Heather Maclachlan is a senior in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering.
I interned at Veolia Water Technologies during summer 2023, working as a Quality Engineering Intern. Veolia Water Technologies has an Analytical Instrument sector located in Boulder, CO, where the main focus is developing, assembling, and distributing instruments that analyze total organic carbon (TOC) in water samples or solutions.
As a quality intern, I gained valuable insight to many aspects of industry, from working with software and manufacturing engineers to communicating with sales personnel and consumer databases. Throughout the internship, my role involved a lot of data analysis. I learned to use a software called Tableau to connect robust and varying data sources to display control charts necessary for quality tracking of the TOC analyzers as they work their way through test and calibration. I also used Tableau for constructing control charts of the QC Lab, which tests and tracks consumable production and quality.
Both of these projects were very valuable and pushed my learning as I had to individually teach myself how to use the software. I also completed a more hands-on project that involved validating the blank correction value that is currently used in the company's vial wash line. Throughout the internship, I discovered how integrated quality engineering is in almost every aspect of product production.
My advice for students starting their first internship would be to make as many connections with your coworkers as possible. I learned so much from asking managers in other departments about their backgrounds and what it is like to be in their role. From reaching out to an R&D engineer and having an informational interview with him, I learned that R&D may be an area of interest for me in the future. I’d also advise new interns to not be afraid to speak up. I learned that the company wants your feedback just as much as you want theirs, and if you have suggestions, they want to hear them!