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Engineering students embark on internships at Los Alamos National Laboratory » Liberty News – liberty.edu

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Engineering students embark on internships at Los Alamos National Laboratory
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July 6, 2022 : By Jacob Couch – Office of Communications & Public Engagement
After finishing their finals in May, two Liberty University School of Engineering students packed their bags and traveled west for internships with Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the world’s leading institutions for science and technology.
Los Alamos is the senior laboratory in the Department of Energy system, working in the areas of national security, science, energy, and environmental management. It was founded during World War II for the design of nuclear weapons.
Sophomore computer engineering student Christa Collins is living on the company’s primary base in Los Alamos, N.M., and is part of the laboratory’s summer internship program called the Super Computer Institute. After three weeks of training, she will spend the last eight weeks of her summer on a designated project team.
Junior Aleck Tilbrook, a mechanical engineering student, is also working at the main site, helping to develop multiphysics software to be used in high performance computing environments.
Junior Nathanael Breed, also studying mechanical engineering, is working at a smaller site, in his home state of Nevada. He is interning with the J-Division (Integrated Weapons Experimentation) at the laboratory’s Nevada National Security site primarily assisting the senior engineers in various projects, including his first assignment with acoustic analysis of high explosives and barriers using advanced instrumentation.
“I am so excited for Los Alamos National Laboratory to hire some of our Liberty University School of Engineering students,” said School of Engineering Dean Mark Horstemeyer. “Los Alamos is the best materials lab in the world, bar none. So, to have our students work there speaks a lot about their respect for our program here at Liberty.”
Collins, originally from North Carolina, first heard about the internship at an engineering career fair at Liberty last year. After consulting with Career Services coach Dave Smith, who advises students in the Schools of Engineering, Business, and Aeronautics and in the information technology, computer science, and cybersecurity programs, she decided to apply. Smith has over 30 years of local and global engineering, sales, and business experience with multi-national organizations.
“Mr. Smith encouraged me to apply for all of the big internships and to go for it and to not hold back,” Collins said.
Career Services connects Liberty students and alumni with career opportunities through impactful coaching, employer connections, and valuable work experiences.
Collins said Liberty gave her the confidence and the skills needed to reach what she calls her dream internship.
“It feels so good to be at a university where everyone wants to see you succeed,” she said. “They really have your best interest at heart, and seeing the love of Jesus through little things like that, through encouragement, it really makes such a huge difference.”
Breed agreed and said the summer internship will benefit him in the future.
“These past weeks have taught me so many incredible lessons that you can’t learn outside of a professional environment,” he said. “I hope to gain valuable relationships which will edify both myself and the other party. Finally, I look forward to gaining a lot of technical experience and knowledge. I’ve only been working a couple of weeks and have learned far more than I had anticipated.”
While he feels the School of Engineering equipped him well for the work, Breed is most grateful for how Liberty has impacted his walk with the Lord.
“While the academics and networking have both been outstanding, I would say that the most beneficial aspect of Liberty’s School of Engineering is the way that faculty and peers have encouraged me in my walk with Christ,” he said. “Without that, I know that I wouldn’t be in the place that I am in today.”
Tilbrook said the School of Engineering positioned him for the internship, teaching him to look through a faith lens while pursuing career aspirations.
“Liberty’s engineering department has taught me and shown me through the mentorship in the department the importance of faith when working within the engineering field,” he said. “Through the education I have received at Liberty, I have truly learned how to implement my career and goals to glorify God.”
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