Student apprentices are undergraduate students who have recently completed internships in a variety of industries. They serve as a peer resource for current students, helping them navigate the internship search process from beginning to end. Student apprentices serve as TAs for MCEN 2000: Mechanical Engineering as a Profession during the fall semester. During the spring semester, they are available to meet individually with students to discuss the internship search process. Meet this year's team below, including Branden Adams, Hannah Capek, Bryn Grunwald, Daniel Malek, Mia Miller, Sam Nesmith, Emily Page and Audrey Viland

Current Apprentices

Branden Adams

Branden AdamsWant to learn more? Email Branden.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I have always enjoyed problem-solving activities and projects that involve mechanical aptitude. I had taken some introductory engineering classes in high school where I learned to use CAD software and manufacturing processes. I found the work engineers do to be fulfilling and meaningful. My enthusiasm for design and troubleshooting mechanical systems drove me to pursue mechanical engineering.

About my internship experience:
My internship this past summer was with ALD Nanosolutions. The company manufactures battery powder products in addition to designing and fabricating custom research scale chemical reactors. I assisted the engineering division in designing retrofit parts for existing systems, upgrading in-house reactor systems and product development efforts. I really enjoyed the hands-on experience of working on demanding systems requiring knowledge from all of my mechanical engineering coursework. The experience helped me to understand all the considerations that go into product design and maintenance. The summer prior, I interned at a defense start-up in Fort Collins called Mantel Technologies. My favorite part of the experience was being continuously provided with work that was new and interesting on a variety of different projects.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I spent the last two years as a Research Assistant for the Department of Mechanical Engineering studying the integration of coordinated motion and computer vision in robotic systems. I am also an active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Persistence is key! Do not let vast internship options and challenging job descriptions discourage you from applying or interviewing. It's important to work for a company that is looking for and values your unique skill set. The experience and application of your mechanical engineering knowledge prior to entering the workforce will improve your engineering talents and marketability.

Something that makes me unique: 
I really enjoy small, personal engineering projects related to what I'm currently working on at work or in class. I have a beta fish named Jay. I am also an avid coffee brewer and architecture nerd.

 

Hannah Capek

Hannah CapekWant to learn more? Email Hannah.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering, because it was broad and I had a variety of interests across engineering industries. Ultimately, I found the medical device industry and a passion for innovation and designs that improve and save lives of patients around the world.

About my internship experience:
In 2018, I was a product development engineering intern at a small, startup medical device consulting company. I got to work across several projects and departments, but my main project was CAD-based and involved the design and testing of a device attachment and handle. For summer 2019, I had the opportunity to move to Boston, MA where I interned for Medtronic in the surgical innovations division of minimally invasive therapies group. I was able to conduct testing on fluid management systems in order to compare competitive devices to our product. I also developed a fixture for scope demonstration and to hold visually realistic tissue analogues.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I am an engineering ambassador for the College of Engineering where I lead tours and assist prospective students in learning about both engineering and CU Boulder as a whole.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Utilize career fairs and other connections for finding positions and opportunities. It's said a lot but, "It's not about WHAT you know so much as WHO you know."

Something that makes me unique: 
I love to run and hike in the Rocky Mountains!

 

Bryn Grunwald

Bryn GrunwaldWant to learn more? Email Bryn.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I really liked how broad it was, and the department seemed very supportive. Mechanical engineering involves everything from biomedical to energy to robotics, and it was refreshing to feel like I could go in any direction.

About my internship experience:
My first internship was at the City of Boulder in the Energy Future section where I conducted research into electric vehicle use, potential and challenges for Boulder. My second internship was at the Department of Energy as a Mickey Leland Fellow where I assembled research on the potential of oil and gas exploration and development in Ghana. For the last year, I've worked as a graduate intern for data analysis in the Markets and Policy group at NREL where we provide support on commercializing technology as well as analysis of policy.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I work in Dr. Hannigan's lab in research on air quality in Ghana.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
I would say apply to everything, even if your skills don't seem like an exact match. Sometimes, they're looking more for the right attitude than anything else.

Something that makes me unique:
I've lived in three different countries for a minimum of two months (Bolivia, Philippines and Sweden).

