Experience Matters: Summer Internships

Summer is an excellent time for students to obtain practical experience in their field of study. Over the summer months, many SUNY Poly students choose to pursue an internship or other applied learning experience to satisfy a degree requirement, gain experience, and build connections with employers in careers they are interested in pursuing. Read about recent student internship experiences below:

Masonic Medical Research Institute

Four SUNY Poly students were selected to participate in the Masonic Medical Research Institute Summer Fellowship Program. The ten-week program immerses undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects, providing students the opportunity to immerse themselves in cutting edge research. Each student is paired with a principal scientist at the Institute, and together, work to design a scientific project that complements both the interests of the student and those of the laboratory.

Yashi Agarwal is a biology major at SUNY Poly. and she is currently enrolled in the Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program, which guarantees her acceptance into Upstate’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program after receiving her bachelors degree. She applied for the Summer Fellowship at MMRI after completing an independent study with Dr. Sathya Unudurthi in Spring 2022.

Cardiovascular disease is so prominent in today’s world and affects so many people we care about, that any information and work towards targeted therapies can make a huge difference. I was excited to not only gain hands-on lab skills and refine my dexterity during this experience but also learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes for the things we learn about in medical education.

Biology and psychology major Catherine Hagearty-Mattern was drawn to MMRI’s research in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. “I lost my uncle when I was a kid, and I was told it was because ‘he had too big of a heart” said Hagearty-Mattern. “At the time, I didn’t understand that this was an idiom, but even as I grew to understand what that meant, I still did not understand how the size of the heart had an impact on its function.”

Hagearty-Mattern tested different methods of peptide synthesis that targets fibrin, which, when injected into the body, will bind with any fibrin found within the artery. “When this peptide is conjugated to a dye, it effectively becomes a marker for disease” said Hagearty-Mattern. “This fibrin-targeted peptide probe can be utilized to study cardiovascular disease, as fibrin deposition is a hallmark of atherosclerosis.” After graduation, Hagearty-Mattern plans on pursuing an MD or Ph.D.

There are so many different factors of cardiovascular disease, some of which we are still trying to understand. I am excited to see how the scientific community, including MMRI, can shed some light on such a devastating disease.

Electric Boat

Jarod Denomme is a Senior Electrical & Computer Engineering major and is completing his second summer internship at Electric Boat in Groton CT. Electric Boat is a subsidiary of General Dynamics, one of the largest defense contractors in the world and primarily designs and constructs nuclear submarines for the U.S Navy. “My group within Waterfront Construction Support Engineering is responsible for the electrical systems on the ship” said Denomme. “We resolve issues that can range from sonar and communications to galley ovens and freezers, and everything in between.”

General Dynamics 2022 Summer Interns

We spent a lot of time onboard the submarines while we troubleshoot issues, which has provided me with hands-on experience and familiarity with the end product. We interacted with many different departments within Electric Boat, as well as members of the US Navy and government representatives. This diverse network of individuals requires strong communication, as well as consideration for differing perspectives. These are just some of the valuable real-world skills that are required and strengthened by my internship.

New York State Department of Transportation

Chris Kantor is about to begin his sophomore year at SUNY Poly in the civil engineering program. He was one of twenty-four students from SUNY Poly working at the DOT in Utica, NY over the summer. Kantor is spent the summer as a Transportation Constructor Inspector intern. “My role was to verify and make sure that the contractor is completing the project according to the project proposals and the contract documents” said Kantor. “My role was really focused on quality assurance.”

Chris Kantor in front of the newly painted Mullaney bridge in Utica, NY

Kantor’s first assignment of his internship was just a few hundred yards off the SUNY Poly campus – the Mullaney Bridge along Route 12. The DOT sent Kantor to a specialized bridge painting training inspection, where he learned about the techniques used by contractors and other topics, such as paint thickness and steel profiles.

 A benefit of having this internship was that I got to see the different aspects of the DOT and how the DOT operates. And with this TCI position, it’s really focused on the construction and being on-site, actually getting to see the projects being built.

The Department of Transportation is no stranger to SUNY Poly. Alumni from the Civil Engineering program work throughout the state agency, and come back to the college to talk with current students about internship opportunities and future employment within the agency. That’s how senior Schuyler Vecchiano became interested in interning for the agency. “I was hoping to get hands-on experience with the internship at the DOT,” said Vecchiano. “At school, you get a lot of background knowledge during class, but you can’t really go actually see what is actually behind the scenes – what they are doing to build a culvert or to fix a road. So I decided to apply here. I thought it was great opportunity for me.”

Schuyler Vecchiano on a culvert replacement project in Oppenheim, NY

As a Transportation Construction Inspector, Vecchiano was involved in multiple culvert projects throughout the region, from full culvert replacement projects like the one in Oppenheim to smaller repairs and maintenance.

An area of engineering I’d like to pursue after I graduate is more towards the environmental side, I took a couple of environmental engineering classes at SUNY Poly, and I just really fell in love with the environmental aspects of civil engineering. 


Wolfspeed, a rapidly growing company in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, opened the world’s first and only 200mm Silicon Carbide fab on the campus of SUNY Poly in Utica in April 2022. Along with the goal of creating 600 jobs by 2029 at the Marcy fab, they offer internships to SUNY Poly students. Zackary Nisbet, a senior network and computer security major, has been interning with Wolfspeed for the past 14 months. Originally a student at Binghamton University, Nisbet transferred to SUNY Poly to be closer to the Marcy fab. “Interning in the semiconductor industry is something that is tremendously beneficial as is, but it is especially valuable to do it during the construction of such a technologically advanced facility” said Nisbet. “This experience provided me with unique insight as to why the facility was designed the way it was. Seeing our facility transition from its construction phase into production has been one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen.”

Nisbet spent the summer visiting Wolfspeeds facilities in North Carolina, Arkansas and California. These visits provided him with direct insight into the company’s supply chain and manufacturing processes at Wolfspeeds larger locations.

The work I’m performing at Wolfspeed is equivalent to what I’d be assigned to in a full-time role. My current projects as a Solution Architect have significant business value that either improve the efficiency of business operations or decrease revenue being lost. For example, I recently architected a design for implementing a staging environment for our homegrown manufacturing execution system being utilized in our North Carolina fabs that will decrease the frequency of wafer excursions.

Nisbet has been offered a co-op position with Wolfspeed, which will allow him to work with the company while he finishes out his senior year at SUNY Poly. He will then transition to a full time role with the company after graduation.

Interested in learning about internship opportunities? Visit the Office of Career Services to learn about resources available to SUNY Poly students.