Jonathan Barkl - 2018 Premier Scholar
My summer spent interning for Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) – Flat Roll Group Columbus Division has was an interesting and rewarding experience. This was my second summer with SDI, so I thought I knew what I would be getting into. What I found, though, was a completely new experience full of new challenges and learning opportunities. The internship as a whole was great and exceeded my expectations.
SDI Columbus is a very large mill with many different operations. My position as a product development metallurgist intern required a good understanding of the mill and its processes, which took some time to get familiar with. In my short time there, my projects mainly focused on the meltshop and hot mill processes so that I could get a decent understanding of the area in the short time I had. The projects I worked on dealt with improving certain grades and developing a better understanding of what is going on in some of our processes in terms of defects and equipment operations. For example, a common plate steel grade was performing somewhat unpredictably and its toughness was greatly affected by this. By changing processing parameters, we were able to obtain a different microstructure that performed better and improved the product.
These projects required analysis similar to the types of analysis done at school through labs and design projects. The amount of equipment available at SDI Columbus was impressive and allowed for in-depth study of what we were producing. The application of everything I’ve been studying in school was awesome to see because it can seem like what you learn is sometimes impractical for use in a production environment. I really learned a lot throughout the internship on the technical metallurgy side of things.
What was also valuable about this internship was the further immersion into the steel industry. Seeing a different mill that produces a much different product really taught me a lot about the importance of becoming familiar with the particular mill you’re working in and using the general knowledge of the steelmaking process. Also, gathering samples and working with the people in the mill helped tremendously with understanding how everything operates and familiarizing myself with the mill.
Finally, of course, the scholarship from AIST is extremely generous and a valuable addition to the internship experience. As my senior year and my tenure as Material Advantage (AIST student chapter) president begins, I’ll have a lot going on at school with my studies and activities. This scholarship makes it possible for me to focus more on school than on work, which makes a real difference during the year. I want to thank everyone at AIST and SDI, especially the quality group at SDI Columbus, for an amazing experience and a continued education in the steel industry.