Students & Faculty

Zachary W. Zipf – 2022 Steel Intern Scholar

I recently completed my third internship with Steel Dynamics Inc. at their Structural and Rail Division (SRD). Just like the past two summers, I found SDI’s internship program to be simply exceptional. They have consistently provided excellent opportunities and projects, that are engaging, stimulating and appropriately challenging.
Most of my time this summer was spent evaluating SRD’s Charpy Impact Testing, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of low performance samples and increasing the consistency between samples. I had the pleasure of working alongside a fellow metallurgical intern, whom I soon became close friends with. Together, we investigated numerous aspects of the testing procedure, compared current practices to ensure they were in line with various standards, and directly tested how changes to the sample fabrication process altered test values. Due to the project’s scope, we had to employ a variety of different skills, from microstructural analysis to statistical hypothesis testing, to analyzing technical literature. Ultimately, we were able to isolate a large source of testing variability, recommend changes to improve testing, and relate our findings to greater concerns within the rolling mill.
Alongside the Charpy project, I had excellent opportunities to refine non-metallurgical and soft skills through my various side projects. One such project involved creating a training video to teach new lab techs how to correctly (and safely) perform tensile tests on structural beams. This required the use of the video editing software Adobe Premier Pro, which I had never use before. Not only did I have to teach myself the new software, but I got to train another employee how to use it to create new training videos in the future. Furthermore, I had to develop my time management skills to effectively balance my various projects. Throughout the summer, I grew more conscientious of key milestones within each project, so that I could effectively schedule my time to meet all my goals.
Perhaps one of the most satisfying experiences is the ability to reminisce on one’s growth, and even now I am certain this past summer has been monumentally influential to my development as a prospective metallurgical engineer.