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Tyler Hepler, Astro Machine Works Intern

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Tyler, a Computer Integrated Machining major in Thaddeus Stevens College’s associate degree program, has spent his summer interning for Astro Machine Works.  

Astro Machine Works was founded in 1984 in Lancaster County with a vision to serve the custom machinery and precision parts needs of the area’s top regional and national companies. The company's machines and parts can today be found across the globe, supporting processes for some of the world’s leading companies.  

What does your day-to-day work look like during your internship? 

After arriving at 7 a.m. and clocking in, I log into the job or part I was processing the day before. When I complete a job, I drop off the print and parts at their next destination. To start a new job, I get a new print and find where the material is located, and sometimes I need to cut the material down before I work on the job, other times the material is pre-cut.  

What have you been surprised to learn in your internship? 

One of the things I’ve learned is how many steps and processes can go into making just one part. In some cases, a part will be very simple and quick, such as a close-to-size tolerance of +/- .010, with a chamfer on one end. Other parts have a complicated radius and relief groove, with a press in to tolerance of +0./-.0005. Once I had to modify a tool to make just the relief groove. Sometimes those tolerances are extremely minuscule.  

What has been the best thing about your internship experience? 

I have learned so much and continue to learn something every day. The guys I work with are probably the next best part – they support and help me when I need it. They also treat me like I fit in. I love being there! 

Can you share a story that happened during your internship? 

I’ve learned that it really does take teamwork – if one thing is missed or completed incorrectly, it can impact the whole chain of work. Recently, I was creating 32 individual parts that were all alike. It took some precision as the machine could only run so fast and the material required close attention. After I finished, I sent them on to the next step for some holes to be added to each part. After I sent them on, I was asked for one more part so they’d have an extra. Then later, I was asked for another 32 of the same parts! It turned out some quality steps were missed farther down the production line so we needed to start that machining process over.  

Would you recommend an internship to other Thaddeus Stevens College students? 

Absolutely! An internship gives you a chance to take the theoretical learning you’ve completed in the labs to learn how it can be applied in the workforce, and learn even more.  

How do you think your experience will help you in the future? 

I think my experience will greatly help me in the future. I will already know how to complete certain tasks, and being accustomed to a workplace and a team means that I can work independently without a lot of support and be depended on more than someone without experience.  

Alexandra Hickey, Intern at J. L. Clark

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Alexandra Hickey, an electrical technology major, has been working with J. L. Clark this summer.  

J. L. Clark is a domestic packaging manufacturer offering highly decorated material metal and plastic packaging designed to enhance leading consumer brands, which includes metal packaging for tins and aluminum containers as well as plastic packaging products such as containers, sticks, and closures.

As she prepares for her second year toward completing her associate’s degree, we asked Alexandra some questions about her internship experience! 

How did you learn about your internship? 

I connected with George in the Career Services Office and looked through Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology’s College Central Network, where the College posts upcoming job and internship opportunities for students and graduates.  

What does your day-to-day look like? 

After clocking in at 7 a.m. and participating in group stretches, we have a daily department meeting. Following that, I work in the plant or the department for the day, which could include routine work, large projects, or troubleshooting and fixing lines if they have issues. I mostly have completed electrical work, but I also have done some mechanical work and some welding. I mainly focus on a particular line for a large upgrade/rewiring project.  

What is one thing you were surprised to learn in your time as an intern? 

One item I was surprised to learn is how many mechanical and other related skills I’d need to develop to work in the electrical field.  

What has been the best thing about your internship experience? 

This experience confirmed for me that industrial electrical work is what I want to do after graduation. I’ve had a lot of fun and learned a lot. However, I also have to say the best thing may have been the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made! 

Can you share a story about something that happened as part of your time as an intern? 

One day, we had an electrical fire in one of the line’s panels. No one was hurt! The transformer started smoking and caught fire. It was scary but reinforced safety and respect for electricity. It also gave me the opportunity later to work on a new replacement panel.  

Would you recommend seeking out an internship to other students at Thaddeus Stevens College? 

I would 100 percent recommend an internship to other students. It is a great way to practice what you’ve learned so far, learn from other people in the field, make connections, and get a head start on the second year’s material.  



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