Research & Development

Research & Developments Interns Speak Up!

By: Mary Koutras, R&D Manager

A recent Top of the News article from the Research and Development team was centered on Duro-Last’s partnership with the community, specifically our local universities. In continuation of that theme, we interviewed two of our Kettering University interns, Kaitlin (Mechanical Engineer) and Cameron (Chemical Engineer), to discuss the importance of internships and how these programs can influence future decisions.

Q: What interested you to spending your internship with Duro-Last?

Kaitlin: I was interested in the Duro-Last internship because it was in an industry where I had some experience. The fact that the internship was with the Research and Development team gave me an opportunity to explore this aspect of the industry more and gain new experiences.

Cameron: What interested me in spending my internship with Duro-Last was the science behind the product. The company’s use and processes of creating their products require expertise and skill that I wanted to be a part of creating.

Q: What has surprised you the most about working with Duro-Last?

Kaitlin: What surprised me the most about working with Duro-Last was probably how well the company adapted to COVID compared to other companies. The organization has incorporated a variety of protocols to keep everyone safe, but did so in a way that it didn’t hinder manufacturing processes.

 Cameron: What has surprised me the most about working with Duro-Last is the interdisciplinary work and collaboration put forth by all team members from different departments working together to achieve goals.

Q: What has been the most challenging part of your experience thus far?

Kaitlin: The most challenging part of my experience so far is continuously adapting to COVID-19 and the changes that it brought with it. But through it all, I have been able to gain hands-on experience that will serve me throughout my career.

Cameron: The most challenging part of my experience so far has been the balance of time between each project I am engaged in and creating manageable goals to meet on time. It has been a great real-life experience that will no doubt help me in my time management and prioritization skills moving forward.

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience thus far?

Kaitlin: The most rewarding part of my experience so far is expanding my skillsets and gaining experience. The hands-on opportunities and support from the organization is something that can’t be learned in a classroom.

Cameron: The most rewarding part of my experience thus far has been the satisfaction in completing a project, seeing it through from start to completion and overcoming the challenges that arise from each step in a project’s process.

What skills are you learning/honing that will help you in your future endeavors?

Kaitlin: I’m fortunate enough to be learning both technical and office skills that will help me in a wide variety of potential future endeavors. The importance of hands-on experience in any capacity cannot be emphasized enough.

Cameron:  The skills I am learning that will help me in my future endeavors are problem-solving of complex systems and strategic organization and collaboration with different departments when working on a unified goal.

What would you say if you had to explain the importance of an internship experience (with Duro-Last, or in general) to a classmate, peer, or teacher?

Kaitlin: I would talk about how it helps develop skills that help you operate in the real world, both technical and professional, and it enables you to figure out your interests and get a more in-depth understanding of the industry.

Cameron:  I would tell someone that knowledge is no substitute for experience, and the blending of the two helps you understand problems and figure out solutions. Duro-Last has provided a tremendous challenge and opportunity to gain experience to match my educational background.

Has your internship helped you in determining the next steps of your career?

Kaitlin:  My internship has allowed me to gain the experience necessary to make more educated decisions on the next steps of my career.

Cameron: This internship has helped me determine the next steps of my career by affirming that I want to continue working in the research and development field.

What advice do you have for future Duro-Last interns?

Kaitlin:  My advice would be not to be afraid to ask questions and try new things.

Cameron: The advice I would give to the next intern is to become involved in as many projects as they can manage while still learning as many facets of the industry they can.

Duro-Last is proud to sponsor students and help prepare them for a successful future. If there are mentoring programs available in your area, take advantage of the opportunity!