means that I am there more to do what they need than just for me to get hours and learn about stuff. I think I have grown from this by learning that when you get a job you have to be prepared to do whatever they tell you to, especially if you’re an intern/entry level worker because they are probably going to give you the jobs that the higher up people don’t want to do.

I learned what ITAR and the USML are during my training. I had to learn these in order to understand what I can and cannot talk about and what kinds of things will get me in trouble. ITAR is the International Traffic in Arms Regulations set by the government. Essentially these are the rules that the government puts in place in regards to the exportation of controlled products/services/and the information related tot these things. The USML is the US Munitions List, which is a ling list of things that have military uses of possible military applications. These are all things controlled under ITAR (or a similar set of regulations, there are a few others), and to export them without permission from the government is not allowed. “Exporting” is considered giving the item/service from the list to anybody who is not a US citizen or a Green Card Holder. The technical data surrounding USML items is controlled as well, and is not to be exported without a license. These rules about who gets to see what are why the building that I work in has tight security and why we don’t let people in without a scheduled appointment.

September 25th – October 8th (42 hours) – One meaningful experience that I had in the past 2 weeks was replacing ceiling tiles in a lab and then moving and setting up cubicles in that lab. I was not super excited about this, because it was a lot of manual labor. I had to go in at 5 am one day to get the cubicles ready and set up desks before the normal work day started. There were a lot of others days that I had to be in at 6 am also. I also had to spend a decent amount of time up on a ladder when we were working on the ceiling tiles replacement and I wasn’t a big fan of that. I learned how to do a lot of new stuff. I have never done any work with drop ceilings or cubicles. I have been doing a lot of things that I have never done before right now because I have been working for the facilities manager, who does a lot of things in order to keep the engineering firm up and running smoothly, a lot of which I have never really thought about. I have seen a whole new side of engineering and really businesses in general, and how there has to be people in charge of keeping the company running in order to allow the people who do specialized work (in my case the engineers and assembly guys) to continue doing work safely.

At my internship site I use in person conversation the most. Email is used by people a lot, but I do not have a work station yet because there are temps there for the time being and they are using up the computers. I will use email once I have a place to access it, but I don’t have access to it yet because I can’t do it on my phone because of the controlled materials that get sent over email. I think that this is why I have been just talking to people in person when I need to talk to them, because I don’t have other ways yet. I don’t talk to people on phones because once I have access to my email I can just email them. Also, due to the controlled nature of a lot of the operations of the business we aren’t allowed to use unsecured forms of communication when talking about controlled things, so we can’t use cell phones for a lot of things.

I don’t really have to choose a method of communication because I mainly just talk to people in person. I am pretty comfortable talking to people that I know and have talked to before. Sometimes when there’s someone new or a boss kind of person I am not too comfortable, but I have gotten a little less uneasy about talking to people because I have to in order to do my job. I make sure to think through what I am going to say before I say it because I want to be able to effectively communicate with other people, especially since I am considered an employee, even if I am an intern. One of the heads of the company that got me started there gave me the advice to listen more than I talk, this is advice that I have been told before. I try to follow this because it is a good mindset to ensure that I learn as much as I can in this experience. This is supposed to be a learning experience, so I want to make sure that I get as much as I can from it by learning as much as I can and then be able to apply that knowledge that I gain later on in life.

I learned what a clean room is. I learned this when I was talking to the guy I am working with about what we are going to be doing soon. He said we will be doing a lot in the clean room. A clean room is a room in which dirt and particulates are not present. People have to go through strict procedures when entering and exiting the clean room in order to ensure that the room stays free of dirt and dust. These rooms are used for the assembly and testing of parts and assemblies that must not be touched by particulates.

October 9th – October 22nd (11.5 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had in the past two weeks has been starting to do more work on the engineering side of the business. Up until recently, I have been doing a lot of work with the facilities manager (Billy), which has taught me a lot about many different things. I am happy that I got to do this for a while, because it showed me just how much work has to be put in for a business to keep running. I was told by one of the assembly technicians that when he first started at AOS, he had a similar experience, and he said that everyone always ends up having to do that kind of work at some point. This week Billy was on vacation and I started to do more for the engineer that I am going to be working with more (John). He had me do some stuff that I had been doing, like a picklist (which is a list of numbers that correspond to a specific part in the stockroom that he needs), but I also was doing things like monitoring a bond test in an oven (seeing if glue would hold at high temperatures), and I also learned how to clean optics from one of the guys from assembly (Ron). It is really interesting to see more of the engineering work because now I can look at the kinds of things that are happening and decide if I actually want to pursue engineering, or if there is another path that I would like better.

Test Optic- A test optic is an optic that is used as a baseline in order to see how the products being made compare. They know the exact specifications of the test optic and are able to use that to see if the product that is supposed to match it actually does, or if there are imperfections. I learned this when I was working with Ron learning how to clean the optics. He was cleaning one and he walked me through how to do it and then had me use the same procedure on some pieces of glass that were going to be tested later on.

