Undergrad: Willamette University, Salem, OR - Physics
Current Job Title: Manufacturing Manager at Intel
What was your undergraduate institution?
I attended Willamette University
How did you find yourself at Oregon? What about the program attracted you?
The first thing that attracted me was the idea of being done with a master's in one year. Coming out of undergrad, I was undecided on what I wanted to do with my life: teach high school, work for a while - or go for my PhD. This program offered me a way to get exposure to two things I was questioning- working in industry and graduate school. Now, if I do decide to go back for my PhD, I have so much more experience and lab exposure.
What was the intensive summer like for you?
It was intense. My favorite part of the whole experience was the optical projects class at the end of the summer. This project gave me a chance to develop my research and lab skills, and was the main topic brought with me to my interviews. I also appreciated the relationships I developed with other students in my group - who I will have as colleagues for the rest of my career. This relationship building is another thing I carried forward into my interviews, and even my job now. There will always be the lab and machines and computers, but I feel like I learned that a significant part of a successful career is fostering connections with people, even if they (or I for that matter) are kind of nerdy!
Where did you do your internship?
I did my internship at nLight Photonics in Vancouver, WA. nLight builds semiconductor laser products.
Without giving away any proprietary info, what was your internship like? What were you responsible for? What was a typical day like?
I became responsible for part of the developmental engineering behind a new product we have yet to release. This was completely new to me - designing an experiment with a certain product specification role, but the initial experience allowed me to see what went right, what went wrong and apply it to different experiments. I learned to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and leverage the vast amount of knowledge that my colleagues possess.
A typical day begins with reading up on whatever subject I happen to be working on that day, engaging in a couple meetings and then hitting the lab for the rest of the day. Luckily, I have established a number of friendships with coworkers, so we will go out and hit the town of Vancouver hard at lunch, or work out.
Did you feel the program prepared you for the internship? In what ways?There is no way I could have made it through my interviews without this program, and even if I had, I would have been swimming hard without the knowledge base I gained. I also feel more confident about my ability to manage my career.
How did your internship prepare you for your current position/career path?
My time as an intern has been invaluable to my career. I have never learned so much in one year than I did over the 12 months I was in the program. The fact of it is, here at nLight, I have worked hand in hand with some of the most talented people in the photonics industry, and their knowledge/help/advice have helped me finish my projects well and allowed me to contribute to the team in my own way. I would not have a job right now, even with my master’s degree without this internship.