DO Welcomes Interns for Summer 2021

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Design Outreach’s summer internship program is in full swing. Qinan Zhou and Nick Carlson, DO’s new interns, are working closely with Principal Engineer Naja Robinson and Project Engineer Daniel Wang on several of our current projects, including building the test stand for a fourth-generation gearbox used in LifePump and designing the handle for autoLifePump, to gain some real-world experience in engineering.

“The Design Outreach Internship Program exists to join inspired young people together to help bring appropriate technology solutions to the most vulnerable people in the world and show God’s love in a tangible way,” stated Rhonda Davis-Comoretto. The hope is that interns will one day join Design Outreach (DO) full time or become dedicated volunteers, helping to advance the mission. The DO team works closely with the interns to set them up for success.

Design Outreach asks its interns to raise support, as do all engineering staff at DO. Although the idea of support raising can be intimidating to interns, they find that the benefits outweigh any drawbacks. At the end of the process, they have a team of people behind them, praying for them. It seals their commitment to the internship, and it gives ample opportunity to see God at work in tangible ways.

Most interns are in the midst of theoretical engineering classes at college, and so they are eager to get their hands dirty with some real-world projects. This summer, the interns are helping build a test stand for the fourth-generation gearbox for LifePump. Design Outreach is always seeking to improve its technology to make it even more dependable and long lasting. The internship also involves designing the handle for autoLifePump. The autoLifePump is a motorized version of LifePump with a backup, manual option for whenever power is not available. The motor allows the pump to provide a higher volume of water in a shorter period of time to serve more people. The manual backup ensures that the community members will have zero days without water.

Qinan Zhou

This year, our interns are Qinan Zhou and Nick Carlson. Zhou hails from Yunnan province in the southwest of China. He is currently a student at Cedarville University, studying mechanical engineering. Zhou got connected to Design Outreach through Michelle Lockwood, who is the mother of one of his good friends. Lockwood is a DO board member and thought Zhou would be a great fit for the internship. He had been looking for an internship where he could try out engineering and confirm his choice of career.

Nick Carlson

“I would like to become a more efficient team member while working with fellow engineers,” said Zhou, “also, to learn how to further God’s kingdom as an engineer.”

Nick Carlson, DO’s other intern, grew up locally in New Albany, Ohio, just outside of Columbus. He knew he was interested in humanitarian engineering, so he decided to major in environmental engineering at The Ohio State University. Carlson heard about DO’s internship program from his good friend Josh Blankenship, who was part of the internship program last year.

At first, Carlson was daunted by the idea of raising support. However, CTO Abe Wright and Principal Engineer Naja Robinson, who have support raised themselves, were very encouraging. Carlson shared that he saw God provide repeatedly, including during a week where he was so busy with midterms that he did not have a chance to meet with potential supporters or even check the status of his support.

When his midterms were over, Carlson was surprised to find out that 10 percent of his support had come in that week alone.

With his interest in humanitarian engineering, Carlson knew Design Outreach would be a good fit for him, as DO is the intersection of work and faith. “I am most excited about the combination of work, but even more foundational, my faith, and wanting to experience what being on a team that combines those two would be like,” stated Carlson.

The application process for next year’s internship program begins in the fall, to allow time for interviews and support raising. If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in the Design Outreach Internship Program, please contact Naja Robinson at

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