 

Daniel Malek

Daniel MalekWant to learn more? Email Daniel.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because every company requires mechanical systems to some degree and it provides me the opportunity to contribute to the growing worldwide need for more advanced technologies.

About my internship experience:
Most recently I interned at Virgin Hyperloop One as a Mechanical Design Engineer. This entailed designing systems and parts for the electromagnetic components of the pod which contribute to the levitation, braking, propulsion and guidance of the Hyperloop pod. I was also a Mechanical Engineering Intern for two summers at Accu-Precision where I contributed to quality control, cost estimation and manufacturing. I also have a background in design/build construction and interned at MaxFour for three summers.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I am involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) serving as the Industry Outreach Officer and organizing events for mechanical engineering students. I am a part of the Global Engineering RAP which fosters an international outlook to engineering and where I can speak French with other engineers.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Go get 'em! Be aggressive and don't be afraid to set goals for yourself. I got each of my internships on a whim both from tenacity and building connections with people through a more unconventional approach. Experience and smarts ultimately contribute very little to making you stand out in the crowd, so definitely highlight what makes you different.

Something that makes me unique:
I am driven to contribute something greater to the world. That's part of the reason why I chose to be an engineer. It influences my love for travel and learning and trying new things and drives my choice in career.

 

Mia Miller

Mia MillerWant to learn more? Email Mia.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I decided to study mechanical engineering, because it is versatile in future career paths, and I have also always loved problem-solving and working with my hands since I was young. I came in open option but chose mechanical engineering because of my interests in rapid prototyping, project management, aerospace, patent law or possibly engineering design. With a mechanical engineering degree, I could get a good base for any of these options, and I have gotten to take a ton of interesting classes along the way.

About my internship experience:
This past summer I had my first internship at Rommelag Engineering in Sulzbach-Laufen, Germany. I spent most of my time in the project management department but also got to take part in various tasks in manufacturing. I learned a lot about user-specified requirements, factory acceptance tests, project management tasks and timelines and customer interactions. I also gained experience related to an internship abroad and the logistical process to go about doing so. I really enjoyed interning at a German company, because it gave me more insight into the company culture that I want to look for in my future career.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I am involved in the Engineering Honors Program (EHP) and am the Director of Events for Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
I would recommend starting early when looking for internships because there are so many options out there and it is hard to do a lot of applications at once. If possible, it would be good to have some criteria in mind whether it be location, company or industry to help begin narrowing some results. Don’t be afraid to apply to things you might not be fully qualified for and take the opportunity of internships to see how you like certain career paths available to you.

Something that makes me unique: 
I am currently getting my business minor at CU Boulder and also hope to continue learning German. I really enjoy being outside and so I spend my free time hiking, climbing, skiing, running or biking. This summer I got to hike in the Cinque Torri area of the Dolomites, and it was one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to so far.

 

Sam Nesmith

Same NesmithWant to learn more? Email Sam.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering, because it seemed like a great way to make a massive impact by doing something I already love to do: building stuff!

About my internship experience:
I worked at Hunter Douglas this last summer as a product engineering intern. My time was split between CAD, DFM, testing and meetings. I was busy every day, and I learned so much about the depth of the engineering that goes into creating a reliable product. I have also worked for Mosman Machinery as a product design intern for ideating and designing agricultural machinery. I also interned with Modular Robotics as a general engineering intern where I did a little bit of everything from outreach to code to CAD.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
I would suggest that you find your interest first. Oftentimes, a good answer to the "why do you want to work here" question can go farther than outstanding skill. Companies can teach you what you need to know, but they can't teach you a passion for doing it.

Something that makes me unique:
I pick up a lot of strange hobbies, and I am always trying to pick up more: blacksmithing, whittling and quilting are among them.

 

Emily Page

Emily PageWant to learn more? Email Emily.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I felt that this was one of the few majors where I could combine my loves of technology and the arts. This major allows me to continue to learn and improve my technical skills while also encouraging me to express my creativity through new ideas and innovations.

