Professionals across business fields agree that internships are a necessity for viable placement in the workforce, and LSU engineers don’t shy from opportunity. This summer, a few of the college’s best and brightest were found across the nation and around the globe researching, discovering and creating.
“My past two internships were with GE Oil & Gas and CARBO Ceramics. An internship on a stimulation vessel, in my mind, seemed like the logical next step,” said senior Jane Olson. “It supplemented what I had learned from the previous internships and offered a great learning experience.”
Olson, mechanical engineering major, spent her summer as an engineering intern for StimWell Services where she took on various responsibilities. She was stationed in the North Sea, gaining operational experience while working on a stimulation vessel. Olson also spent some time there as a lab technician.
“My first few days were a little rough,” she recalled. “Everyone on the boat kept asking me, ‘So, Jane, do you get sea sick?’ I had no idea, so I always replied, ‘I don’t know, I guess we’ll find out!’ I found out.”
After two days of feeling dizzy, Olson got to work and began familiarizing herself with the lab procedures and started testing fluids.
“Some fields drilled and completed in the North Sea need to be hydraulically stimulated or fractured in order for the wells to produce at commercial rates,” she said. “ Because offshore platforms and infrastructures can cost up to billions of dollars, stimulation vessels a practical measure to economically maximize production out the few wells that are drilled from these platforms.”
Students agree that internships are not only helpful in discovering things about their respective fields, but also aid in discovering more about themselves in the work environment.
“I love to be hands-on and work in a team environment,” Olson said. “I think I’ll be leaning towards oil and gas when I start applying for jobs in the fall. I learned more about the fracking process and was able to witness firsthand what it takes to work offshore.”
Alexandra Willis, a computer science senior and president of Women in Computer Science, previously held an internship at Dash Studios in Baton Rouge. She is currently working as a software engineering intern for Electronic Arts (EA) Capital Games East in Austin, Texas. She learned of the internship through a recruiting event held here on campus, hosted by EA.
“On the second day, I was handed a NERF gun and was told that I’d have to ‘defend myself from Quality Assurance,’” Willis said with a laugh.
Interning at a larger gaming company helped Willis gain insight into her initial concerns about the preservation of company culture, and how it would differ with the size of the company. There were changes that she anticipated, she said, but through her internship she learned that the size of a company doesn’t matter.
“I assumed that you’d have more creative autonomy at a larger company, but it really just differs from publisher to publisher,” Willis said. “It has more to do with how the money works, not the size or culture of the company.”
Willis, whose interest in computer science began in high school, said she has always seen programming and design as “a tool for artistic expression.” As a software engineering intern, Willis’ work is similar to a standard employee.
“The first few days were getting ramped up with what the studio has currently going on, how everything works and general bug fixes,” Willis explained. “You get one big project for the summer, like underwriting a tool that will be later used by an engineer to build an app.”
By the end of her internship, she hopes to find out if she plans to continue on the path of working within larger studios and will continue to learn as much as she can on the big publisher level.
Craig Richard, a biological engineering senior, spent his summer as a researcher at the CEA in Grenoble, France.
“There was somewhat of a language barrier, at first, although everyone in my lab can speak English,” Richard said. “I had to learn where everything was located, as well as the procedures of the lab and of CEA.”
The CEA is the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). It is akin to a network of national labs located around France that conducts research in various areas including nuclear, defense, micro/nano technology and basic research.
“There were several trainings that I was required to attend, including nanoparticle safety training, as my project required me to work with them,” he said. “Most of the protocols that I needed were in English, and if not I just translated them.”
The research that Richard participated in sought to understand the roles that nanoparticle morphology, orientation, mass, and distance from the sensing surface have on the signal enhancement from Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) based DNA biochips.
“It is known that the addition of metal nanoparticles to Surface Plasmon Resonance biosensors can increase the signal received from them, but the exact mechanisms behind the phenomenon is not well understood,” said Richard.
At most, Richard said he hopes to gain publication from his studies and research at the CEA. He also hopes to gain knowledge and skills that will be applicable later in his scientific career, as well as valuable networking experiences.
“I will still pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, but I am now entertaining the possibility of doing a post-doctoral program at the CEA,” Richard said. “The potential of the technology being developed and utilized in my lab has numerous real world applications, and the fact that several start-ups have come out of the lab I’m working in speaks volumes to this.”
For more information, contact M.B. Humphrey at 225-578-5660, or at email@example.com.