Monday, September 3, 2012
The things I learned and took from my internship at RJ Lee Group were things that I never really thought I would ever gain experience in. There were so many new techniques I learned; that I would have never learned if it weren't for this internship. There were also skills I brought into the internship that I was also to learn how to perform these skills in a different (possibly updated) way that was not the same way I had learned at Juniata. Now being back, I am constantly remembering things from my internship and applying them to my studies.
I think this internship was different from other opportunities because of the amount of work and time that I was allowed to work unsupervised. It was a great feeling to be trusted to work on my own and I don't think I would have found that at many other internships. On the opposite side of that, it was also great that if (or when) I did have question there was never someone far away or too busy to answer them. Everyone at RJ Lee worked well together to accomplished the common goal of getting projects done quickly and done well.
It was a little sad for me to leave the internship at the end of the summer. I had made so many new friends and really felt like I had "a place" at RJ Lee Group. It was really the type of place and work environment that I can hope to work in once I graduate. My favorite part of the internship must have been the work I did in the petrographic light microscopy department because I felt like it was the department that best suited what I had been learning in school. But there was nothing during my internship that I really disliked doing. Actually, I cannot think of any task that I dreaded doing during my time at RJ Lee.
In conclusion, I would like to thank RJ Lee Group and all the people I worked with over the summer for the wonderful opportunity. I would also like to that Juniata alumni Justin Rieter and his wife Holly for allowing me to stay with them this summer and showing me a good time in the Pittsburgh area. Like I said, this summer was unforgettable and I hate that its over but I have to finish up my last year a Juniata.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
I got back to RJ Lee Group on Wednesday refreshed and ready to work. There were a ton of concrete samples that are in need of prep and need to be prepped fast. With several different projects going on there has defiantly not been a boring moment this week. Since there are a couple of different projects there has been a few different ways that the samples need to be prepped for different types of analysis. This week so far we have been preparing samples for the optical, air void, and SEM analysis. The samples we prep for these analyses are thin sections, lapped sections, and polished sections. The process starts by cutting the samples, whether they be drill cores or little chucks of concrete, they are all cut on a diamond saw to a specification set by the customer and the analyser. After the samples are cut they are lap and polished down to a certain size grit. If they are being made into a lap section the process is a simple as that. If they are being made into a polished section then they have to be taken through all the of the diamond grits too in order to insure a mirror like finish on the concrete. If the samples are being made into a thin section then they get glued onto a microscope slide, and get ground down till the sample is about 15-20 microns. This makes it so the sample can be seen through with a petrographic microscope.
There are some samples needed to be epoxied to preserve the salts and imperfections of the concrete. For these samples we are not allowed to prep them with water instead they must be prep with isopar (a refined type of kerosene) and oil based diamond paste. Other samples we have been prepping did not have such restrictions. It is important to pay attention to the instructions and make sure that everything is prepare up to the standards of RJ Lee. I always want to try my best and make sure I am working my hardest. I really work hard to the point where my supervisor tells me to take breaks. These moment make me laugh because I do forget to relax sometimes. I guess my mind in just still in school mode where I always have some sort of classwork, studying or working at one of my campus jobs. So I am just used to working as hard as I can as quickly as I can to get things done and get them done to the best of my abilities. I just hope that one day my hard work will pay off.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
My favorite thing so far that I've learned or been able to experience at RJ Lee was the short amount of time I got to spend looking at asbestos fibers under a optical microscope. At Juniata, the optical mineralogy parts of my geology classes has been on of my favorite subjects to learn about. In these classes we learned to identify amphiboles which are also types of asbestos. So it was interesting for me to be able to identify these minerals in a different setting other then a test type of environment. Actually, most of the interesting things I have done at RJ Lee also incorporate using knowledge I have learned at Juniata. I guess it makes me feel good that I can actually use my college education in a none academic setting because there are those people that still tell you that you will never use any of the things you learn in college. I like proving them wrong.
I know that there are many things that I still have left to learn, but this experience has definitely got me thinking about all my options for after graduation, besides grad school.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Making thin sections is another be component of the concrete testing. I already have a good amount of experience making thin section from juniata; but, at RJ Lee making thin section is a lot easier due to a awesome machine that elminates a lot of steps I would normally have to do by hand. Which just saves time. At Juniata it would take me about 4-7 hours making one thin section but at RJ Lee you could make 4-8 thin sections in a day. The record being 13 thin sections in one day. The only thing that is sort of frusterating about making thin section at RJ Lee is the fact that you cannot use water with most concrete samples. One has to use isopar, which is a refined version of kerosine, and oil based diamond pastes. There are pros and cons to each method, but water is generally easier to work with and cheaper.
Overall this past week, though it has been hectic, it has been a great learning experience. Which is what this whole summer is about. I am definently learning that I'd rather be busy then have nothing really to do.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
It has been such a busy time for me but in a good way. Working for RJ Lee Group is amazing. There are so many different projects and so many things to learn that I just hope I can absorb as much as possible over the summer. Lately, we have been getting very caught up on all the different projects that have to be done on a regular basis. These projects deal with coal dust, the vermiculite, and other projects we have to get prepped for the SEM or TEM. What I am finding to be most interesting about this whole experience is that I am learning not only how to preform different laboratory task and different skills and techniques but also what I like and do not like doing. Before this experience I had no idea places like RJ Lee Group existed or that I could have the skills and background knowledge to work at them. Its so fun for me to be able to listen to people tell me about the different projects that are going on and then be able to tell them what I have learned at school on the subject. It is also interesting to learn a different way to complete tasks I have already learned how to complete at Juniata. What I am learning is that when we prep samples at Juniata it usually takes way longer or I was taught the hard way to do things and now there is one machine that eliminate steps from a procedure or there are ways to do things that involve less human error. It also fun for me to meet so many new people who are experts in their different fields. Overall, I am having so much fun and I really am liking my experience so far this summer.
Monday, June 4, 2012
My living situation will be the topic of this post. I must say I have it good living with Justin and Holly. Holly is an amazing cook and over the weekend made a huge dinner for us and Justin's brother and his brother's girlfriend. Stuffed hot banana peppers with hot Italian sausage and spaghetti with a red pepper sauce. DELICIOUS! This wonderful dinner was made after a day at the Vandergrift's Art's Festival. It was a small festival put on by the town where local artists got a chance to show off and sell some of their work. There was good food, okay music, and many beautiful things to look at. I had a lot of fun. After the festival and dinner, fireworks and a intense game of cranium were in store for the night. It was a blast, I never thought this summer was going to be as fun as it is starting to become. My nervousness about the summer and especially my living environment have gone away.
Sunday, after going to church and dropping Holly off at her musical practice, Justin and I join Holly's parents for a amazing lunch/dinner. They made roast beef from a cow they owned, and made potateos, green beans, and salad from their own garden! Holly's dad was pick the stuff for the salad as we got there, I was amazed. It was so fresh that there was no way it couldn't be good. The rest of the day was relaxing watching TV and watching the storms! I've seen 3 rainbows already since I've been here, I'm taking that as good luck!
One of my favorite things to do here right now is watch the peacocks! The one neighbor here owns three peacocks and they mozy into the yard every night after dinner. I am fascinated by them since until now I have only seen peacocks in the zoos.
All and all I am having a great time!