Student Hired for Aerospace Firm's Selective Internship Program

Published 05.22.2007

Student News
Polymer Engineering

Matthew L. GrossA student at Pennsylvania College of Technology has been chosen as a materials research engineer intern for Summer 2007 at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Matthew L. Gross, of Dover, is the only college student in America to be hired for the position "materials intern 1," which is available to students between their sophomore and junior years.

Gross is pursuing a bachelor's degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology at Penn College. He will work at the Fortune 500 company's national headquarters in Boulder, Colo., where he will work on testing, analysis, characterization and development of materials.

Ball Aerospace provides advanced imaging, communications and information systems and is one of NASA's largest contractors. It also provides contracting services for the U.S. military and commercial ventures internationally.

The company's materials team, of which Gross will be a part, researches and designs the materials behind such projects as the military's F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mars Exploration Rover and Deep Impact (a comet probe), all of which include Ball components.

Gross is a 2007 honoree for the Society of Plastics Engineers Sigma Pi Epsilon National Honor Society, maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and graduated with highest honors with an associate degree in plastics and polymer technology from Penn College.

He is a research assistant at the college's Plastics Manufacturing Center, which offers consultation and assistance for plastics companies nationwide; a Pennsylvania Plastics Mobile Lab ambassador, conducting high school classroom visits and demonstrating plastics processing concepts to high school students; and he earned third place in the 2007 Quad College and University Business Plan Challenge.

He received the Carrie Fox Solin Memorial Scholarship for 2006-07 from the Society of Plastics Engineers blow molding division and was named 2007-08 recipient of the James MacKenzie Memorial Scholarship from the society's thermoset division.

He is founder and first president of the college's Outdoor Adventure Club, was a member of the Penn State Cycling team and plays on the Ultimate Frisbee and indoor soccer teams.

To earn his internship with Ball Aerospace, Gross had to meet initial requirements of grade-point average, field of study, activities and experience. Much of this stage was completed online, filtered by a computer system that automatically dismisses applications that do not meet upfront requirements. This was followed by phone interviews, a background check and various tests.

"I believe Ball hired me based on my scholastic ability and prior related experiences, as well as personality and character traits," Gross said. "Ball takes pride in its workers' beliefs and values. I will fit in with their corporate environment very well because of my nonwork-related activities and passions. Ball has a unique vision in that they are located in a primary place for outdoor enthusiasts and people who generally love Mother Nature."

Gross said Ball, located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, will provide him with not only a competitive salary, but also relocation reimbursement and housing for the summer. It also offers weekend programs for its interns that include camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting and national-park visits. Such activities are similar to those Gross has helped organize for Penn College's students.

As part of the practical-learning experience, interns present completed projects to managers, co-workers and other students at the end of their session. The interns also have opportunities to meet with managers throughout the summer.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Penn College, call (570) 327-4520 or visit online.