Track: Polymer Science
Undergrad: Willamette University - Chemistry
Internship: Los Alamos National Lab
Current Job Title: Research Technologist at Los Alamos National Lab
I graduated from Willamette University in 2016. I was coming out of college so burnt out from working full-time the entire time I was in school that I wasn't even thinking about a career post-graduation. I became interested in the program when Lynde visited my campus and discussed how it provides a huge stepping stone into a career. After being admitted, I felt as though the summer program was a breath of fresh air. It was the first time I was able to actually focus solely on my education (they advise you not to take a job...) and I felt as though I was in an environment to succeed. I was initially interested in an opportunity with a national lab. I made it my goal to connect with the representatives from Los Alamos National Lab whenever the opportunity presented itself so that they knew me by name when it came to the interviews.
I received an offer from LANL and began working for them in January 2016 and have been with them ever since. LANL is unique in that it is a government funded institution and doesn’t rely on capital growth for success. Because of this, LANL has contributed to a lot of impactful knowledge on subjects such as HIV/Aids vaccines, the development of ultrasound-CT, and the development of renewable energies. LANL is also a primary contributor to understanding the safety, stability, and promotion of the nonproliferation of nuclear technology. The work I do almost directly mirrors the curriculum of the master’s program. In addition to going in with all of the technical knowledge, I truly felt forged in brimstone after the partner project aspect of the summer. During the last three weeks of the program we were tasked with several projects from partner companies. As project manager I learned a lot about prioritizing project goals based on constant communication about progress, morale, and technical barriers. My position at the laboratory is in a constant state of evolution, the retiring of a workforce (boomers...) requires me to be willing to constantly learn new things to support people around me. I enjoy being a person who is willing to put in the work and knowledge to support others and make strides in understanding materials or projects.
My advice to students looking to be successful is to have set goals. I’ve always set my mind on something and then work my hardest to manifest it for myself. I also think caring for yourself is extremely important. I love my job, but I value my life outside of my career just as much. I also advocate for expressing wanting more for yourself, whether that be more of a challenge, pay, or both! And last but not least, do something weird-- after being born and raised in Oregon and spending my entire life there, did I think I would live in Santa Fe, NM? Absolutely not. The transition to a career has allowed me to spend time on myself and my relationships in a way I was never able to while working full time and balancing a full school load.