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Student Spotlights

Bryce Harward: Mechanical Engineering

Bryce interned for BYU professor Dr. Mike Niles as a research assistant during Winter Semester 2022.

Describe a day in your life as an intern.

I would pick up our aluminum sample and set it up on the scanning electron microscope, then take an image of the region of interest at only 500 times magnification. I would then remove the sample from the microscope and set it up in the ion beam mill to remove a very small amount of material from the sample's surface. I'd repeat this process several times to take images of our region of interest throughout the thickness of the sample. Once finished with that project for the day, I would head to the friction-stir-welding lab, where I would help the grad student with whom I'm working in conducting friction-stir-welding experiments. We set up the sample and run several experiments using different applied loads and speeds, as well as using coated and non-coated tools.

What industry/job specific skills did you learn?

I became qualified to operate a scanning electron microscope, an ion beam mill, an automatic and manual polisher, and a micro indenter. This internship will continue to push me in gaining new skills as I continue to stretch myself and apply new knowledge.

What are three things that you learned from this experience that could be applied to other settings?

I learned the importance of concise communication since I was communicating with a lot of people whose time was very valuable. I also learned that it is important to be proactive, as it can lead to new opportunities and show that you are eager to learn. It is also important to keep records of what you do because you never know when that information will become useful, and it helps to keep track of what experiments have been conducted and what the results were.

What was your favorite part of your internship?

New skills, opportunities, and friendships.

How did this experience affect your future goals?

It's really solidified my desire to go to grad school and my love of learning. This will likely be the basis of the rest of my career!

How did you get your internship?

Talking to my professor.

How did this experience contribute to your growth?

I've learned so many valuable skills that make me a more valuable asset in engineering applications.

This is a set of several friction-stir-welding experiments that we conducted, in which we noticed an interesting trend of the material to soften and then expand as it heats up, applying pressure on the tool.