About my internship experience:
This past summer, I interned at Corning Inc., a materials company located in upstate New York. Some of Corning's most notable inventions and products are Gorilla Glass, Low Loss Optical Fiber and Automotive Gas Particulate Filters. I worked in their Manufacturing, Technology and Engineering division doing some early-stage process development for manufacturing. This role gave me insight into all of Corning's businesses, and I got to see some incredible innovations up close every day.

About my extracurricular involvement:
On campus, I'm a Student Ambassador (campus tour guide), a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
My biggest piece of advice is to use your network to your advantage. Every week, I would tell my tour groups that I was looking for an internship, and I received so many business cards and emails from people who knew other people. Ultimately, I found my internship last summer through a family I gave a tour to. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! The fact that you are courageous enough to even ask shows that you have drive and motivation.

Something that makes me unique:
I love to travel! In Fall 2018, I studied abroad at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Aside from Australia, I have visited 17 countries throughout the world.

 

Audrey Viland

Audrey VilandWant to learn more? Email Audrey.

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
When I was in high school I didn't have pre-engineering or computer science courses available to me. I took as many math and physics courses as I could and thought mechanical engineering was a broad enough major where I could find my niche and apply my learning rather than majoring specifically in math or physics. Sure enough, I found an area of engineering that I am very passionate about and excited to learn more about.

About my internship experience:
I've had three summer internships and have worked at Colorado Space Grant for three years during the school year. My first internship was as a Mechanical Engineering Intern with a six-employee company called SpectraDynamics in Louisville. SpectraDynamics develops and manufactures instruments for the time and frequency industry. My second internship was as a Program Management Intern at FIRST RF in Gunbarrel. FIRST RF has around 130 employees and manufactures RF antennas for a wide range of applications. The internship I just completed was at a startup spun out of Dr. Rieker's lab called LongPath Technologies. LongPath is developing an instrument that can detect and continuously monitor methane leaks in oil and gas fields. During the school year at Colorado Space Grant, I run a national sounding rocket program in conjunction with Wallops Flight Facility for university students looking for access to near-space for their experiments.

About my extracurricular involvement:
I am heavily involved in Colorado Space Grant and the music school at CU Boulder (Concert Band, Golden Buffalo Marching Band, Basketball Band).

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
If you do not get an internship in the area of mechanical engineering you are interested in, don't be discouraged! Look everywhere. You would be surprised what you end up enjoying. Also, go to internship fairs. It's easy to get lost on a piece of paper, but I found face time is very useful and can leave a lasting impression on recruiters. It's helpful to put a face to a name.

Something that makes me unique:
I'm a huge band nerd. I play oboe in Concert Band, tenor saxophone in Marching Band, and bass guitar in Basketball Band.

 

Past Apprentices

Eric Ortolano

Eric Ortolano

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I initially chose mechanical engineering to design and build bicycles. I was always attracted to moving parts and understanding how things worked. I felt that engineering was a good way to mix my passion for design, innovation and math.

About my internship experience:
Over the summer of 2019, I was a mechanical engineering intern for Wild Goose Engineering, a company in Louisville that designs and builds canning and bottling machines for the craft beverage industry. My role consisted of partial CAD work for the bottling side of the company (Meheen), working on engineering investigation requests from the machine shop and field and working to develop prototype components for current machine retrofits and for new product development. Before this position, I worked as an intern for a sculptural fabrication company called Demiurge in Denver. This internship was unique, because it involved working with people outside of the engineering community, hands-on fabrication and getting to see large scale art come to life. Last summer was my first engineering internship where I worked for Murphy Company Mechanical Contractors in an onsite construction office on the Lockheed Martin campus. The project was a new build/test facility for Lockheed satellites. My role during this internship fell under project management and operations logistics, helping to organize and streamline communication between the field workers and the fabrication shop.

About my extracurricular involvement:
During my senior year, I was a member of the SAE Baja project where I was a rear suspension engineer. Our team of 13 students built a single occupant off-road vehicle and went to California in the spring to race against 100 other schools from around the world. In addition, this is my second year as a member of the student apprentice program which has helped me to become more immersed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Do as many interviews as possible. Learning to talk about yourself and your technical skills takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it is to sell yourself to a company. Don't be afraid to work outside of your "dream" industry; you can gain experience from any professional internship.

