Chemical engineering major spends 12 weeks at top tech company

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On the day Apple revealed its latest products, Abby Koczera ‘17 might have been feeling a bit nostalgic about her summer despite being in the midst of a busy fall semester.

That is because Koczera, a chemical engineering major, participated in a 12-week paid internship on a manufacturing design engineering team at Apple, one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

It was a rewarding experience for Koczera on many levels.

UNH student Abby Koczera ‘17 outside Apple
Abby Koczera ‘17 spent 12 weeks as a paid intern at Apple.

“My summer was full of professional networking opportunities,” says Koczera, who served as a subject matter expert for Apple. “All interns are treated as employees with similar tasks and job responsibilities. This experience has made me eager to finish my degree and start my career.”

Koczera’s team at Apple conducted experiments aimed at improving the surface finishing and aluminum anodizing process on hardware casing for Apple products. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into the decorative, durable and corrosion-resistant finish seen on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple computers and watches.

As an intern, Koczera designed and led projects from the research and development phase through execution and analysis, facilitated quality testing and presented conclusions to executives and supporting teams. She also interacted with vendors to evaluate instruments and products and received sponsored training on aluminum finishing offered by the National Association for Surface Finishing.

Despite challenging work, Koczera was able to get a 360-degree experience of life in California with her fellow interns that included trips to Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe and the opportunity to scuba dive with sea lions in Monterey Bay.

“I valued my time at work and after hours,” she says. “I traveled to different places every weekend and met many people from different cultures and backgrounds that exposed me to a plethora of perspectives.”

Like her experience at Apple, Koczera has immersed herself in endeavors at UNH. She is a member of her college’s STEMbassadors program and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and is the former president of the UNH Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

After meeting with Apple as a sophomore, Koczera actively sought opportunities to bolster her résumé by serving as an undergraduate researcher in professor Dale Barkey’s electrochemistry laboratory and then as an engineering intern at Lonza Biologics in 2015.

The efforts paid off when she learned last November she had been selected to intern at Apple.

“I believe that the research I conducted in professor Barkey’s lab was the foundation for my selection,” says Koczera. “I also found myself using skills obtained from classes I took at UNH.”

Koczera now has her sights set on a successful senior year, graduation and then a career in materials science and engineering. She plans to attain her master’s degree while working in the industry.

Koczera’s advice for students: It is never too early to start thinking about internships. 

“Get exposure to as many things as possible,” she says. “Have a good attitude, and be excited to tackle problems.”

Think you might want to study engineering at UNH? Schedule a tour or come to UNH's fall Open House event on Sept. 24. Register here.


  • Written By:

    Brooks Payette | College of Engineering and Physical Sciences