Congratulations to the 2018 Experiential Learning Award Winners!

Linda Rivera ’19, Undergraduate Intern of the Year
Conair Corporation

Linda has been with the Conair Corporation for the last two summers, serving as a Research & Development intern in the Personal Care Division. As a chemical engineering major, Linda is energized by not only working on products that apply the knowledge she has gained in the classroom but also on products that she is able to see on store shelves and use in her personal life. Through this position, Linda has also been able to understand the value of teamwork and collaboration in the industry.

Linda’s primary responsibility was to determine the sources of error in a batch of product and consider reformulation. She was then able to utilize her problem-solving skills to adjust raw materials or adjust techniques used in heating to correct these errors.

Overall, the internship helped to broaden the knowledge Linda has gained in class and give her a taste of her future career working in the industry. What she knows for sure is that applying her skills in the personal care division is personally fulfilling and, upon graduation this spring, Linda is excited to continue her excellent work. Congratulations, Linda!

Nicholas Piscatelli ’19, Co-op Student of the Year

As a financial analyst at IBM, Nicholas had the opportunity to get hands-on experience and use analysis to aid in decision making daily. As a finance major, he was excited to be able to build his skills in his daily work while considering his future career path. Not only was Nicholas able to juggle the daily demands of his co-op experience, but he also had to manage his workload based off of the availability and time zones of his colleagues located across the globe.

This position enabled Nicholas to build his already strong technical skills as he worked his way towards mastering Excel. After becoming an Excel expert, Nicholas has noticed that he now sorts information in a much more efficient way, which has enhanced his ability to perform in his classes and professional roles even further. His initiatives led to a staggering six-figure annual saving for IBM.

Nicholas truly made the most out of his co-op experience and hopes that he can help other students see the value of and experience a co-op in their career journeys! Congratulations, Nicholas!

Tony Gao, Graduate Student of the Year
Seagate Technology

The Wafer Metrology Department at Seagate Technology in Minnesota was the perfect place for this year’s Graduate Intern of the Year, Tony Gao, to have a hands-on experience and reflect on the path he will take once he obtains his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.

The experience at Seagate allowed Tony to gain skills in working on different types of projects including fundamentals of the manufacturing process, nanofabrication, and material characterization. The primary project revolved around improving the image quality of scanning electron microscope technology using text-based programming software. Tony was able to present his findings to the broader team, which has advanced the company’s use of metrology tools. Tony was able to utilize what he had learned by carrying out this project to inform his research here at UConn.

In addition to enhancing his technical skills, Tony was also able to refine his transferable skills while in this internship experience. Tony made an effort to collaborate with and gain perspectives from his peers and utilize communication to work with his team efficiently.

Overall, this internship experience allowed Tony to develop as a researcher and engineer. He is excited to continue to grow as a professional in the field and looks forward to solving real-world problems through his work in the industry!

By Kailee Himes
Kailee Himes Graduate Assistant, Experiential Learning Kailee Himes