It has long been the tradition at Compact Membrane Systems to hire at least one summer intern each year. These fresh-faced college students bring a level of enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge to the company during the summer months.  We have had the good luck of hiring many of our interns as full time engineers upon their graduation for the last 6 years. We love having interns because it gives us a chance to increase our testing capacity and scout rising talent from nearby universities. This year one of our interns was excited by the prospect of writing a short letter that she allowed us to share!


My name is Shannon, and I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a Chemical Engineering Intern at Compact Membrane Systems this summer! I am a rising senior at the University of Delaware studying Chemical Engineering. I have minors in Chemistry and Computer Science, and my favorite parts of chemical engineering include hands-on problem solving, data processing and visualization, and error and sensitivity analyses. My intern project at Compact Membrane Systems was optimizing the performance of hollow-fiber membranes for the separation of olefins from paraffins. I created testing devices called mini modules, or, endearingly, a “mini”. The goal was to achieve a high olefin-paraffin selectivity while maintaining a high flux of the olefin.

Because I was never micro-managed in the lab, I was able to conduct some of my own tests and experiments that I thought may quantify the error in the results.  It was nice to be able to explore my own hunches about sources of error without onlookers saying, “That doesn’t matter” or “This isn’t a part of your project.” I believe it is imperative to quantify sources of error in lab as best as possible, even at the research and development level.

The best part of my intern experience was that I did not feel like an intern most of the time, and I mean that in a good way. After learning how to do everything for my project, I was basically left to my own devices (or modules). Of course, other engineers were always around to help me with the problems I encountered. The upper management even scheduled a weekly meeting with me, as they do with the full-time engineers, to go over my data and to make suggestions on alternative fabrication and testing methods. Lastly, everyone who works here is so accepting and friendly to a new face. One of the things that stood out to me when I first arrived was that everyone, even people who worked on completely different projects or worked on the other side of the building, knew my name by the end of the first week. Thanks, CMS for a great summer!