Undergrad: Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA - Physics
Internship: Polaris Battery Labs
Current Job Title: Component Testing Project Engineer at TerraPower LLC
I found the Graduate Internship Program while studying physics as an undergraduate. I was motivated to join the program because I enjoyed working in the laboratory, and wanted to find a path toward a career in scientific industry. My interest was in the semiconductors track since semiconductor technologies have become ubiquitous in modern society. Not only was I looking to continue my academic studies, I knew that I needed to build the skills necessary for navigating in industry.
After the quick transition into the program's summer classes, I found myself in Eugene surrounded by fresh faces eager to learn. Collaboration is essential in any pursuit, but as we found ourselves solving complex problems in the solid state physics of semiconductors, or modifying our processing steps in the lab, it was critical that we function as a team. Not just as small groups, but as a cohort. Our professional development sessions pushed us to sharpen our skills in resume writing, interviewing, networking, and improvisation among other techniques. We practiced building these skills with group exercises and guidance from experts. The best part about the summer for me was making new friends and working with them to build solar cells and MOSFET transistors from the ground up in the lab. The people are ultimately what make an experience special for me, and this was very true when it came to the directors, instructors, and my peers in the program. The summer ended by building lasting connections with a bright group people whom I had the pleasure of learning from and working with.
The interview event came quickly, and we found ourselves marketing our skills to forge our new paths into industry. The interviews were incredibly valuable to me for networking and for experience I can apply to future interviewing. I was happy to have received a call from Polaris Battery Labs for a follow up interview and ultimately an internship. There, I worked with an amazing group of people who develop research grade lithium ion battery technologies that help companies take their ideas to market. I was a part of a tight knit team, and built skills by working in the laboratory every day alongside highly driven people. My role was to build, test, and advance our batteries. Every day brought the challenges of new builds, data, and opportunities to expand our processes. As the internship flew by, I realized I had started this program with aspirations to find myself working on projects that impacted people’s lives and that I had accomplished that goal.
After my time at Polaris, I took a position at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory building and testing scientific instrumentation. I work on projects that address global issues every day. Much of my work had been in supporting TerraPower, a company that is developing a Generation IV sodium-cooled fast neutron nuclear reactor. My prior laboratory experience comes into play constantly as I find myself working with a variety of instruments, wiring, programming, designing experiments, building test apparatuses, and interpreting data. The communications skills practiced during the summer classes and internship have been crucial in working with the team to solve complex problems. I am very excited to continue playing a part in innovation, and am grateful to have had the opportunity of learning such valuable skills through the Graduate Internship Program.
I recently took a position at TerraPower, where I am currently a Component Testing Project Engineer.