Katie Lachasse

Katie LaChasse

Track: PV/Semiconductor
Undergrad: Willamette University, Salem, OR - Physics
Internship: Thermo Fisher Scientific
Current Job Title: Applications Development Engineer at Thermo Fisher Scientific

I was interested in the semiconductor track of the Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program because I knew I wanted to enter the workforce with jobs related to my physics degree instead of pursuing a PhD. However, I also knew that a bachelor’s degree right out of college wouldn’t lead to many interesting and lucrative jobs. This program offered a path to gain a great job in a short amount of time even with less work experience. I liked the fact that such a large part of the program was hands-on, as there is a significant focus on lab time and an internship where you gain real industry experience. The short time it takes to earn the master’s degree and the paid internship mean that you are entering the workforce in a excellent position and are poised to be making a great salary with a meaningful job quickly.

With this faster pace does come more work during the summer term, but it never feels like busy work. You were constantly learning new things, applying what you learned in the lab, and building stronger relationships with those around you going through the same experience. It also helped that Eugene is such gorgeous place to be!

My internship and current position is an Applications Development Engineer with Thermo Fisher Scientific in Hillsboro, OR. It is a large international company with many different scientific focuses, but my division is specifically related to electron microscopy tools and processes that support customers in the semiconductor industry. My specific group supports customers that want to make samples that go into a TEM. We do this by using wafer dual beam systems (SEM + FIB) to create these samples from the wafers.

My internship was a fantastic experience! I had a great mentor and team who always looked out for me, but I had lots of autonomy and responsibilities that I was entrusted to complete. My internship was very meaningful because I was creating tangible things used by the customers and other people in the company, and a lot of it required applying knowledge I learned in my summer and fall UO courses. Specifically, I was operating our dual beam tools daily to test and improve upon our sample-making process and creating documentation on the process to be used out in the field. I led demos for important feedback from the customers, trained field engineers, and presented our team’s progress and obstacles to management.

I converted from my internship to full-time employment in the same role at Thermo Fisher, so it was a seamless transition to my current job. The work is the same since it is with the same group and the same project, just with a better salary and more responsibility.

Before deciding upon converting my internship to full-time, I did a short period of job searching. The professional network that is created from this program proved to be a huge help. For the jobs that I applied to with no network connection, I heard only rejections or nothing at all. However, I got responses from all the positions I applied to with a connection from UO and had multiple interviews as well. I did not think much about the benefit of the professional network when considering this program, but now I truly realize its importance with my career and it really cements how amazing the Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program is.