Something that makes me unique:
I solo hiked the 500-mile long Colorado trail when I was 19, I studied abroad in Australia, I love to ride bikes and I'm driven to find a way to apply my engineering education and passion for design to help further both my hobbies and my career.

Branden Adams

Branden Adams

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I have always enjoyed problem-solving activities and projects that involve mechanical aptitude. After taking some introduction engineering classes in high school where I was introduced to CAD software and mechanical design, I knew that pursuing mechanical engineering was the right move for me.

About my internship last summer:
I interned last year at a defense start-up in Fort Collins called Mantel Technologies. My favorite part of the experience was being continuously provided with work that was new and interesting on a variety of different projects.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Be persistent! Don't be discouraged if you apply to a bunch internships and aren't chosen for the position or even an interview. It’s important to work for a company that is looking for and values your unique skill set.

Why students should reach out to me:
I want to help students achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals. I really enjoy meeting new people, and I hope to use my collegiate experiences to provide students with guidance that will help them find interesting and fulfilling work after graduation.

Things that make me unique:
I'm pursuing a Physics minor because I think quantum physics is fascinating, I like to make cold brew coffee, and I'm a huge architecture nerd.

 

Keats Dormont

Keats Dormont

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I saw mechanical engineering as access to anything I could possibly want to do in my life. Receiving an education in this field, to me, is like a highly applied physics degree. I get to understand how things work while simultaneously knowing how to implement and execute any project I think up.

About my internship last summer:
I interned as an undergraduate researcher at Tennessee Tech University designing and working with software models of desalination technologies. I thoroughly enjoyed problem-solving with others and working on a project that serves the environment and has never been attempted before (a zero liquid discharge desalination system).

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Be in communication with your faculty and advisers! They have the keys to the kingdom and are so willing to give you those keys.

Why students should reach out to me:
I'll meet you exactly where you are in your life, and I'm highly effective and experienced in coaching people along their life paths.

Things that make me unique:
I'm a performer of both music and theatre, I'm dedicated to personal and professional growth, and I've given my life to serving the sustainability movement.

 

Bryn Grunwald

Bryn Grunwald headshot

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I valued the way it trained me to think. Engineering, in general, teaches you how to deconstruct an issue and analyze the components before determining a way forward, and Mechanical is so broad that it’s applicable to many areas I’m interested in. It was a department that let me be qualitative and quantitative at the same time and explore the full depth of my interests.

About my internship last summer:
I interned in the Department of Energy’s Office of Oil and Gas in Washington DC last summer as a Mickey Leland Energy Fellow. My favorite part of the internship is that it drew on my qualitative and quantitative background, requiring me to think across subject lines.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
It’s okay to be rejected. I’ve gotten so many rejections from internships I was sure I had, and it’s a tough thing to go through. It’s really important to be able to separate your self-worth from these rejections, analyze what skills you need to build or emphasize for similar roles in the future, and move on.

Why students should reach out to me:
I have dual degrees in mechanical engineering and international affairs, and I’m pursuing the BS/MS in mechanical engineering with a focus on energy and environment. I like to describe myself as “an engineer who doesn’t want to be an engineer” with a focus on social, political, and economic aspects of engineering. Students interested in interdisciplinary areas would likely find me helpful, especially those considering jobs in areas such as international development or government. Additionally, I am useful for students interested in the BS/MS, particularly along the research track.

Things that make me unique:
I speak fluent Swedish, but my specific dialect is considered the ugliest version, so most Swedes won’t listen to me anyway. I can and will find a way to work my cat into every conversation. His name is Frederick. I’ve been training capoeira for years.

 

Jack Huun

Jack Huun headshot

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I wanted to be multi-skilled. Mechanical engineers have a working knowledge of computer applications, electricity, structures, mathematics and physics and are also required to have some understanding of social, environmental, and economic factors.

About my internship last summer:
I worked for Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems on the Mission Operations Development Team for the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2). My favorite part of the internship was participating in Mission Simulations and resolving simulated anomalies in real-time.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Get some experience under your belt before you apply to your first internship. Then, find a position that aligns with your experience.

