Electrical engineering sophomore lands prestigious internship
Feeling deflated after he was declined a summer internship for which he thought he would be a shoe-in, junior electrical engineering major Jeff Piersol was set to lower his expectations. But his research mentor, assistant professor Jae Kwon, suggested that he apply to the national labs.
“I am interested in doing something this summer that is related to my work, so I applied for six different internships at Sandia National Lab in a bunch of different disciplines,” said Piersol, though he did so with a certain amount of skepticism.
Fully four of them responded favorably with interview requests. As he was leaving for class a few days later, he noticed an e-mail from Sandia. “Wow! I just kind of looked at it,” said Piersol. “I called my dad on the way to class.”
This summer, Piersol will be working in Sandia’s Mixed-Signal ASIC/SoC Products and the Advanced Microelectronics Departments.
Piersol doesn’t yet know the entire scope of his internship duties. “It’s fairly broad,” he said. “I’ll be building circuits for custom applications, and within the group, I’ll be looking over circuit designs and verifying them. I may possibly be writing software, automating what they are doing.
“The manager of the department and two engineers talked with me,” added Piersol. One of them is working with quantum computing. I hope I get to see what he’s working on.”
Piersol has worked at characterizing thin zinc oxide films in Kwon’s lab, and this semester he is doing Monte Carlo N-Particle (NCNP) simulations – electronic nuclear reaction simulations.
“Dr. Kwon has really helped me in a lot of ways,” said Piersol. “I’m heavily leaning toward grad school and I’m hoping that my work this summer will help me with that decision. I want to find out just what’s out there, what’s hot and what I might want to pursue long term.”
But it won’t be all work and no play. “I have friends out there, and it’s close to Santa Fe, which I’ve heard is really beautiful,” Piersol said.