Marguerite Kennish uses internship at John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center to train in mechanical engineering

by | Feb 7, 2020 | Products & People

The long road

It is said that the path to our destination is not always a straight one. This rings true for Marguerite Kennish, a former pizza cook and event planner turned mechanical engineer.

Kennish interns at UNH’s John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center. She learned of the Center last year while earning her associate’s in engineering at Great Bay Community College. 

Marguerite Kennish, 24

Position: “The Intern”
Company: UNH John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, Durham
Hometown: Brentwood
Salary: $15/hr
RPG: She loves to play role-playing games, and her current favorite is called “Monster of the Week.”

Her project is with Mohammad Ali Davar Panah, a post-doctoral scholar, and Brad Kinsey, the interim director of the Olson Center, on sheet metal forming for patients requiring trauma fixation. Her work is used to create implants and hypodermic needles.

Kennish performs uni-axial testing on an MTS Landmark 370 machine to create a material profile of the stress and the strain caused by loading a specimen. Finite element analysis programmers then simulate data predicting how the material and product will react with different loads.

“It’s been a lot of fun. [Panah] is a good influence. He always questions me when he wants me to be the most successful – and then it looks like we’re going back to the drawing board!” she said.

Her internship is supported by the National Science Foundation under the INCLUDES initiative (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science), aimed at broadening participation in STEM fields.

The project comes through the NH Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), which sets up work-based learning internships for students transitioning from Community Colleges into UNH.

She has been working with NH BioMade, a $20-million, five-year National Science Foundation-funded biomaterials manufacturing research grant, whose goal is to accelerate the biomedical industry in New Hampshire.

“I’m not trying to plan too far ahead, just taking it one day at a time,” she said of her career path.

Kennish’s caution is well-founded: she already has culinary and management degrees from Lakes Region Community College as well as experience in the service industry.

She said the pace of research is better for her than a bustling restaurant.

“At the Olson Center, you come in with a list of problems that you want to solve, but something always comes up and forces you to slow down as you find new problems to solve,” said Kennish.