October 23rd – November 5th (15.5 hours) – One experience that I have had in the past couple of weeks was spending almost 4 hours cleaning a few parts to go into the clean room. The parts go to an assembly that had to get built, but the assembly has to be in the clean room. Because of this, we had to thoroughly clean all of the parts before they went into assembly so that they didn’t get the clean room dirty. There were some smaller parts getting cleaned, but by the time I arrived those were almost finished, and they are a lot easier anyways. The hardest part was cleaning all of the big parts, because there is a lot more to clean and the procedure is different than that of the small parts. We had to clean the parts and then put them into trash bags to ensure that they didn’t get dirty while being transported to the clean room. This was an easy enough task until we got a part that wouldn’t fit in the bags without ripping them, and then we had to go find another way to do it. I learned from this about why companies hire interns and low level workers. They do it because then the people who went to college and have a specialization (the ones who have gone through a lot to be here) don’t have to waste their time on grunt work. Because they have a degree, their time is best spent using that knowledge, doing things that people without that knowledge can’t do. Its not hard to find a couple of guys who can clean parts, in the time I described above it was me, a high school intern, and a guy that just started at AOS a few weeks after me (he just graduated high school and is working an entry level job). It makes more sense for a larger company to hire entry level workers to do entry level work instead of wasting the time of an engineer.

I interacted with Billy in order to do a pick list. John gave me a pick list (a list of parts that he needs out of the stockroom) and told me to make sure to talk to Billy first because there was a new way to do it. I went in and talked to Billy and asked him about it. He explained how he had to check out the parts as pulled them so that we could better keep track of them. We were talking in person in the stockroom. I had to talk to him about the new system so that things didn’t get lost because we have to keep track of where everything is.

I talked with Brandon (the guy I was cleaning parts with) while we were waiting for parts to get done in the Ultrasonic Cleaner. We were working together cleaning, but had some downtime while waiting on the cleaner to finish. We started talking about what kinds of things we are interested in. We both like playing Xbox and it turns out that we have the same kind of truck. We didn’t have a tone of time to just sit around through, because the cleaner was done a few minutes later. We talked some more throughout the process of cleaning parts, but we had to focus on what we were doing. I was pretty comfortable during this interaction because he is close in age to me. I don’t really talk to coworkers just for social reasons because I’m getting paid for my time there. After all, I’m paid to work, not to stand around. That’s why I don’t have many interactions that are only social.

Ultrasonic Cleaner- This is a type of cleaner that uses vibrations to clean parts. It has a tub that you fill with a cleaning solution, and then when you turn it on it sends out small vibrations that knock off any particles that might be on the part. This is one of the ways that we clean parts to go into the clean room.

November 6th – November 19th (11.5 hours) – I have been cleaning a lot of parts to go into the clean room. Doing this has helped me to understand the process of completing a long term project. I hadn’t thought much about the length of the project before and what that meant for how the day to day operations would look like. I didn’t realize that even though we are getting into the assembly of the project, there is still almost six months to go before it is done. The project isn’t supposed to be finished until April or May, but we are already in the assembly phase. I have never been involved in such a long term project before, and this has helped me to understand how they work. In the engineering classes that I took, the assembly usually didn’t take as long as the planning, but then we had to test the machines and change them to make them work. I am not sure what that looks like at AOS, but I imagine that there is some form of that process that goes on. I am looking forward to learning more about the stages of the project as progress is made. It will be very interesting to be able to observe and possibly be a part of the assembly and testing of the final product.

I think that I did a pretty good job this semester when it comes to attendance and punctuality. There have been times in which I had internship class meetings of field trips that made me late or unable to be at work on those days, but I made sure to let John know either before the day or at the beginning of the day. We also normally talk at some point in the day about when I will come in next, especially if I know that I have an abnormality in schedule that will effect my attendance. At the beginning of my internship we set a loose schedule in which I would come in two days a week for 4 hours a day. We planned on those days being Tuesday and Thursday, but there are times that those days change. When I have something that makes it so that I have to miss one of those days, I let John know ahead of time and we either plan for me to come in another day that week, or if there isn’t going to be a whole lot that I would be doing I just come in once that week. In October there was a few times in which I had field trips that went into the afternoon, but when those happened I just came in on a different day or only came in once that week.

I think that I did a pretty good job with managing all of my time this semester. I didn’t have a large amount of homework with the classes that I took this semester, but I did have some and I had the SEP paper and assignments to go along with that. I have been able to complete most of the homework and I have done well on all of my SEP work. I did this while making sure to be at work when I was supposed to be there and not letting that get in the way of my school work. I also stayed involved at my church the same amount that I had been before, I just made sure to schedule times to go in to work that would not interfere with that when I could. For the most part I was able to stay involved in the activities that I was already doing and keep up with school work while still doing this internship. I also feel that the experiences that I have had through this helped me gain a better perspective on my SEP project and strengthened my paper. I did research about how automation will effect industries and the economy as a whole, and I feel that seeing the work done at AOS during this time has shown be how there are some jobs that humans will be needed for for a long time.

Torquing and Staking- Torquing is when a bolt must be tightened with a torque wrench set at a specific value to meet the design requirements. Staking is the process of marking bolts that have been torqued to their set value already so that everyone knows that they have been tightened right and also so that it can be easily seen if one of the bolts is moved and needs to be torqued again to ensure that it is put in right. I was trained in these processes so that I could be part of the assembly process it needed. We had a training in which we were told the steps to these, and then we practiced them. We then all had to sign a training log to officially say that we have completed the training.