Virtual Internships 2020

2020 has certainly had its share of firsts! This year instead of completely canceling our internship program we offered our student interns a virtual month of new learning experiences and mentorship via Zoom. Our interns participated in brainstorming sessions, research, programming, and real project design work all from the comforts of home. To help make our interns feel a part of the KT team we held virtual happy hours and lunchtime social presentations on company folklore. They even participated in our company-wide summer trivia challenges. Read first-hand what our interns thought of the experience below.

Kayleigh Boyle, Mechanical Engineering Intern from Carnegie Mellon University

This summer I worked on: A foot-powered compression therapy device.

My favorite assignment was: Participating in brainstorming sessions to both generate ideas and learn from experienced engineers.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: How fun and friendly the environment is. Even over Zoom, I still felt welcomed by everyone I met, and I can tell that everyone here enjoys what they do.

Doing a virtual internship is: A very unique experience to say the least. It is definitely strange, but being able to embrace the frequent Zoom calls and Teams messages as a replacement for face to face interaction can still allow for a rewarding internship experience.

What did you like most about being an intern at Key Tech?: I enjoyed how I was given an actual project to work on my very first day. It was interesting being thrown right in, but it was really valuable to be able to fully own my project for the entire internship.

I love the people here. Everyone is so welcoming, and it is obvious how much fun everyone has and how much they love what they do.

Lucy Spicher, Mechanical Engineering Intern from Penn State

This summer I worked on: An internal Key Tech project. My task was to research, design, and develop a next-generation respiration system. After initial research, I chose to focus on developing the airflow management system during my four-week-internship.

My favorite assignment was: Brainstorming and developing a proposed plan for the architecture of the product. I had the opportunity to work with other Key Tech engineers during an hourlong brainstorming session to develop hundreds of ideas that contributed to the final proposed architecture. Once the idea was complete, I also had the opportunity to work with Key Tech’s industrial designers to bring my concept to life in a sketch.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: The employees’ commitment to creating a fun experience for the interns and the rest of the employees during our short, but sweet four-week experience. I immediately felt welcomed and included, even via Zoom, by the employees at all levels of the company. My favorite “fun” event was the opportunity to have small group chats in the evenings with co-workers called “Drinks with KeyTechers”. I was impressed by the employees’ commitment to get to know each intern by taking time from their day to chat with me, get to know me, and help me learn more about the company. We shared lots of laughs and warm stories during these “meetings”.

Doing a virtual internship is: Doing a virtual internship is empowering. Many of my friends’ internships this summer got canceled, but Key Tech stayed committed to their goal of providing an engaging and enriching experience for our entire intern cohort. Even 100 miles away from the office, I felt like every Key Tech employee was committed to helping me succeed this summer. I was encouraged to ask questions, meet new people at all levels of the company, discover business and development work outside of my role as an engineer, and dig into challenging technical work. Many Key Tech employees, especially those I worked closest with, helped me feel confident, even when I was unsure of a new concept or reached a technical challenge I hadn’t seen at school yet. It was truly empowering to be welcomed and accepted to a new group of people who I had never even met in person! Key Tech created events and opportunities that made the transition to a virtual internship simple and easy. Their ability to adapt to change and roll with the punches was encouraging.

Gary Zhu, Electrical Engineering Intern from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

This summer I worked on: My main project was the design and testing of a miniature sensor PCB. Aside from the main sensor board, I designed sub-circuits for a tachometer to determine fan speed and a timing circuit to blink LEDs. On the more theoretical size, I performed research into AC resistance and possible methods of developing circuits to measure the ACR of components.

My favorite assignment was: Working on stress-testing the main sensor PCB that I designed. I was able to push the components that I picked out to their limits and burn some things.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: I will never forget losing in the Summer Trivia Trials…Go Elephants!

Doing a virtual internship is: Weird… You don’t expect much but I appreciate the organization Key Tech showed with providing work to the interns and making the situation as painless as possible. They made sure to ship me my fabricated board and a power supply to make sure that I had meaningful electrical engineering work to do.

Patrick Brinza, Computer Engineering Intern from Virginia Tech

This summer I worked on: Building a debugging tool in C# to help diagnose and fix crashes.

My favorite assignment was: Working with the other computer engineers to understand how and why my program would be used. I had never designed a UI before, so it was interesting to learn how to make things as intuitive as possible. Seeing the people who were going to use my tool really proved to me that I was making a meaningful contribution.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: The spirit. Everybody is so friendly and awesome, not to mention smart! I had plenty of opportunities to nerd out with some of the greatest people here. I could tell everybody took pride in their work and had a lot of fun doing it. I got to see a lot of people’s dogs too, which was heartwarming. Only wish I got to pet them in real life…

Doing a virtual internship is: Different. It was definitely weird at first trying to socialize and meet everybody online, but I feel we did a pretty good job of it in the four weeks we had. We played trivia and had weekly meetups so we could experience the culture outside of work. I felt like my work was pretty typical for what I would’ve had if I was in the office, minus some shipping logistics. Plus the commute wasn’t bad!

Daniel Scher, Mechanical Engineering Intern from Carnegie Mellon University

This summer I worked on: An ultra-low temperature cryocooler!

My favorite assignment was: Figuring out an optimal device configuration. The thermal constraints of the project demanded a unique approach to the mechanical design and linking between components.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: Even in the face of a pandemic, everyone is cheerful, welcoming, and happy. By default, people here smile and laugh.

Doing a virtual internship is: Actually really fun when you work for a company that specifically dedicates time and attention to a fun culture.

Jackson Richards, Electrical Engineering Intern from NC State

This summer I worked on: A way to sense flow rates in small tubes. I also worked with my supervisor on a personal project related to sending data wirelessly with ultrasound.

My favorite assignment was: Getting to design and assemble my own PCBs. Key Tech has a great process to ensure their PCBs are held to high standards, which I learned a lot from.

Something I will remember about Key Tech: Key Techers work hard but also seem happy doing what they do. Everyone was considerate and quick to help out whenever I had a question.

Doing a virtual internship is: Surprisingly fun! Meetings with awesome people (even virtually) help to break up the workday.


Interested in being a Key Tech intern next summer?  Read more on our careers page and visit us at one of our many virtual school events this fall.  We will be participating in many school events including Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Duke, NC State, RPI, Virginia Tech, and the University of Maryland!

Alexis McKenzie
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