By Danielle Burkhart
One Lock Haven University student found herself in a sticky situation working with glue and palmers while interning at Avery Dennison.
Located just down the road, in Mill Hall, Avery Dennison was the perfect internship site for Kaitlin Bottorf, a sophomore majoring in chemistry who was taking 17 credits in addition to her internship.
Avery Dennison is a chemical factory that develops adhesives and polymers for glues and tapes. The Research and Development lab is responsible for finding ways to make better blends of adhesives under different conditions. Working in the chemical lab, Bottorf had the opportunity to test the adhesives after they were developed and confirm that they were up to par.
Bottorf worked closely with the Research and Development lab, stating, “Both labs work hand-in-hand. They make it – we test it.”
According to Bottorf, while working with Avery, one must be precise. Bottorf was given a lab book at the start of her internship and was instructed to record every detail while testing. She was to record the sample name, what she did with the sample, when the testing took place, and how the sample responded to the tests. After the tests were complete, the information was recorded into the electronic data base for fellow employees to access.
“Everything had to be documented and very precise, so if something went wrong, you could go back and make changes and fix the problem,” said Bottorf. “I liked the precision and testing. It was interesting to find out what was in the blends.”
Bottorf’s first major project at Avery required her to create 48 samples and do all the required testing herself. After two months of hard work and concentration, Bottorf’s work was completed and later recognized.
“Some of the samples tested really well and customers noticed the blends were effective. They are now working to retest and perfect those blends in order to sell them commercially,” said Bottorf.
Her internship at Avery was not exactly what she had initially expected as she was unaware of what Avery did in the lab setting. Also, she learned quickly that the company is laid back. “Deadlines are important but they do not stress you out. They expect what you can realistically deliver and no more than that,” said Bottorf.
According to Bottorf this was very important because when she is nervous, she is more likely to make a mistake. When she is relaxed, she takes it easy and can concentrate on the task at hand.
Bottorf credits two fellow employees for her successful work environment. Two of the Tech Service staff members, Lori and Travis, helped Bottorf settle comfortably into her internship. Lori was responsible for training Bottorf, and Travis showed her how to be more efficient with her work.
One thing that Bottorf learned about herself while interning at Avery Dennison was that she works just as well with men as she does women.
“I was not used to being in that situation with all men; all other jobs that I have held were predominantly with women. The guys were into sports, and we got into a lot of fun debates and discussions about different teams,” said Bottorf.
Bottorf advises any student who wishes to complete an internship to “be yourself when you get there. If you’re not, you won’t be comfortable at your job.”
Kaitlin Bottorf found her internship with Avery Dennison through a family member; however, the Career Services Office is a great place to start your internship search.
The Forensic Science Center in Trinidad and Tobego
By Julia Greenland
Because of popular crime television shows, Forensic Science has become a sought after field of study. To enable the plot, crime shows depict the behind-the-scenes lab work as something that can be performed quickly and simply. This past summer, however, Tonia-Marie James, a Biology major with a Chemistry concentration in DNA Forensics, learned the detail, time and precision required in the real life career of a Forensic Scientist.
James, a senior at Lock Haven University, interned in her country of Trinidad and Tobago at the Forensics Sciences Center. James interned in the facility’s Biology sector. The department “receives evidence from police officers, and searches the evidence for evidential value and biological fluids,” said James. It also and extracts DNA from biological fluids to make DNA profiles.
As the Sciences Assistant Intern, James performed a variety of duties. For example, she helped compile DNA population databases in order to cross reference samples. James was also responsible for keeping a chain of custody. This responsibility included properly opening the evidence packet, extracting the DNA, amplifying the DNA, and generating the DNA profile.
During her internship James worked independently. Her most exciting moment came when “I had those big projects on my own. I felt like a true Forensic Scientist on the job. It was a great feeling,” stated James.
James feels her classes at Lock Haven University prepared her well for her internship. Advanced DNA Methods was especially helpful because it deals with the crime lab fundamentals like extracting, amplifying and profiling DNA. Though James values the fundamental knowledge gained from her classes, she believes the experience gained through interning has made her aware of aspects to the career that can only be learned outside the classroom. For example, James learned the significance of report writing. Forensic Scientists must record everything they do. The internship “made me aware of the importance of recording,” said James.
James says that interning with the Forensics Science Center, “has fueled my love for Forensic Science. I learned a lot, and it was a great experience. I was hungry to learn everything I could.”
Tonia-Marie James was proactive in attaining her internship. Even though the Forensic Science Center does not typically accept interns, James contacted the director of the Forensic Science Center and “begged” for the position anyway. Trinidad and Tobago has few centers, and James was determined to succeed at finding an internship.