As the dog days of summer blend into the start of another school year at the University of Connecticut, one student will have quite the story to tell to his friends.
"I'll be like, 'Well, I worked at one of the greatest engine builders in the world. And I work on the cutting edge of the additive manufacturing field,'" said Anthony Pizzola, a mechanical engineering junior at UConn.
All good things to add to Pizzola's resume, who's been fascinated with flight ever since his childhood adrenaline rush of witnessing pure awesomeness.
"I got to see an F-22 fly, and I thought that was the amazing thing," Pizzola said. "I saw an F-22 streak across the sky. All you hear is everything else come after it. It was going faster than Mach one!"
But the Pratt & Whitney intern should also get a rush realizing what he accomplished this summer. Working alongside respected Pratt & Whitney engineers Chris O'Neill and Jesse Boyer, a Pratt & Whitney fellow, Pizzola has been working on a patent.
"It's quite an opportunity afforded to him," said O'Neill, staff manufacturing engineer, Additive Manufacturing. "He gets to go out here and see the real world, see how things work. Get along with a lot of different people. Really it's my role to expose him to enough different technologies, different scenarios and different people."
Not much can be shared about the patent right now for obvious reasons – it's a work in progress and protected information. But what can be said is that it's a device that will simulate some aspects of additive manufacturing. Plus, Pizzola gets a bit of a rush from knowing a company secret.
"One of the coolest parts of the job is getting to deal with these things. It is tough not to be able to tell anyone," Pizzola said.
"What we do is to try to avoid the mundane tasks that interns typically get. So we try to get them things that are fun to do and exciting. We need value from our interns," Boyer said.
Some believe college are the best years of a young person's life. And why wouldn't they be? Especially when you get to work - and create things – here.
"I definitely am inspired," Pizzola said. "The fact that I've got this opportunity and everything is going the way it's going, it drives me to do better things, greater things and to contribute more."