Undergrad: University of Oregon, Eugene, OR - Physics
Internship: FEI (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Current Job Title: Sr. Development Engineer, Edwards Vacuum
I was introduced to the Master’s Internship Program early in my undergraduate degree so I knew it was an option for postgraduate study. I didn’t decide to go with the program right away – I took a year off to do volunteer work, teach science at a high school, and start a family. Long term I knew that my priorities meant that I needed a solid, reliable job that I could pursue my passions while doing, and I picked the Master’s Program because it let me frontload schooling, and move immediately into my career. Due to my early exposure to the program, I also knew that through the program I would have a community behind me for the rest of my career, making moving into new roles and better jobs much easier.
I will be honest, that first summer was very difficult for me, I did it with a new-born which I wouldn’t recommend. We had class every day which didn’t leave much time outside of class to study and it was hard to feel ‘caught up’. The labs were difficult and open ended, however now that I work in an industrial lab I see how much guidance we were given! My first 2 years out of the classroom I worked with FEI in their Advanced Technology group. This evolved into a small-project position. Once the small project was done I used the program's network to find a new position that led me to Sr. Development Engineer at Edwards Vacuum in their new Innovation Group. Some of my jobs have been more ‘semiconductor’ than others, however all have been in the support of the semiconductor industry.
The program's classes didn’t provide me with all the technical knowledge for my future work, but it did help me formalize my approach to the professional sphere. The program’s emphasis on Grit, Professionalism and Networking have enabled me to move forward quickly in my career, and opened opportunities that I would not have expected. There was also a support network while in my Internship so I never felt adrift. One of my biggest reservations about the Master’s Program was that I would be stuck in a career that didn't have the opportunity to write academic articles and do research. However I’ve successfully leveraged my internship experience into a career in industrial research.
Today I work in ‘Innovation’ which is a branch of R&D. I read scientific articles, I write test plans, and mostly I develop new technologies to be used in my industrial sphere, semiconductor abatement. I am happy with where my career is headed. I feel like I am able to accomplish my professional and personal goals - something that is hard to balance. If I were able to choose to re-do my graduate education I would choose this program and the semiconductor again.