Women in STEM IACMI Intern Kylie Van Aken Vartega

Kylie now works on behalf of Vartega as a mechanical engineer.

February 21, 2019

Kylie Van Aken’s fascination with the efficiency of composites began with a sustainable materials course at her alma mater, the University of Denver. She recognized the basics of composites material versatility by interacting, first hand, with composites-made rowing shells, riggers, and oars on the rowing team. Former IACMI intern and recent Mechanical Engineering graduate, Kylie is now a mechanical engineer for Vartega in Golden, Colorado. Led by her passion to reduce waste, Kylie joined the IACMI internship program following her graduation in June of 2018. IACMI is proud to have partnered with Vartega to facilitate Kylie’s professional career and contribution to the advancement of composites industry sustainability.

As a member of the IACMI Intern Class of 2018, Kylie began her composites research with reprocessed carbon fiber leader, Vartega. Her initial, ten-week project focused on post-process testing of carbon fiber efficiency. Upon the completion of her internship, Vartega invested in Kylie, offering her a full-time position to further optimize the characterization of carbon fiber in its recycling process. Kylie is proud to be a part of sustainability and apply her skills to repurpose materials that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill.

Kylie’s advice to those who are interested in composites is to find what makes you excited and to reach out to an expert to learn more about what they do. She reached out to her mentor, Alice Havill, for a cup of coffee and industry insight, introducing her to The Composites Institute. “IACMI and Vartega opened so many doors for me, allowing me to become a project leader, attend industry events, offer client-facing solutions, and present my work. I’m confident in my impact on the composites industry in a global capacity,” Kylie said. Her internship gave her knowledge of the full life-cycle of composites while strengthening her report writing, networking, and presentation skills.

This summer, Kylie will be taking a sabbatical to make an international impact with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone.

IACMI Workforce Manager Joannie Harmon Heath said, “IACMI is excited to see the continued impact Kylie’s work will have on sustainability and innovation of composites. On days like Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day), we are that much more proud to help young women navigate professional careers in composites through the IACMI internship program.”

To learn more about the IACMI internship program, click here.

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