Robotics Student Earns Gold Medals and Dynamic Internship
Alex Kristeller '23 is a two-time championship winning weight thrower but his achievements don’t end there. He’s building on his robotics education and internship to pursue an MBA and become a leader in the field.
- School of Engineering
Widener students often wear many hats. Alex Kristeller '23 is no exception.
When the senior engineering student isn’t in class or the lab earning a robotics degree, he’s in the weight room or on the track training with his track and field teammates.
He recently added an impressive internship at the national manufacturing company Comar to his resume. The experience, secured in partnership with Widener’s Career Design & Development office, gave Alex an introduction to sophisticated automation software used by professionals across the industry.
Throughout his internship, Alex understood how his Widener education has prepared him to succeed as an intern and in any professional setting.
When I got to Comar I had no idea how to do any of this stuff. That’s where Widener prepared me best because I felt confident that even if I didn’t’ know how to do something I knew how to overcome the challenge." —Alex Kristeller '24
Ahead of his senior year, Alex landed a summer internship with Comar, a healthcare plastic packaging, device and component supplier that develops high-impact packaging and medical solutions. His responsibilities primarily included identifying coding errors that were responsible for disruptions to a specific automated assembly line.
“In any automated process there’s going to be inefficiencies, different problems,” said Alex, who explained that his role was to “communicate with the manufacturers and Comar to make sure that I was cleared to go in and make edits to make systems better.”
Understanding the complex automation software was critical to this role so Alex leveraged the diverse set of tools and knowledge from his robotics engineering program to succeed.
One thing that Widener did so well was teach me how to adapt to different programming languages and user systems. I definitely was prepared to take on that challenge.”
The hands-on experience using advanced, industry-wide software, like Allen-Bradley, has given Alex the confidence and resume credentials to thrive in any workplace.
“It’s a really big software and I got a lot of experience with it so I’m confident that I can go to just about any Allen-Bradley controller at any plant and be able to plug in to it to see what’s going on and diagnose problems.”
Outside of his internship, Alex is a weight thrower for the varsity track and field team. As an engineering major, Alex approaches the sport in a calculated way that gives a competitive edge.
"I enjoy weight throwing because of how technical it is because essentially it’s whoever can utilize physics the best wins.”
That advantage, along with hard work and dedication, led Alex to win the weight throw competition at the 2022 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. The title made him the first Widener field athlete to win a national title in indoor track and field. A year later, Alex was once again in the national spotlight for placing second in 2023 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Supportive coaches and an incredible team have made it easy for Alex to balance the demanding schedule and responsibilities of a varsity student-athlete.
“The entire team is set up in manner where nothing is going to hinder you from being as good as you want to be,” Alex said.
Pursuing a higher degree has been on Alex’s radar since day one at Widener. The natural path, he presumed, would be to continue in the engineering program.
But time on the job encountering the natural hurdles that play out day-to-day, particularly related to project manager, motivated Alex to pursue an MBA.
“I applied to earn my MBA so that I can learn more about the project management side of the industry,” said Alex.
As his on-site manager suggested, pairing an MBA with an engineering undergraduate degree will make Alex an ideal job candidate for prospective employers.
“After talking to my boss, he strongly recommended that I pursue an MBA rather than a masters in engineering because of the versality that comes with it.”