Internship Highlight: Molly Renaud | Université de Haute-Alsace

internship-molly-renaud

Undergraduate Internship Highlight

Name: Molly Renaud

Major(s) and Minor(s): Textile Engineering with a Minor in Industrial Engineering

Classification (sophomore, junior, senior): Junior

Intended Graduation Date (month & year): May 2015

How many summers have you interned since starting at NC State? One

Company / University where you co-op’d / interned / researched this summer & its location:Université de Haute-Alsace, in Mulhouse, France

Any previous companies / universities you co-op’d / interned / researched & the dates you interned:N/A

2013 Summer Internship: 

How did you find out about the internship?  The opportunity opened up after a study abroad program through the same university was cancelled. I had been in contact with the program director, who then suggested a research internship.

What was the process for obtaining the internship?  I talked with the director of the engineering department, and we discussed the possibility of a research internship with one of his graduate students. After reviewing the different projects, we worked out the details such as responsibilities, length of internship and other expectations.

Describe in a short paragraph what project(s) you worked on.  I worked with two graduate students there to optimize material to be used in artificial heart valves. Typically, most heart valve replacements are bio-prostheses, which while effective, can wear out after some years. In the future, heart valve replacements could potentially be made from textile material, which would optimize the properties of both mechanical and bio prostheses. While in Mulhouse, I worked to make the material that would form the actual valve-from testing the tensile strength of the yarns used, to threading it through the loom. After making fabric samples with various weaves, we tested the mechanical properties of the samples, including compression strength, thickness uniformity and permeability. Then, to complete the process, we cut and shaped this material into valves, which were then tested under conditions mimicking the pressure of a human heart, and the effectiveness of each.

L: Model used to shape heart valves, R: Vibration tool used to cut the material for the valves - using vibrations instead of a knife prevents fraying and loose ends.
L: Model used to shape heart valves, R: Vibration tool used to cut the material for the valves – using vibrations instead of a knife prevents fraying and loose ends.

What classes (or experiences) from NC State did you feel were valuable during your internship?  I used a lot of skills from classes I took in the Wilson College of Textiles. Not only did I use the Excel and VBA skill from TE110, I also got to apply concepts of fiber science from TE200 and TE201.

What kinds of things, experiences, skills, etc. did you learn on the job that other students might benefit from knowing? I think the most important thing to remember is that you have to take the initiative, when you’re in a professional environment. Whether that’s in gathering data, or seeking help when you need it, you have to go for it.

What did you like about the working environment of the company?  I really enjoyed being able to collaborate with the graduate students working on the project, but also having independent responsibilities and tasks.

What was the best part of your internship?  I loved being able to see material that I had learned in class shown in a practical, real-world process. Also, French food!

Molly Renaud at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Molly Renaud at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France