Winnie Liang
Track: Optics
Undergrad: UC Merced, Merced, CA - Physics
Internship: Moxtek
Currently at Moxtek



What about the program intrigued you?
The uniqueness of University of Oregon’s Masters Internship program attracted me to apply. Prior to knowing about this program, I had no clue how would I get myself into industry straight after my undergraduate career. I really liked how this was just a one-year program with the opportunity to interview with various companies. Many jobs I applied to never even got back to me. Therefore, I think having just an opportunity for interviews really made a difference.

What was the summer like for you?
The summer was definitely overwhelming. I, personally, had no experience in an optics lab prior to the program and wasn’t even sure how to mount a post holder onto an optical table. But, as a team, everyone (the students) was quickly learning from each other about various things from homework problems to experiments in the optics lab. Professors didn’t provide much guidance throughout the summer (because they want you to figure it out yourselves), but it really shifted my academic mindset to the industrial mindset where I have to find my own solutions to problems. The internship program during the summer went through a lot of topics without going too deeply into it. This allowed us to know a little bit of everything about optics and was really all we could do in the short period of time we had to work with. But, knowing just a little about a specific topic really helped me when I had to look up information I needed - at least I knew where to start looking.

Where did you go for your internship?
 I moved to Utah after I finished all my required courses and went to Moxtek for my internship.
What sorts of things did you work on?

Moxtek manufactures wire-grid polarizers and beamsplitting polarizers for applications in heads-up displays and head-mounted displays. I am part of the research and development metrology group where I measure the performance of various polarizers based on customer's specifications or for R&D purposes. Sometimes it ranges from designing the setup to documenting it in a technical report. On top of that, I volunteered to help out and learn SEM imaging from the microscopy group. The great thing about this internship was that I got to work on different projects with different people. My manager was very flexible and gave me different projects to choose from and to work on.

Did you feel the program prepared you well for it?
 I think the program didn’t necessarily go over things very specifically related to my work but it definitely prepared me to work with various people and to know where to start to find information I need to do my work. We were thrown into a team setting the first week of labs and had to quickly learn to work with each other. Professors gave a lot less guidance than what I was used to as an undergraduate student but it really made me start searching for information on my own and to start asking fellow classmates. In my internship, if I ever had any questions about anything, my main resources are 1. Optics textbooks 2. The internet and 3. My coworkers.

How did your internship prepare you for where you want to take your career?
Everyone I worked with at Moxtek values my opinion and I was given various projects to work on from the start. I was offered a position at Moxtek in Utah a few months before my internship ended and accepted it. The internship prepared me by training me on using various tools including spectrophotometer, FTIR, SEM, and polarimeter to measure performance of optics products.