Life After My LIFT Internship

Lisa Schalm, senior at Wayne State University majoring in chemical engineering and the first LIFT intern

LIFT launched its internship program in 2017 and brought its first intern on board for the Spring Semester 2018. Initially working with Wayne State University in Detroit and the University in Michigan, LIFT interns were scheduled to work up to 25 hours per week for 16 weeks for a hands-on research experience at the LIFT lightweighting research and development facility.

Lisa Schalm, a Michigan native and senior at Wayne State University majoring in chemical engineering, was the first LIFT intern and completed her work with the institute in May.

Being an intern at LIFT afforded me the chance to engage in engineering projects and learn about cutting edge technology related to the lightweight industry.

My primary project of establishing LIFT’s capability as a metal testing facility allowed me to directly contribute to LIFT’s business. It was satisfying to know that the work I was performing would be impactful.

To perform this task successfully, I worked closely with the staff at LIFT to learn material science, thermo-mechanical engineering principles, and business etiquette. Under the guidance of Dr. Dennis Harwig, I was able to hone my skill in performing literature searches and establish a working knowledge of material science.

I worked directly with LIFT’s engineers to utilize the equipment in the LIFT High Bay to engage in a variety of manufacturing processes and complete my project. I had the opportunity to work directly with Constellium to conduct some formability tests using the LIFT forming presses, and I also was able to spend time with Optimal, LLC to study various energy conservation technologies and learn how computational software is used in the development of lightweight vehicles.

I learned the art of public communication and building business relationships by working alongside individuals from LIFT’s member companies. I was also educated in the rapidly-advancing field of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and taught to use computational software.

In addition to tasks related to science and engineering, I was introduced to various business aspects including: marketing, advertising, finances, and associations with the U.S. government.

Being exposed to these subjects provided me with a valuable, well-rounded experience that formed me into a more versatile individual. What made the experience truly rewarding was working with the dynamic staff who guided me through my assignments. They were always glad to provide me with assistance, welcome my questions, and introduce me to the activities performed in their occupations.

I thank everyone at LIFT who contributed to the success of my internship and I look forward to the great things that will emerge from this organization.

– Lisa Schalm

LIFT is expanding its internship program in the Fall of 2018. Those LIFT member companies interested in supporting the program can contact us at