Andrew J. Smith – 2022 Steel Intern Scholar
I had the opportunity to intern at Cleveland-Cliffs Coatesville Works as a process metallurgist where I analyzed the root cause for mill-specific defect trends and verified improvements made to the 140 hot leveler. From the first day I felt welcomed at the mill and was treated with the same respect as any other worker. I received ample help familiarizing myself with the mill while I worked on projects that directly affected production. Cleveland-Cliffs also provided a wealth of general and mill-specific metallurgical resources which related practices in place to my university knowledge.
I enjoyed the balance between work done within the mill and the office as it kept me engaged throughout the internship. Some of the work I did in the mill included verifying plate chemistries, identifying slabbed-off plates, and performing slab inspections before material was rolled. My problem-solving skills were used in the office through the data analysis I performed with my main projects. Ensuring my data was both credible and relevant to operations was considerably more difficult than I initially expected but was a crucial skill I improved on throughout my internship. I was also allowed to learn professional skills on the job site. One such skill I learned was Structured Query Language (SQL), giving me the freedom to group data directly from the mill’s database and process later in excel.
Collaborating with industry professionals while at the mill was a valuable experience for me and much of the progress made on my projects resulted from the insight from others. My contributions felt valued as I was able to present my findings regarding mill-specific defect trends to management. Working at Coatesville Works was a unique experience since the mill produces a wide array of plate products and has a rich history. I was fascinated by both the progress the mill made over the years and the application of metallurgical engineering outside of university. Having the opportunity to visit other areas of the facility and learn about practices outside of the rolling mill widened my perspective outside of where I worked daily. I also was able to connect with interns across different disciplines and learn about their projects at the facility. My internship at Cleveland-Cliffs Coatesville Works was fulfilling as I gained many professional skills, made meaningful connections with coworkers, and applied my major in a challenging but rewarding environment. I am grateful for the time I spent at Cleveland-Cliffs Coatesville Works and the financial aid provided by AIST to help me.