Internship Q & A: Colin Henkler, IPG Photonics

Name: Colin Henkler
Expected Graduation: May 2019
Program of Study: Nanoscale Engineering and Applied Mathematics
Internship Organization: IPG Photonics
Organization’s area of work: IPG Photonics is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers.

What did you focus on during your internship program?
While at IPG Photonics I was a wafer processing intern. My job was quantifying and optimizing film adhesion on wafers. I made sample diodes and wafers, varying process parameters so that I could find the ideal way to both measure the film adhesion and improve it for production purposes.

What is the real world application of your internship?
The work I did at this internship will help make IPG’s products more durable and resistant to outside stress. In general, my task was to make the laser diodes mechanically stronger.

How did your coursework or other experiences at SUNY Poly prepare you for your internship?
I found that I had significant knowledge about some of the processes I performed, such as plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. My studies at SUNY Poly have also taught me how to work independently and to find the answers I need on my own.

Do you have an idea of what you want to do after graduating from SUNY Poly?
At some point after graduating, I plan on going back to school for an MBA. Before continuing my education, I will most likely gain experience working at a company like IPG Photonics, if not IPG Photonics itself.

How do you think the internship will help you reach your goals?
Before this internship I had no idea what it would be like to work in the semiconductor industry. The internship at IPG Photonics has given me real world, hands-on experience working in this industry at the research level.

What has been the most beneficial part of your internship?
Being an intern at IPG Photonics allowed me to observe and interact with individuals in management positions. Since my goal is to someday hold a position at that level, I think it was highly beneficial to be able to see what qualities make a good manager in the semiconductor industry.