Pump Cleaning Adventure Internship at HNP Mikrosysteme

For three short months from July 11th to October 7th, 2016 I was an intern at HNP Mikrosysteme in Schwerin, MVP facilitated by the DAAD Rise-Pro. I found this internship while working on a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Degree at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. There, I work on fluid mechanics and occupational safety and health under Dr. Milind Jog and Dr. Jay Kim. Previously in 2013, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) Degree at Purdue University, Indiana, U.S.A.

While here, I learned and accomplished many things which I'm grateful to HNPM for. Their generosity in being open to a foreign intern and helping him with many things inside and outside of the internship say a lot about the character of those here. Too, everyone here greets each other every day and knows one another, employees celebrate each other's birthdays, are understanding of everyone's needs, and really value their time both in and out of the office.

Ellen, my supervisor and mentor, taught many things which I hope to use in the future. Up close I was able to see how an innovative hi-tech German company operates, learn how workers here interact, practice German (what little I knew anyhow), and, of course, learn about micro annular gear pumps. Which, by the way, are surprisingly effective at moving a lot of liquid despite being small in size.

For my time here, I specifically focused on researching the cleaning of the micro annular gear pumps.  With my mentor we conducted background research, designed the experiment, and validated the procedures to test the experiment. Unfortunately sometimes research hits stumbling blocks, so the actual experiments will be conducted after I leave.  It still feels rewarding though to look back on all the work that I've accomplished.

During the whole process, I really enjoyed working so closely with everyone.  In the assembly area I learned how to assemble pumps, which is not as easy as one might think. I also was able to assist in other experiments as well. Everything here has encouraged me to return and find a job in Germany.

It should also be mentioned that the company was highly inclusive and helpful; from day one they were asking me if I wanted to have lunch with them at local restaurants. And towards the beginning of the internship there was an extra-curricular event which I was invited to: a very good concert in the Schlossgarten where movie and classical music was played. It isn't always so easy to find people like this.

So in short, interning here has been a great experience. Something like this is unusual so I feel immensely grateful to be given the chance to see what it's like here. Thank you again to everyone at HNPM, I hope that with any luck this won't be the only time we meet.

Matthew K. Owen