Students & Faculty

Max A. Wessel – 2021 Steel Intern Scholar

I worked this summer as a Metallurgy Intern for Waupaca Foundry at their plant in Etowah, Tenn. My time in the melt lab has been, educational, rewarding and exciting. I have had an amazing opportunity to develop my technical understanding of everything that goes on in the foundry, and what it takes to be a metallurgist.


It did not take long for me to find my place and feel comfortable working among my peers. Waupaca Foundry did an amazing job at engaging me with connections all across the company. I worked closely with those in the lab to gather data for my projects. There was the time to meet people from every level of stature across all our departments. I even had the opportunity to tour other plants and meet dozens of other interns. I did not anticipate just how many connections I would make during my time here. I appreciated every interaction, as they helped me grow as a metallurgist and professionally. Waupaca Foundry has made me feel like one of their own, not just an intern.

I had a healthy balance of routine lab work, as well as challenging and engaging projects. I spent time doing defect analysis on a number of castings, learning where in our process we can improve. A large part of my time was spent working on using image analysis to better characterize the microstructure of our products.  While I always had the guidance and support of my co-workers, the opportunity to lead my own way was very rewarding. I enjoyed the diversity of work that I was given, and the chance to assist both short-term and long-term goals of the lab and the foundry.

Waupaca Foundry has made me feel valued, and I am very grateful for the opportunity they have given me to grow and develop my career. Thank you as well to AIST for providing this amazing scholarship and for helping me get involved in the iron and steel industry.