Engineering a summer experience

We asked Brown Engineers to tell us about their 2023 summer internships and research projects. These summer positions often play a crucial role in shaping one’s career, not only helping a student gain real exposure to working environments, but also developing the necessary skills required to stand out. These valuable opportunities can help shape or re-shape career aspirations, illustrate real-life applications of in-class learning, and enhance professional networking opportunities.

Highlighted here are a few summer experiences from the Classes of '24 and '25:

Austin FunkAustin Funk

Computer Engineering, Class of 2025

Hologic Systems Engineering
Diagnostics R&D Intern
Marlboro, MA 


I wanted to experience software engineering in a corporate environment to find which aspects I like and dislike, and help decide whether I should pursue a career in software after Brown.

I have gotten a much better understanding of how engineering works outside of a classroom setting while also building the confidence needed to tackle upper level engineering courses. This experience has also given me valuable insight into a potential career path.

I worked on several software and general systems design projects, which included learning new programming languages and frameworks, collaborating with both other interns and senior engineers, and integrating new features and bug fixes until reaching a releasable version.

I've learned that, as great as the experience has been, I would still like to explore other possible career paths, most notably research.

I've primarily worked with a product that will soon be released in the United States that helps doctors diagnose cervical cancer with extremely high accuracy. Knowing that work that I've done has had an impact on such an important and life changing technology is the reason I study engineering.

Alex HerreroAlex Herrero 

Environmental Engineering, Class of 2025

AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow at Generation Teach
Nathan Bishop Middle School
Providence, RI


I plan on being a middle/high school teacher after receiving my engineering degree, so being able to lead a middle school classroom of my own for the summer was an excellent way to explore my dream job.

I was able to teach science and engineering everyday to two 7th grade classes of my own, while also being able to lead an enrichment class in the afternoon. Through this experience, I was able to familiarize myself with lesson planning, classroom management, meeting with parents, seating arrangements, and other critical components of teaching.

At first, I was a little uneasy about going into teaching after heavy discouragement from others. Though managing a classroom was difficult, my students made every day worth it, so now I'm definitely pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching after receiving my engineering degree!

I loved my 7th graders. They surprised me each day with what they knew, their ideas, and what they were willing to learn about science and engineering. There's also something about a middle schooler's curiosity that is so genuine. They don't need a grade to get them to learn. Demonstrating the essence of our Open Curriculum, they learn for the sake of learning, and I respect that!

Christian LabradorChristian Labrador

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2024

Kairos Power
Alameda, CA


This summer, I hoped to learn more about engineering in the clean energy industry, how to design and prototype components, as well as how to analyze data effectively to make key design decisions.

It allowed me to practice skills in engineering such as prototyping, CAD, data analysis, and completing a testing protocol from start to finish. These experiences will be useful in any field of engineering that I pursue after the internship. I also discovered that I am open to pursuing a career in the clean energy sector after college.

This summer I worked with lots of hardware. I was responsible for prototyping and testing fuel handling subsystems of the company's advanced nuclear reactor. I learned quite a bit about nuclear energy, intricacies of hardware, optimization of testing, how to effectively reiterate on tests, and how to collect, review, and utilize data for improving engineering design.

Yes. It taught me that the clean energy sector is a viable space for me to pursue! I was originally interested only in biotech, but am now planning to do a bit more exploration before fully deciding which field I truly want to settle into.

My favorite part of the internship was using some of the education I picked up at Brown and applying it to solve real engineering problems. It was nice seeing that the things I learned were finally being put into practice. I also loved the fact that I was able to independently push my project, and that I had the support of very knowledgeable and intelligent engineers when I had pressing questions.

Hannah LongHannah Long

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2024

New Ridge Engineering 
Richmond, VA


I hoped to gain experience with a real world application of my engineering degree and use the flexibility of the remote internship to travel, see new places and visit with family throughout the summer. 

It gave me a look into an option for my future and helped me figure out what specific fields of engineering I may want to pursue after I graduate.

I worked on designing the systems that make buildings work. Primarily, I worked to design HVAC systems for commercial kitchens and medical clinics all around the country. I learned about an area of engineering that I had never been exposed to before and got to learn how to work in new software as well (this includes Revit and Bluebeam Revu). 

