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Through an internship with Energy Concepts Co. in her hometown of Annapolis, Md., Marquis Scholar Kaye Powell ’02 is gaining experience in the design and construction of solar-powered equipment.

Energy Concepts designs and develops energy-efficient, solar-powered absorption systems that produce refrigeration, heat pumping, space conditioning, and/or power. The company has projects all over the world, from Colorado to Alaska to Egypt.

A civil and environmental engineering major, Powell has performed a wide range of tasks. “The president of the company, Don Erickson, usually comes up with an idea and jots down a rough sketch,” she explains. “I then take that sketch and draw it using a 3-D CAD (Computer Aided Design) program. I then take the drawings down to the metal shop, where the employees there play around with the design to see what needs to be changed. I make any needed corrections to the design. I am also involved in the actual building of the systems. I have been shown how to perform simple tasks such as bending pipe into coils, stud welding, drilling holes, sandblasting, and cutting metal. Throughout the summer, I have helped out wherever I am needed, from the office to the metal shop to the lab where the systems are tested.”

Powell says the internship has enabled her to explore her interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. “The main thing I have learned this summer is the basic process of how things are designed, built, and tested — the interaction between the people who come up with ideas and the people who actually have to build them,” she adds. “When someone is stuck in an office, it is easy to forget to consider the feasibility of an idea. But in this atmosphere, all sides interact to create something that can be built and will work. It is very interesting to watch something go from a simple sketch to a finished product. I doubt that many other jobs could have offered me that kind of experience.”

She began her internship May 21 and will be finished Friday.

Powell was a member of the Lafayette team that took third place in the Pennsylvania-Delaware Region of the 2001 National Concrete Canoe Competition, held April 28 at Peace Valley Park, Lake Galena, just north of Doylestown, Pa.

Categorized in: Academic News