As my final year at Cal Poly Pomona approached, I began to seriously consider graduate work. I felt a career in industry would be the best fit: the opportunity to apply what I learned to interesting, novel products. At the same time, I was working in Dr. Salik’s lab, enjoying the research projects utilizing fiber optics and surface plasmon resonance, so I knew I wanted to expand my knowledge and skill set in optics. When I came upon the University of Oregon Industrial Internship Master program, it was as if it had been tailor-made to fit my goals. The graduate physics coursework to expand and refine my knowledge base, the nine-month internship in the optics industry to provide the work experience and starting point for my career, indeed the entire philosophy of the program attracted me.
The program was kick started with an intensive summer quarter of classes and professional development. At the end of it, an interview day with company partners looking for interns, think of it as speed dating for a job. I did my internship with MicroVision, a consumer electronics company in the Seattle area that specializes in laser-based portable projector components. The internship was a great learning experience and the biggest reason why I chose this program. I was able to work on several projects, ranging from an academia-type research experiment with laser diodes to overall image quality assessment of our end product. I continued working for MicroVision as an optical engineer contractor on some of the same projects I did as an intern, but with the ability to get more in depth. By having a nine month training session, I was more knowledgeable about the technology and already had a good rapport with my co-workers. The internship program allowed for an easy transition into the new position.
Since August 2014 I joined Newport-ILX Lightwave in Bozeman, MT as a field service engineer. This has been an exciting position involving technical customer service and the opportunity to travel throughout North America for in-depth training at customer sites. I currently support Photo Voltaic measurement equipment such as solar simulators and quantum efficiency systems to enable the next generation of solar cell research. I feel that this is my small contribution to the important field of renewable energy.
The Bachelor of Science in Physics from Cal Poly Pomona prepared me for the Uniersity of Oregon graduate program and internship by giving me the fluency in optics and the ability to apply my critical thinking skills to novel problems. My undergraduate education enabled me to tackle new topics such as colorimetry and laser physics with the strong foundation of knowledge and research skills I gained in the classroom and the lab.
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Updated February 2016