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Working as an associate for APEX was like going from looking through a microscope to looking through a magnifying glass. For the longest time, all I could see of the world was small portions of the world in only specific jobs that were presented to me. Beginning with taking a tour of our host site and business partner’s facility at Accumold, an injection molding manufacturing company in Ankeny, showed me there was a whole lot I didn’t know, and there was a whole lot more I wanted to learn.

Working with Accumold showed me how different and intriguing the “real” world is, and while, technically, we as associates are supported through the process, I’m grateful for this opportunity and the chance to work with all the clients on projects I have completed so far. If we make mistakes in APEX, it’s is in a supported environment where it the mistake is a learning opportunity, and discussions about solutions are at the forefront. Out there in the “real” world, it becomes increasingly difficult to fix faults.

Currently, I am involved with two long-term projects and took over as project lead for one of them. For one of our projects, our client is the Science Center of Iowa. We were charged to design and build an interactive exhibit for children about wind energy. For this project, we collaborated with the Next Generation Energy class and hoped to work with other APEX sectors to create our final product. The second project, for which I was the project lead, our client was KinoSol. They had created a solar dehydrator which they were sending to places where fresh food was a scarcity and preservation of their food was of utmost importance. We were tasked with improving their domestic unit so that it could be used in the United States. We had to redesign the next iteration to improve efficiency and effectiveness. To do so, we had to do in-depth research about thermodynamics, electricity, convection and materials to use to withstand UV rays, constant abnormal head and was robust enough to bear drops or resist fracture. There has been so much learning in this project, capturing it all is impossible.

Through the APEX program, I have better adapted as a person and learned to communicate and present myself as a person effectively. APEX, simply put, has so much to offer. It is an experience I would recommend without hesitation.