Experiential Learning in Physics: A new partnership between RC-Physics and Integer Holdings Corp.

by Bala on November 14, 2018

David Moreau, a senior physics major, spent his 2018 summer pursuing an internship at Integer Holding Corp, in Salem, VA. This is a new partnership for the Roanoke physics group. His mentor, Dr. Roger Dickenson, visited Roanoke College to give a talk on ‘Metals in Medical Devices’ on Nov 1st as a part of the MCSP colloquium series.

Dr. Roger Dickenson, (L), Technical Director at Integer Holdings Corp supervised David Moreau (’19), (R), on a successful summer internship project.

For David, working at Integer provided him with a very different type of learning experience compared to academic research. The pace of the work, real-time problem solving, and the different roles he assumed during the internship were exciting and interesting for him. He was involved in testing materials for various properties such as fatigue and hardness.  As his summer work continued, he learned how to do measurements using an optical emission spectrometer, a device that uses light radiation to characterize samples. David then progressed to the task of calibrating of the instrument with an upgraded software using a new alloy system. Additionally, he also received training to implement a new software that controls the operation of a scanning electron microscope (SEM). David is currently continuing his internship work at Integer while attending Fall classes at Roanoke. David is interested in pursuing graduate work in the field of bio-medical engineering after graduation and he views this internship experience as a perfect opportunity to help him enter the field of bio-medical device engineering.

For Dr. Dickenson, mentoring a student like David was a great experience. He was impressed with David’s motivation, dedication and willingness to work on various phases of the project.  He was able to teach David many aspects of materials engineering used in medical device applications. Dr. Dickenson has a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Virginia, and he is a registered professional engineer. He has held various positions with Lake Region (Integer) since 1994 helping to implement many of the capabilities in place in the Salem facility today as well as providing materials engineering support.  He also has worked with many customers on materials development projects including new clad pacing wires, cardiovascular stent alloys, and platinum and palladium alloys.

Dr. Dickenson says he looks forward to mentoring Roanoke students in the future, should new internship project opportunities arise. The proximity of Roanoke College to Integer’s facility in Salem is advantageous for Roanoke students to pursue internships even during the academic year.