If you are not already familiar with the annual Boeing Engineering Summer High School Internship Program you may view the pdf document for the program review below.
Before the internship started I had to get accepted into it. This part ended up not being as hard as I thought it would be thanks to the Junior internship program at Bosco Tech https://www.boscotech.edu/. Once having attended all the meetings for the Junior internship program everyone got to choose what internships to apply for (I think the only one I applied for was the Boeing one). After applying, each of the applicants had an interview with a board of Bosco Tech faculty/staff members. Of the 11 or so applicants, 8 were selected (# of spots given to the school). I’m not exactly sure why only 11 Juniors applied for the internship. Maybe others thought it was too competitive or whatever. I was excited to have been selected and next up was selecting jobs within the internship.
When I was choosing my top selections for the jobs I wanted, I prioritized the things that I was most familiar with. My very top selections were based primarily off of my familiarity with them such as my top pick, which was primarily CAD and 3D printing focused. At the Boeing internship orientation everyone was assigned their positions and introduced to their mentors as well as the fellow intern(s) they would be working with. I was assigned to what I believe was my 4th selection, the Antenna RF & Array Engineering group. Our group was among the smallest with two interns and four mentors. All of my mentors worked in the Antenna Engineering department. I didn’t know it at the time but it was going to be much better for me to work in the unfamiliar antenna group than with the familiar 3D printing and CAD group.
The tasks for the Antenna RF and Array Engineering group were first for each of us to learn about radio frequency energy, antennas, and design then to design. build, and test our very own helical antenna (we actually got to use CAD and a 3D printer for this part). The research phase ended up lasting most of the internship because all of our mentors were generally just really busy. Anyways, there was a good amount of research to do and I learned a ton of things from the research; wavelength, frequency, bandwidth, insertion loss, return loss, gain, impedance, directivity, dielectrics, conductors, and the logarithmic function of measuring things in decibels. Once we were each at a certain point with our research, we were each to create and present PowerPoint about what we had researched and learned so far. I was quite satisfied with what I had learned and found interest in an area I had never even thought of exploring. We proceeded to do some final research to prepare for the helical antenna project.
It actually wasn’t until the second to last week that we were able to start our projects. This was mainly because the mentors were finding it difficult to get the CAD software for us. The requirements for the helical antenna was for it to work on the XM radio frequency of 2.4 GHz and have a return loss of -10 decibels as well as a gain of 8 or more decibels. Basically, how decibels work is that you use a logarithmic function to convert a number like 2.3 billion into something like 40. Instead of adding zeros, you add tens. The CAD software we were using was ANSYS SpaceClaim and it was a very simple type of CAD software. I already had a large amount of CAD experience so I used it with ease. In SpaceClaim I started out with making a CAD model of the copper wire with the proper helix dimensions for optimal antenna operation. It was the pitch angle, circumference, and height of the helix that defined it’s dimensions. I then modeled the dielectric support structure which was to hold the helix in shape and in place. There was also the base plate which was a circular metal plate (ground plane) at the bottom of the antenna. I designed the bottom of the dielectric support structure to be fastened to the ground plane and to make room for the coaxial connector which would connect to the helix wire. Initially I designed the support structure to be connected in 6 complex pieces but we were 3D printing the support structure with a 3D printer meant for printing flat things so it had to be redesigned for that (basically 2d) which was disappointing. The final design worked out and once we had put together our helix antennas, we were ready for testing.
We were testing for our antennas to reach -10 decibels of return loss or less (less loss is better). I tested my antenna first and got just a bit more than -10 decibels so I made some subtle changes. I went again and this time got just under -10 decibels of return loss. My antenna worked and I was satisfied with what I did and how much I learned. Prior to this internship I was only ever primarily interested in mechanical engineering but afterwards it was both mechanical and electrical as well as an open mind for looking into even more fields.
Training sessions and tours were another significant part of the internship for me. I actually got a certificate for completing the most hours of training sessions and tours which was a total of 52 hours over the six week internship (15 required hours). I don’t even think the runner up had as much as 40 and there were almost 70 other interns. I think the main reason I ended up with so many training hours was because I actually missed one of the first training sessions, Satellites 101. I missed it so that I could go to the first summer FRC meeting https://alejandro-pina.com/2021/02/19/first-robotics-competition-2019/. I was the captain of the team so I thought it was more important I be there just for the first summer meeting. Both my instructors from my tech class got mad at me for being there and not at Boeing so I didn’t miss one more training session. Not only that but I also went out and participated in Boeing events outside of the designated summer high school internship training sessions and tours. My favorite training sessions were the networking sessions at the beginning of every week, the live Dennis Muilenburg (CEO of Boeing at the time) Q&A, the Thermal Materials one, Angular Momentum, the resume writing session, the LINC innovation challenge, the Huntington Beach ones (there were a few days which we went over to the Boeing Huntington Beach facility for tours and stuff), and all of the tours. I learned things about how a satellite uses angular momentum to position itself in space, redundancy, the professional way to write a resume, geocentric orbit, thermal applications in aerospace, metal 3D printing, antenna arrays, and much more. I enjoyed the training sessions and, in my case, they were a great thing to participate in when you didn’t have anything else actively going on within the internship. I also took on the role of the focal for Bosco Tech and had to make sure everyone was doing their hours.
This internship was a great experience for me to learn more about the real engineering world and I hope that I took sufficient advantage of it. I am engineering all the way and have also taken complete advantage of my time at Bosco Tech to develop and increase my technical skills and knowledge to fulfill my passion for engineering. Thanks For Viewing This Post! Below are some resources if you want to learn more about the internship.