About the Author: Happy Kumar, a student from BRCM College of Engineering and Technology, shares his internship experience at NJIT, New Jersey where he worked on photovoltaics on the weekdays and explored the US on weekends.
This summer brought me a bulk of happiness as I got selected for a research internship for six-weeks at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, in the land of my dreams – United States. I was selected under NJIT-HIT programme on the basis of my previous performances, and good analytical and communication skills. The selection was done on two levels. First, the selection was done at the college level, and then by the programme coordinator of NJIT-HIT programme, Clayton M. Moses. Initially, my college invited applications from the interested students along with their resume and their project summary. Then, based on our academic performance and the selection of our project, some of us were shortlisted for a brief interview. I was asked to give my introduction, after which, I was asked why I had applied for that programme. I replied that I wanted to do research work in the future and it was a golden opportunity for me to get global exposure in my interest field which would help me enhance my skills and have a bright future. Once my name was forwarded for the programme, a telephonic interview was conducted by the project coordinator (PC) in which questions from different aspects were asked. The aforementioned two questions were repeated again. I was also asked to give details about my research interest to which I replied that I basically wanted to work in the field of renewable energy. I told him that I specifically wanted to work in photovoltaics, i.e., on solar modules to increase their efficiency and minimize their cost. Finally, I was selected and my happiness knew no bounds!
After all the hustles, I along with my team members boarded the flight to Newark Liberty International Airport. On the first day, we went to New York city where we roamed the streets and visited the famous Times Square and Central Park. My internship began the following day, and I met my internship advisor, Dr. Alan Delahoy. He was a man with a vision, an Oxford University pass-out, and a big name in the field of photovoltaics with 13 patents to his name. To be honest, I was nervous before meeting him; however, his friendly nature and ever-smiling face reduced the stress. He asked me a few questions and guided me to start my work on commercial thin-film CdTe module. The title of my project was Investigation of instability and ion-drift in commercial thin-film CdTe Photovoltaic modules. Hence, a tough but interesting journey began. I was working with the module provided by First Solar, a leading solar brand in the US. My job was to detect the instability in the solar modules due to the copper ions being incorporated in the rear back contact. I plotted various current-voltage curves using the data acquisition instrument in both light as well as dark conditions using an appropriate biasing, i.e., forward or reverse bias. Finally, I obtained the required results plotting all graphs obtained in different conditions and studying them carefully. One major thing which I liked there was that no one used to poke their noses into others’ works; though they were always ready to guide and provide help when asked for. On 27th of July, I presented my works in an international symposium. Adding to my glory, I received Grade “A” from my professor for successful completion of my project.
This internship was not all about working in labs rather it comprised of tours to few exciting and worth-seeing places on every weekend. We visited Atlantic city sea beach, Niagara Falls, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and many places in New York City (like Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Trinity church, etc.) The ferry from Battery Park to Liberty island, playing with the waves at Atlantic city, the picture with the Wall Street charging bull, the Lincoln Memorial, the World Trade Centre, viewing the whole New York City from the top of the Empire State Building, clicking selfies at Times Square, and The Maid of the Mist ride at Niagara Falls – all these are the treasures of my memory. We witnessed the first in-space spacecraft, the Apollo, which was sent to Moon, and the first aeroplane made by the Wright brothers at the National Air and Space Museum. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I enjoyed each and every moment of it, be it working in labs or on trips.
Excited by Happy’s journey in the land of dreams? Check out these cool international internships.
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!