It opened the door for me to continue remote work because of the flexibility it offered. I would also definitely consider continuing to work in the field of building engineering.

The people were my favorite part. I gained a new mentor and though the internship was remote, I was able to visit a job site and attend the annual Summer Party in Washington, D.C. I was surrounded by kind, driven, and like-minded engineers that take pride in their work and their company.

Layla LynchLayla Lynch

Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2024

Performance Science Apprentice
Houston Astros
Houston, TX


I hoped to learn about the performance science measures taken to support a World Series Champion caliber team, also known as my hometown team. I also wished to develop my technical and programming skills.

This opportunity combined my passion for sports, technical skills, and engineering background- a career I envision in the foreseeable future, both in industry and academia. One of the privileges of working in professional baseball is observing the efforts that go into optimizing player performance, mitigating injury, and preserving their health. 

My role was to integrate data science, sports science, and player development. By collaborating with sports medicine, strength & conditioning, on-field coaches, and scouting, I was responsible for turning their ideas into digestible reports. These reports often included analyzing weight room, on-field, and biomechanical data.

This experience solidified my interest in sports for both industry and academia. For industry, I hope to land a role with similar responsibilities and collaborations. In academia, I have found myself interested in the research areas of rehabilitation, cognitive science, motor learning and development, sports performance, and biomechanics. Ideally, I would like to pursue both professions concurrently, to ensure innovation and understanding from both perspectives.

My favorite part of the experience was getting to collaborate with an amazing team of individuals and witness the intervention that went into action for player development, performance maintenance, and rehabilitation at the highest possible level. I was also always surrounded by the game I grew up playing, which made every task much more meaningful.

Caleb MoorheadCaleb Moorhead 

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2025

Research & Development Intern
Des Plaines, IL


This summer, I hoped to deepen my understanding of how engineers address real-world problems and the process involved in transforming innovative ideas into tangible products. Additionally, I sought to gain insights into the design, testing, and production of the critical equipment that has protected me while playing football for the past 12 years.

This experience directly aligns with my football career and impacts not only myself, but also my teammates and every other current and future football player. This strong connection has allowed me to fully immerse myself in acquiring valuable skills and gaining a deeper understanding of the engineering process at Riddell. Through this internship, I have honed my abilities in areas such as SolidWorks, 3D printing, testing/data collection, and data analysis, all while witnessing firsthand how a cohesive small team collaborates to achieve a common goal. The most significant lesson I learned from this internship is that I am determined to carry these acquired skills into the sports performance engineering field. My ultimate goal is to use my engineering expertise to protect athletes, ensuring they have the same exceptional experiences in sports that I have been fortunate to enjoy.

Our focus was on testing various materials to optimize player safety. I conducted tests and gathered data to accurately simulate real on-field football collisions using an environmental chamber, which allowed me to assess the performance of protective pads under different real-life conditions, including extreme heat and dryness. Leveraging my knowledge of material science and thermodynamics, which I acquired during 1st and 2nd year engineering classes at Brown, I also contributed to designing fixtures that ensured consistent and reliable testing procedures. This involved becoming proficient with SolidWorks, a sophisticated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program. Using SolidWorks, I crafted prototypes to determine the most effective construction methods. Finally, I was also involved in the physical construction of these prototypes, preparing them for rigorous testing to assess their performance. Being part of this critical phase further enhanced my understanding of the engineering process and the level of dedication required to create top-notch protective equipment.

Overall, this experience has solidified my passion for utilizing engineering principles to enhance sports safety. My aim is to ensure that athletes are well-protected during their games, regardless of the environmental challenges they may face. My summer internship experience propelled me forward with even more drive and enthusiasm to continue pursuing my current path.

Keller MorrisonKeller Morrison 

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2025

National Renewable Energy Lab
Golden, CO


I wanted to learn what working for a national lab was like. I was curious about the differences between working in industry, government, and academia.

I hope to work in the marine renewable energy industry after school and this experience allowed me to take part in cutting edge research. I was also able to make connections with mentors within the industry who offered me career advice.

I worked on building a scaled model of a floating offshore wind turbine. This involved working with multiple teams, engineers, and technicians to pick a design and execute it. In the end I scaled the platform, designed a control system, went through the safety procedures, and manufactured the model.

