Daniel Alzamora and Kendall Shepherd are undergraduate students in Mechanical Engineering. They interned at local startup EveryDropMeters during summer 2022.
Where did you intern and what was exciting for you about that opportunity?
Daniel: We interned at EveryDropMeters, a startup company focused on making fluid vortex technology affordable for use in irrigation systems. This technology has the advantage of requiring low power and low maintenance as well as high accuracy for the price range. Because EveryDrop is a startup, I got to work on a wide variety of engineering projects that improved every part of my ability as a mechanical engineer.
Kendall: This opportunity was exciting for me because it was a very small company so I got to work on lots of very different and unique projects. I worked on typical engineering tasks like CAD and drawings, but also got to work on things like graphic design.
What kinds of projects have you had a chance to work on over the summer?
Kendall: We’ve been working with our supervisor on two new flow meter models. One is a larger version of the company’s existing meter, which allows for more water flow and larger scale/industrial uses. We got to work on drawing, troubleshooting, and designing a lid for the new meter. We’re also working on a new wireless model. We’ve gotten to test its connectivity and have been working on optimizing the assembly process.
Was there a challenge you encountered that really pushed your engineering skills?
Daniel: The nature of working for a startup is working with tight budgets and that challenge can help drive innovation. We had to incorporate or repurpose existing parts into new designs and modifications and it pushed us to come up with creative solutions. Knowing when to spend money on a part was also a crucial skill, as I feel I can make a stronger argument now when a new design is needed.
Did you have any "aha!" moments when you realized that you could use an equation or skill you'd learned in class?
Daniel: An exciting moment at the internship was learning about the vortex technology itself and understanding the physical and mathematical reasoning behind it, because I’d just taken fluid mechanics. We also got to use fluid mechanics when designing the new meter which has a larger flow area. I was able to apply equations from my textbook to find the correct sensor depth to collect accurate data using the new meter.
What was it like to work at a start-up? Were there any unique challenges or opportunities that came with being part of a new company?
Kendall: Adaptability is important when you’re working with a start-up. Projects and tasks tend to suddenly need to be done, but can be dropped or changed just as quickly. Since there aren’t that many people working at the company, we also had to be ready to tackle a plethora of jobs. I got to do engineering tasks like CAD design and drawings and even fluid dynamics. I also got to do graphic design for a promotional email, ship products out, and review drafts of product manuals.