Challenging Projects

Take a look at the many innovative and challenging projects that our interns have been involved with.

Identifying the right deformation length for nuts to pass quality inspection.
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close X Edison


Mechanical Engineering
University of North Florida

“I am involved in three projects at AFSR-Republic Fastening System, where we make different types of nuts. I’m identifying the right deformation length that each part needs in order to pass quality inspection. In another project, I’m comparing two different lubes that are applied to products to determine if it makes the torque higher or lower. And, I am helping to classify each product made in the facility and assigning specific criteria to them.

Doing my internship here has helped me learn about and discover situations that happen outside of a classroom. This is real life, where there is not one specific answer for everything. The level of involvement has been really good because I have the opportunity to interact with everybody who works here. The mentoring and training have been well beyond what I was expecting.

I think the best part of my internship at Alcoa is the fact that I am gaining so much knowledge. I enjoy being part of a wonderful company that I can see myself being part of in the future.”

Constructing a model to project the outlook for commercial aircraft.
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close X Tiffany



“My main project has been to construct a model – through extensive research, as well as analyzing and interpreting data – to project and explain the outlook for large commercial aircraft for the next 20 years. I will be analyzing the demand for air travel, developing a year-over-year forecast of build rates and providing long-term market assessment for this segment.

I will utilize my undergraduate studies in economics as a foundation to complete the project, along with developing research, analytical and communication skills in the process. I will have extensive interaction with various departments and receive training on Alcoa products.

The best part of my internship has been acquainting myself with Alcoa, gaining exposure to the aerospace market industry and increasing my proficiency in Excel – all in such a short amount of time. The tasks assigned to me are challenging yet rewarding, and I am constantly learning something new with each assignment.”

Programming an automatic scanner for the manufacturing floor.
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close X Dave


Computer Information Systems
Kent State University

“I am involved with the integration between handheld scanners and the pin-stamping device for use on the megaline in Barberton, Ohio. I am working with plant engineers to program an automatic scanner to provide visual feedback that pallets are approved to ship, as well as to design an interface to read and process data for transactional use. These tasks with build both Alcoa’s and my knowledge of integrating automated manufacturing systems, while increasing accuracy on the shop floor.

I have basically been given full control over every aspect of the projects I have been working on. I was able to use my knowledge and creativity to design the type of program that I envisioned. I am set free and have been given every opportunity to show what I can do.

This internship was one of the greatest opportunities in my life. It is a great experience being able to work at one of the most successful companies in the world. It made me feel great that I was able to create something that makes Alcoa a more efficient company and will be used for many years. It is very humbling when you can walk around Alcoa and point at something and say ‘Hey, I was part of that.’”

Modeling pins and nuts to measure thread engagements upon assembly.
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close X Hunter


Aerospace Engineering
University of Southern California

“I am currently modeling various UNJF Class 3A pins in SolidWorks using a standard specification manual, along with digital pictures that I take with an optical comparator. The purpose is to model pins and nuts of various sizes, with various tolerances, in order to measure thread engagements upon assembly.

I am also facilitating and inputting data into a new online project manager that uses cloud computing, and I occasionally assist and observe other R&D employees in the lab and with data analysis.

So many new things are being introduced to me on a daily basis. What I have learned in school is valuable, but seeing the practical application of my studies in the work environment has been crucial. I am not only redefining my skills in solid programming, but also learning the basics of an industry we rarely cover in the classroom.”

Working on the rollout and implementation of VoIP.
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close X Mark


Information Sciences and Technology
Penn State

“I have been involved with several projects during my internship. The most notable one involves the rollout of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) hard phone/soft phone implementation. It has been a fantastic learning experience and has provided the opportunity to take part in the planning, meetings and the overall functions of a big project. I have been able to take the lead in some meetings, as well as perform the organizational work.

This work relates directly to the field of my degree, meaning that I have been able to put my learning into practice in a real-life situation. I have also learned first-hand about the immense planning that goes into a project, as well as the continuous reevaluation process that take place throughout the lifecycle. All of this learning will be of great benefit to my future.

The best part of my internship at Alcoa has to be the hands-on experience that I receive each day, whether it is handling data, a project-based task or some other type of learning. I work alongside a knowledgeable and inspiring team of individuals who not only make on-the-job learning more valuable, but also make the tasks enjoyable.”

Researching the anodizing response of high strength alloys.
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close X Nicholas


Materials Science Engineering
Purdue University

“Our customer asked Alcoa to determine which high-strength alloys will form an oxide coating that meets strict design specifications. From many experiments with various alloys, we have developed processes and methods that successfully anodize high-strength alloys to meet the specifications.

