Several Florida Polytechnic University students had the opportunity to take part in an intensive five-day internship during spring break aimed at providing critical hands-on research and application experience. The internship was offered by BRIDG, a nonprofit, industry-led public-private partnership for advanced sensors, semiconductors, photonics and other advanced nanoscale systems, located at the NeoCity technology district in Kissimmee, Florida.
“It was great to be able to get that kind of experience and work with professionals,” said Anthony Vozza, a senior mechanical engineering major from St. Petersburg, Florida, who was one of four students awarded the internship opportunity.
The students were split up to take on separate projects associated with data collection for optimal storage and usage environment for different types of foods.
“We learned how to optimize fruits and vegetables in all stages, from harvesting to transportation,” said senior Jordan Ponce, “and how this technology can improve their lifespans by being able to quickly and more accurately detect changes in temperature, humidity and gases.”
Ponce, a mechanical engineering major from Miami, Florida, focused more on the research component of the project while Vozza, Ashley Rogers and Jose Placeres worked on building a low-cost, hand-held near infrared (NIR) sensor device.
“It was really nice to have the real-life experience because we’ve done all of the labs and math in class,” said Rogers, from Cape Coral, Floridal, who is majoring in mechanical engineering. “It was great for this opportunity to come up and to be able to do this.”
Dr. Amit Kumar, the associate director of research and technology services at BRIDG and the student’s mentor for the week, said he appreciated the students’ willingness to spend spring break building upon what they’ve learned in the classroom.
“I want such students to stay motivated and serve as an example for other students to utilize similar opportunities to strengthen and apply what they learn in school towards real-life usage through such internships,” said Kumar.
Placeres is a junior from St. Cloud, Florida, majoring in computer science. For him, the internship was invaluable because it brought together two significant components.
“Because of this experience, I can now see how both the hardware and software work together with these types of projects,” said Placeres.