We sat down with Gautham Mahadevan, a recent alumnus from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, to talk about one of his Internship experiences .
Tell us about your profile.
I’m currently a graduate student in Materials Science at TU Delft, and was a student of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (2018). In the summer after my second year, I interned at The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi (TERI).
What is TERI?
TERI is an private research institute that works largely in the field of energy, environment and public policy. They are hired by corporations, ministries and government departments in projects that span many fields of engineering (primarily Electrical, Chemical, Mechanical, Civil and Metallurgy).
Like most second years towards the end of their 4th semester, I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do with my life, career wise. I wanted to explore some field related to my department before I tried venturing into other fields.
I got to hear about a project in TERI that was related to my field of study by a relative who works there. I mailed the project guide and managed to secure this internship.
At this point, I’d like to mention something I realised about the process of searching for internships. A good number of students feel that using family contacts or known people to secure internships or job opportunities is not very ethical. Personally, I think students should disabuse themselves of such a thought, with such a competitive intern market.
The internship involved a stipend, just enough to cover basic living expenses.
What project were you a part of during the internship?
The project was titled “Jharsuguda Heat Island Study”, and involved the quantification of the Industrial heat island effect due to metallurgical industries and coal mines in the district of Jharsuguda in Odisha. It was a year-long project which involved scientific research and well as public policy, but I was involved only with the former.
As an intern, my first responsibility was to prepare a ‘process questionnaire’ that would be sent to all metallurgical industries in the district. This was done to seek information regarding the heat output of all metallurgical processes, which would then be used to calculate the heat island effect.
The next part of the project involved a field visit to Jharsuguda, where readings from across the district were taken with the help of an infrared camera as well as temperature and humidity data loggers. I visited a lot of different metallurgical industries, coal mines, thermal power plants to take down observations and readings (Odisha peak summer was 49 degrees!).
This large amount of data had to be analyzed and meaningful output needed to be derived; this constituted my final responsibilities in this project.
Throughout my experience at TERI, I met a lot of really amazing people and had the opportunity to learn from them. I was introduced to the field of public policy (though I didn’t work on it directly), and saw the amount of research and study it takes to work in such a field. Seeing how innovation is applied on such a massive level (the foundation of public policy work done at TERI) was truly an amazing experience. Public Policy as a career choice isn’t something that we’re introduced to in college, but this experience showed me how relevant it is today. It is a growing field that is expanding everyday, and has a major requirement for engineers today. With a large amount of policy related research being fully data driven, a career in public policy seemed to be a perfect fit for people comfortable with the language of math.
- A lot of reading and literature review had to be done in the field of process metallurgy, which helped me considerably in related coursework back in college.
- Going to the field and actually visiting metallurgical industries, seeing how aluminium, copper, steel etc. is purified and made was a big learning experience.
- I learned how to use data analyzing tools like Excel, Matlab and R through the course of this project. These basic coding skills was highly useful in my subsequent endeavors with theoretical materials science.
How can I secure an internship there?
TERI has a website (http://www.teriin.org/) which is regularly updated with details about the various projects that they undertake. Anyone interested in working there can simply mail them requesting an internship to the appropriate project guide. Selection would be subject to a telephonic or email interview.