This Chemical Engineering undergrad is keeping technology cool with his summer internship at a cryogenic gas lab.
American Chemical Society, the Society of Chemical Industry and American Institute of Chemical Engineers sponsor the SCI Scholars annual program. Chosen scholars are placed in 10-week industrial internships and receive a $1,000 award for professional development.
Reed Boeger was sitting in his 8 a.m. Controls Systems class when an email popped up on his screen, telling him he was chosen for a competitive summer internship program.
“I had entirely forgotten I had applied,” Boeger says.
Boeger is one of 30 national students named a Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Scholar this year. The prestigious program places chemistry and chemical engineering undergraduates in 10-week industrial internships across the country, among other awards.
Part of the application process asks applicants to list their Top Three “dream” companies for an internship if they are chosen for the program. Boeger was placed with a company that made his list, Air Liquide USA. Internationally operated Air Liquide is “the largest industrial gas supplier in the world,” Boeger says.
He is spending the next 21/2 months in Lehi, Utah, 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, Utah, working in a cryogenic gas plant. It sounds like something out of a science fiction show and, though he isn’t putting people in a deep, cold sleep, his work is still pretty cool.
The cryogenic gas plant sits on the site of a microchip fabrication facility managed by Intel and Micron and runs 24/7 with several thousand employees. The microchips being made are super-sensitive, Boeger says, and the facility requires a constant supply of high-purity hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, among other gases, for the delicate microchip production.
“Our gas plant runs around the clock, taking air out of the atmosphere, purifying it and splitting it into nitrogen, oxygen, etc., to be sent down a pipeline to the facility,” Boeger says.
Gaining real-world experience before he graduated was one of his top goals, Boeger says. Through the internship, he’s getting a crash course in the professional world of chemical engineering, rounding out his previous work in undergraduate research and traditional lab experience.
“My passion is in the innovation that comes out of this field, from cancer and disease research to nanotech to alternative fuels or even to inventing new ways of brewing coffee. I love the science of it all, and chemical engineers are major players in these areas.”