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From left, Hamza Khalid, Suzanne Peterson and Monika Singh.
Texas A&M University students Hamza Khalid, Suzanne Peterson and Monika Singh have recently represented the Aggie spirit at Apple. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Materials science and engineering students are representing the Aggie spirit at Apple.

Doctoral students Suzanne Peterson and Hamza Khalid and master's student Monika Singh began their Apple internships at different times and have had different experiences. However, all have agreed that this has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s an interesting opportunity, and I love Apple,” Peterson said. “I've been an Apple person since the first iPads came out. This sounded like it would be a really great opportunity for professional networking and refining my lab skills.”

Peterson has been a product design intern since September and plans on staying until July. She works with the polymer materials team in a lab, running experiments and tests on different materials for other product design engineers.

“We act as an internal vendor,” she said. “When someone needs to characterize a polymer for a project, they send it to us. We do the experiments and send the data back to them, and this data goes into important design choices for all of Apple’s products. I spend 50% of my time running these tests, and the other 50% of the time, I work on special projects. The most valuable part of this experience has been collaborating with other materials and product design engineers.”

Singh focused on product quality during her eight months at Apple. She began her internship in May and concluded it in January. During her time there, she performed failure analysis on warranty iPhones.

Khalid has been in the internship for seven months and works on metallographic and microstructure analysis.

“A lot of my internship work is similar to what I learned in the lab at the university,” he said. “Metallographic analysis and microstructure analysis are about how properties are affected by those microstructures. It feels nice to have the chance to implement these design philosophies on products that have global reach and impact.”

Khalid’s research has to do with processing and microstructures and how that affects properties, such as the environmental impact of Apple’s devices, said Bilal Mansoor, Texas A&M University at Qatar associate professor of mechanical engineering and Khalid’s advisor.

“He knows we want to design products better so we can make them not just cost-effective, but also environmentally effective, without compromising on device performance,” Mansoor said.

As the students get further into their research, the internships have given them an outside impact that will assist them later in their careers. Singh has been able to work closely with and learn from some of the best in the industry.

“I had the opportunity to grow tremendously as an engineer,” she said. “I believe the skills I learned will continue to serve me throughout my career. It is a great honor to have represented my school and department at one of the top companies in the world.”

During her time in the internship, Singh said that her biggest takeaway was not to let fear stop her. 

“An internship at Apple will be very important for her going forward and definitely a big help in reaching the next step in her career,” said Karim Ahmed, assistant professor of nuclear engineering and affiliated professor of materials science and engineering.