Why students should reach out to me:
Come talk to me about joining student organizations, applying to internships, or to talk about space!

Things that make me unique:
I have a lot of experience in the aerospace industry and am very passionate about it, so come talk to me if you're interested in getting involved!

 

Daniel Malek

Daniel Malek headshot

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering for its diverse course material, broad industry innovation and ability to provide an engaging environment with fun and technically minded individuals.

About my internship last summer:
Last summer, I interned at Accu-Precision. The company is a producer of custom parts and assemblies for the aerospace and industrial sectors.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Be open to learning as much as possible. You’ll develop skills in areas you never knew you had an interest in.

Why students should reach out to me:
I have worked several internships in a couple industries and am open to answering any questions. I have experience creating and refining a resume, LinkedIn, cover letters, and a personal portfolio. I also have a good understanding of interview practices.

Things that make me unique:
I have spoken French as a second language since I was little, have traveled to 5 continents and 12 countries, and have learned to ski, snowboard and telemark.

 

Andrew Oliver

Andrew Oliver headshotWhy I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I wanted to have a career where I could be creative, be involved in the design process and help make people's lives better.

About my internship last summer:
Last summer, I interned at Northrop Grumman in the Boulder office working on a Missile Defense program. My favorite part of the experience was getting to work hands-on with Missile Defense equipment and being able to contribute to a program that serves a vital role in protecting the US and its allies.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
I would stress the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to applying for internships. Make sure you are taking the time to tailor your resume and cover letter to the position you're applying for. It's better to submit a couple of great applications than a lot of subpar ones.

Why students should reach out to me:
I am a great resource if you have questions about working in the defense industry, improving your interview skills, or making yourself stand out to recruiters.

Things that make me unique:
Things that make me unique include my real-world experience in multiple facets of Mechanical Engineering, experience with the DoD Security Clearance process, and my minor in Computer Science.

 

Rachel Reifsteck

Rachel Reifsteck headshot

Why I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I really enjoy solving problems and working with my hands. The mechanical track seemed to cover the most fields, and when I was first entering college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future.

About my internship last summer:
Last summer, I worked in the construction field for a mechanical contractor called RK Mechanical. My favorite aspect of the internship was getting to experience a different side of mechanical engineering I hadn’t worked in before and practicing my project management skills.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
My best advice when beginning your first internship is to make yourself as useful as possible! Always volunteer to help different people in the company to get a wider variety of experiences, even if it’s not in your technical internship description. Also, ask to be included in meetings and discussions, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have questions or input!

Why students should reach out to me:
My experiences include manufacturing and construction, mainly focusing in project management and process engineering, which offers a different perspective than the typical design side of engineering. Additionally, for female engineers, I can give advice regarding working in fields that are almost completely male-dominated.

Things that make me unique:
I am in a church group on campus called the Annex and would love to talk to you about that if it’s something you’re interested in. I am in the business minor and am always open to talking to students about why doing the business minor, or any minor in general, is a great opportunity while working on your undergraduate. I tend to commit to many different activities and groups (occasionally too many…) so if you ever want to talk about how to balance a crazy life with engineering, I’m always open to share lessons learned!

 

Tanner Shioshita

Tanner Shioshita headshotWhy I chose mechanical engineering:
I chose mechanical engineering because I always loved building and tinkering, and I thought that being a mechanical engineer would be a great way to use my skills to make a positive impact.

About my internship last summer:
I worked at Hirsh Precision Products, a contract manufacturing company. My favorite part of working there was being able to work in each step of the manufacturing process from coding to production.

Advice to students beginning their internship search:
Utilize your network. Talk to your professors, advisers, friends and family. They can help you figure out what you want to do. Leverage their connections towards helping you find an internship too.

Why students should reach out to me:
I have an extremely broad range of experience including engineering and non-engineering internships, research, leading a student organization, and balancing a double degree. Talk to me if you need help with time management or if you're trying to get involved with any of the above.

Things that make me unique:
I play and write music, I’m interested in human-centered design, and I have worked as a sushi chef for most of college.