My research involves better understanding the poor anodizing response of high strength alloys and determining processes that can successfully anodize these alloys. The ultimate goal is to produce a surface finish aesthetically pleasing enough to be used in consumer electronics and enable the development of thinner, lighter and stronger devices.

I have gained experience in this internship that I would not be able to gain in class or conducting research on a university campus. Most university research is for applications that are far from commercialization. The research I am involved with at Alcoa is highly applicable to many industries and close to commercialization. Not many internships give students the opportunity to work on projects that have the ability to make huge impacts.”

Helping develop a sales and marketing plan for a major new product.
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close X Lora


Marketing and Entrepreneurship (MBA)
Duquesne University

“During my internship, I have been involved with several projects to help the Commercial Marketing department streamline processes and increase efficiency. These included combining spreadsheet reports, finding better ways to organize and update the SharePoint contract site and working with a marketing specialist for forgings to help eliminate manual processes involved in quoting.

I am also working on a major sales and marketing project for our aluminum 5th wheel business. This project has involved many different aspects, including weeks of research on the overall 5th wheel and trucking market and major competitors. I have been able to collaborate with many different people and will eventually help define a way to encourage members of sales team to market and promote the 5th wheel.

After this internship, I feel that I will be a much more valuable candidate to any company because I now have a better understanding of how marketing is applied in the real world of business. Alcoa tried very hard to make the internship relevant to my interests and what I wanted to learn.”

Improving the recovery rate for driveshaft production to reduce scrap.
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close X Jodi


Mechanical Engineering and Physics
University of Virginia

“My main project for the summer is to improve the recovery rate for driveshaft production in order to reduce the estimated 200,000 pounds per month of excess scrap. After learning about the processes involved with the press, I was able to optimize the billet lengths around two sizes that have a potential average recovery of 70% for all bloom types and savings of around $400K/year.

My internship with Alcoa has been an eye-opening experience because, after three years of learning about manufacturing processes and the machine elements produced, I am able to see it first hand and obtain more insight than any book can provide. The projects I am involved in are very hands-on, as I am responsible for gathering the information and data that will allow me to develop a solution and plan of action.

Alcoa has shown me that a company can take social responsibility for its actions and still make a profit. The values set up by the corporation are upheld by every individual I have met, showing the depth and impact it has not only on the workers, but also the local community.”

Analyzing our inventory process for prototypes and test wheels.
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close X Kevin


Ohio State University

“In just four short weeks, I’ve sat through the closing stages of a formal quarterly business review, worked on a major market analysis project dealing with share and penetrations, updated our budgets and kicked off an enormous inventory analysis project dealing with our prototype wheels. We are doing an in-depth analysis of the full process to map out the entire flow of inventory, identify gaps and propose solutions. I also had a trip to corporate for audit training and will be going to Denton for physical inventory.

The value of my internship thus far has already exceeded my expectations. I have learned an incredible amount, from a new technology, Hyperion, that drives the Finance team’s analysis and forecasting, to the ins and outs of how our inventory process works and all the working components necessary to keep it running smoothly.

The best part of my internship has been the vast amount of opportunities I have been able to experience. I have felt more like a full-time employee of the Finance team rather than a summer intern. Everyone I discuss my internship with is blown away by the level of work I have had the chance to take part in or have been assigned.”

Updating and improving Alcoa’s project controls system.
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close X Chuck


Chemical Engineering/Engineering Management
Howard University

“This summer, I am involved in updating the Project Controls System that is responsible for managing all of Alcoa’s capital projects of $200M and above. Based on recommendations from project controls experts and lessons learned from previous and ongoing projects, I am revising the system to provide project engineers with a better means of navigating the stage gate process and achieve improved outcomes in terms of cost, schedule and reliability.

My project is pretty challenging. I consider it ideal because it gives me exposure to all of the different disciplines, including environmental health and safety, cost forecasting and estimating, engineering, finance and scheduling. It has provided me with a good feel for how to run a project, perform a feasibility study and deliver timely results. I have had several travel opportunities within and outside the U.S. to perform work functions. That has been the best part of my internship.

This is really a full-time job that lasts for three months. I am exposed to real responsibilities that actually impact the company’s business and fully utilize the theoretical knowledge and skills I have acquired from school in a practical way. My time and resources are fully utilized and my learning curve has increased exponentially.”