David Logan

David Logan

David Logan

Track: Optics
Undergrad: Oregon Tech, Klamath Falls, OR - Electronics Engineering Technology
Internship: FEI
Current Job Title: Systems/Product Engineer at nLIGHT

The director came to my school and gave a presentation on the Master’s Industrial Internship program. I chose this program because it was similar to how I had entered into a previous career. Right out of high school I entered an electrical apprenticeship program. I worked during the day and received electrical theory classes in the evening. I really liked the mix of theory and hands-on work with my electrical apprenticeship program and felt like the UO master’s program would give me a similar result - a challenging enjoyable career and the confidence to succeed in it.

The program started right after I graduated from the Oregon Institute of Technology (the following week?). I was married with two small children and we stayed in university housing a few blocks from campus. The first few days of the program were focused around professional development: resume building, interviewing techniques/practice, presentation skills. This aspect, along with the networking advice has been very useful to me and I am very appreciative of it.

The classes were intense. All day was spent in lecture and laboratories, and all evening was spent doing homework assignments and studying. The professors were knowledgeable and helpful. Some of the subjects were review for me, and some of them were very challenging. My bachelor’s degree was in electronics engineering with an emphasis in optoelectronics. Based on my undergrad experience I felt more than prepared for the hands-on laboratory work, but needed to spend extra effort on the theoretical instruction. The last two or three weeks of the program were spent on a capstone-like project that was interesting and challenging. At the end of the summer the program directors lined up interviews for internships.

This was in 2009 and the economy was still accelerating downward at a rapid pace and there was a lot of uncertainty. My optics group of five people interviewed at three companies—one in Eugene and two in Portland. The interviews were nerve wracking at first, but with experience they became easier. They were typically 15-30 mins with a group of two to four technical/manager types that would ask technical questions to try and determine our level of knowledge and/or background. I felt the program had prepared me very well to create resumes and interview. Within the next month I had received offers from all three companies and accepted one near Portland. I moved to Portland and started taking a fall class at PSU towards satisfying the remaining credit hours for the master’s degree.

The offer I accepted was at FEI (now Thermo Fisher Scientific), located in Hillsboro, Oregon. They are a leading manufacturer of electron microscopes and focused ion beam microscopes.  The technology they have was unlike anything I had previously been exposed to and I had so much fun it was hard to believe they would pay me for being there.

I worked on proof-of-concept ideas.  I was given general instruction and goals, and then left alone to work. When I had questions my colleagues were helpful, knowledgeable, and collaborative. I was trained on computer simulation software and used it to understand experimental results. My daily routine consisted of designing experiments, either alone or with a small group, then building the experiment and executing it. I would then analyze the results and prepare a presentation to share with my group. I developed new technology on my own and with others. I also organized the laboratory, specified and ordered equipment, and researched technical papers related to the field. During my second year I was published. I spent one year as an intern and a following year as a contractor. The company was on a hiring freeze at the time, so I began to look for other opportunities.

I sent resumes around with not much results—I still blame the economy. So I called the program director at the UO and asked for help. Within a few days I had an in-person interview at a company that previously ignored my online submitted resume.  Within a few weeks I started a job there, where I remained until recently returning to Thermo Fisher.

Since finishing the UO master’s program I have worked in product development, process development/engineering, product engineering, and scientist positions. While I didn’t study focused ion beam microscopes at the University of Oregon, every day I use the training and knowledge I received there to approach a problem and work diligently, either alone or with others to solve that problem.  I am happy to work in a field where I am continually challenged by new problems and where my contributions matter.