Internship guides College of EMS senior toward career in industry

Frances Fiorella
December 13, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jack Eckstein, a senior studying materials science and engineering at Penn State, landed an internship this summer at one of the biggest dental ceramics manufacturers in the world.

Eckstein worked in the research department of Glidewell Laboratories in Irvine, California, which produces dental ceramics and implants both at its headquarters and various international locations.

Eckstein conducted independent research during his internship, developing a project and continuing to work on it throughout the summer. He examined solutions to a problem with chipping at the bottom of crowns where the material is at its thinnest.

He drew on his knowledge of cold sintering from his coursework at Penn State as he worked to increase the hardness of the materials to address the chipping problem.

Using the sintering process, researchers make powder-form materials more compressed and denser using heat and pressure. Cold sintering, a process developed by a team led by Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State, uses a fraction of the temperatures and time of current methods, Eckstein said.

Eckstein said his coursework at Penn State, including studying about the cold sintering process, helped prepare him for the opportunity at Glidewell. 

“I would never have understood what the internship projects were about if I didn’t have a good understanding of thermodynamics and phase diagrams,” he said.

The internship gave Eckstein irreplaceable practical experience. He said he was able to apply what he learned in the classroom and see the theories and concepts come to life through his research.

“When you start to work in a lab setting and you’re working full time every day, it’s a completely different environment,” he said. “You get to learn one thing really well.”

Working for Glidewell helped Eckstein decide the next steps in his career. During summer 2018, Eckstein conducted research at Penn State, and this summer he gained industry experience at Glidewell. He hoped the two experiences would guide him in deciding which career path to pursue after college. Once he finished his internship at Glidewell, he knew he wanted to pursue an industry career.

“My biggest takeaway from these experiences is to always keep learning and never stay stagnant,” Eckstein said.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 13, 2019