Nathaniel Webster, Robotics Intern

Nathaniel Webster ’23, earned a Bachelor in Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Webster chose to study electrical engineering, because he is interested in doing robotics, and electrical engineering is the best pathway to get into the robotics field. In summer 2022, he participated in an internship at ARC Specialties in Houston, TX. ARC Specialties builds large welding robots that are used by oil and natural gas companies.

Initially he worked doing electrical wiring of the machines and control panels. Later, he was given an engineering task of adding a mobile application to the machines. Since the machines are not connected to the internet —for cybersecurity reasons— Webster chose text messaging to cell phones as the way to transmit information from the machines. To achieve this, he connected a modem to the machines, used a custom software that along with human machine interface software and a programmable logic controller allowed data to go out to mobile phones in the form of text messages. The text messages were pre-formatted to include information about the job or what the machine was doing, such as temperature measurements or how much wire the welding machine was using, how it ran in the past day, etc.

The company provided Webster with a good internship experience. He enjoyed the environment and culture and he felt like he was part of a team. What he liked best was “meeting so many talented people and networking with them, but most importantly, getting them to share their knowledge with me,” Webster said. If you are interested in finding an internship, “look at companies in your area and give them a call, even if you don’t know somebody at the company, tell them who you are, what you want to do, what you can offer, most importantly, that you are eager to learn and, more often than not, especially these smaller companies, they’ll be happy to have you.”