My experience at NREL reaffirmed my desire to earn a Ph.D. It became clear to me that going farther in school would open up more doors within a cutting edge space like marine renewables.

My favorite part of the experience was exploring the facilities of NREL's branch campus. I got to spend time in a wave tank, climb a wind turbine, and see the deployment of the Large Amplitude Motion Platform.

Benjamin NewcombBenjamin Newcomb  

Chemical Engineering, Class of  '23.5

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA


I hoped to learn from researchers at the forefront of their field and how they approach scientific problems with the added benefit of contributing to interesting climate change related research. I was excited to work for the ECCO (Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean) consortium, which is known for its cutting-edge ocean circulation models. I knew that this would also be a great opportunity to learn more about numerical modeling and data analysis.

Beyond its direct insights into oceanography, this internship helped refine many of my technical and problem solving skills especially in computing and statistics. Having worked in industry for my past two internships, this experience was also an opportunity to gain insight into careers in research.

I worked on a project that used the ECCO model, its adjoint, and large altimetry datasets to attempt to characterize the physics of sea level fingerprint around the Greenland Ice Sheet. This has to do with the melting of the ice sheet weakening its gravitational pull, and a resulting alteration to sea surface height.

Building off my background working in the Wilhelmus Lab at Brown, I had a strong foundation to analyze the model output datasets. I also got a comprehensive grasp on oceanographic statistics and data techniques during my internship.

My favorite part of the experience was learning about some of the fluid mechanics and thermodynamics of the ocean and its impact on climate. I was also impressed by the passion and dedication of my mentors at JPL who excited me about this topic in the first place. They were always enthusiastic to explain the detailed physics of the model and were amazing resources throughout my experience.

Aicha SamaAicha Sama

Chemical Engineering and Political Science, Class of 2024

Washington Internship for Students in Engineering
Washington, DC

(*Aicha was sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to take part in this internship experience, which requires each student to write and present a public policy paper that will be published to the sponsoring society's journal.)


I hoped to learn more about careers at the intersection of public policy and engineering and develop my skills in policy research. 

It introduced me to new career paths in science policy that I was not aware of and encouraged me to pursue a science policy fellowship at the Office of Science and Technology Policy or State Department upon graduating.

I wrote a 40-page policy paper on graphene-enhanced technologies and how they can be utilized to make net zero emissions a reality in the United States. Throughout the summer, I spoke to engineers working at the EPA, electric vehicle manufacturers, and scientists to understand the issues surrounding the graphene supply chain.

Yes, it made me more interested in pursuing a J.D. to understand the thinking that underlies policy work in the technology space.

I loved exploring Washington D.C. for the first time. There were so many free events that I took advantage of. Being in such a walkable city made for a great summer.

Angelina SchorrAngelina Schorr

Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2024

Summer Research Program at MIT
Cambridge, MA


Gain more research skills and experience, learn about graduate school and how to apply.

I hope to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation, and this program helped me to prepare myself for graduate research and education.

I worked in the Hansen Lab working on validating and characterizing bidirectional promoters for coexpression of two genes.

My favorite part of the experience was all the amazing community activities that the program had for the interns, including a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and a boat cruise around Boston!

Kofi YoungKofi Young

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2024

Beta Technologies
Burlington, VT


Gain real-world experience applying engineering skills to cutting-edge technology. Beta Technologies is an aviation startup developing an electric vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft (eVTOL) and was started in Burlington, Vermont about five years ago! With around 500 employees, they are a rapidly growing company with a fantastic work culture focused around collaboration, innovation, and enthusiasm for aviation.

I learned a ton about electric propulsion, manufacturing processes, and the fast-paced work environment at startups! As a returning intern, I pivoted a bit this summer and ended up contributing to their manufacturing engineering team working to develop their production processes as the company transitions into manufacturing their prototype eVTOL, Alia. This was a big change from last summer when I contributed to their A&P team working to maintain the fleet of small aircraft that Beta has to support its free employee student pilot program, as well as the flight test maintenance team that supports the fast-paced flight testing on Beta’s eVTOL prototypes.

My experience definitely spurred an interest in electric motors and sustainable technology. Overall, I had a fantastic time and feel that their cultivation of an environment that promotes complete immersion and endows substantial responsibility on their interns is truly unique and presents a super exciting opportunity for summer interns.