An Internship’s Impact

ACE Program Success Stories

Mama Salla works inside a CNC machine during an Alamance Community College bootcamp.
Mama Salla works inside a CNC machine during an ACE bootcamp.

Jan. 24, 2024 – Imagine going from no experience in CNC machining to working on a project that will impact manufacturing students around the country. 

Although that may not have been her original intent, America’s Cutting Edge alumna Mama Salla began laying the groundwork the moment she landed a summer 2023 internship with industrial supply company MSC

Salla locked down the internship after completing the ACE machine tool program in North Carolina. She describes herself as someone interested in building things. This was her first chance to envision building really big things with a CNC machine. 

“Let’s say, a plane,” said Salla, North Carolina A&T State University senior. “How cool would it be to be like, ‘I made that part for the plane?’ I like the little bits and pieces because they make up the big piece.” 

Like other machine tool bootcamp participants, Salla spent five days getting hands-on experience after completing the online course. 

“It set me up for success,” said Salla. 

Her ACE experience grew into something larger as she worked to become one of the teaching assistants for future bootcamps. Simultaneously, she dived into the MSC internship. 

Mama Salla works alongside ACE instructor Jose Nazario.
Salla works alongside ACE instructor Jose Nazario.

Salla’s work revolved around developing a toolkit for America’s Cutting Edge, a one-stop-shop for all the components needed for ACE bootcamps. It’s a resource that could make implementing ACE far easier. 

“That will become part of the ACE program as schools start to get their new toolkits,” said Michael Gomez, principal research and development engineer for MSC. 

“The toolkit contains a variety of tools necessary for machining and assembling components to build the ACE air engine,” he added. “Thanks to Mama’s efforts, the toolkit is a cost-effective option that will ensure machining and assembly of the air engine components during the ACE training program is more efficient.” 

Creating the toolkit helped Salla build on the knowledge she acquired with ACE. 

“I learned a lot,” said Salla. “There’s more to machining than machining the part.” 

JaCynthia Little, DEI director for MSC, says this is exactly the result they hope for as interns work with them. 

“Our early career program drives both personal and professional growth in an inclusive environment and prepares future leaders for a successful career,” said Little. “Having students like Salla allows us to gain new perspectives and innovative ideas in solving our customers’ most mission-critical challenges.” 

Bootcamp participants and trainers pose for a group photo.
It’s all smiles as bootcamp trainers and participants pose for a photo.

Gomez worked with Salla during her internship as her mentor. He had opportunities to work with her one on one and says it’s exciting to see the fruits of her labor. 

“Her having the ACE experience and leveraging the things she learned there into her internship at MSC is extremely rewarding,” he said. “I think it’s a nice testament to the ACE program.” 

“It takes a lot for somebody to give you a chance,” said Salla. “If I went anywhere else for my internship, it wouldn’t have ended up like this.” 

As for where Salla heads to next, that’s still to be determined, but MSC is leaving a door open. 

“She can always work for MSC,” said Gomez. 

For more information about the toolkit, contact MSC via email at 

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