Alumni Stories: Shane Reed, '20 | Los Alamos National Labs


Shane Reed
Los Alamos National Laboratory | Industrial Engineer
Industrial and Systems Engineering, '20

How did you secure your position at LANL? What was your job search process like and were there any specific resources you found useful during your search?

I secured my position at LANL over a 3  - 4 month timespan. As with most companies, I went through a formal application process of submitting my resume, writing a cover letter, and then answering a few preliminary questions. I started this at the beginning of the spring 2020 semester. I then went through multiple rounds of interviews with different managers and hiring committees, followed by a few background checks and other administrative tasks. After all this was completed, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer for a position as a Research and Development Engineer, which I accepted in April 2020.

Looking back, the resume workshops, mock interviews, and other career development opportunities I attended while I was a student prepared me for the job search process and ultimately helped me present myself in a way that made me stand out as a candidate.

What were you looking for in your job search and how did you confirm the decision to accept an offer with LANL?

I was looking for two key traits when considering any opportunity:

  1. Unique and challenging work
  2. Work that would be meaningful and make an impact

LANL check both boxes for me. Working in the nuclear weapons industry is obviously not only interesting and unique, but also frequently presents new challenges that make me grow as both an engineer and a person. I get to see and work on processes that are on the cutting edge of scientific innovation, which makes every day interesting and engaging. Additionally, I love that I get to work at a place where I protect the national security of my country. It is one of the few places where I can use my engineering aptitude and skills to make a meaningful impact in protecting others.

What kinds of experiences in college helped you prepare for your full-time position? How so?

One of the most beneficial things I did while in undergrad was join a professional organization. I was a member and treasurer for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) for about three years, where I not only learned a lot but also made some great friends. The conferences and events I attended helped me gain a better understanding of the industry I was going into and provided me many networking opportunities to get connected with businesses and my future industry peers. In fact, I first hear about LANL through one of the conferences I attended!

Describe your experience living in Los Alamos, New Mexico. How was the transition to a new city and what do you enjoy most about it?

Moving to New Mexico was a big culture shock but has also been an amazing experience. I live in Santa Fe, which is about 45 minutes from the labs in Los Alamos. When moving out here, LANL took care of all the moving expenses and gave generous stipends and relocation bonuses. The nature out here is beautiful and unlike anything I saw back home in the Southeast. The hiking out here is phenomenal! Ultimately, any place you are is what you make of it, and there are definitely great things to do and like about New Mexico!

Do you have any advice for students considering opportunities with LANL or for their internship or job search in general?

My biggest advice for anyone considering working at LANL is to make sure they would be passionate about the type of work we do at the labs. It can be exothermally challenging working in the environment and industry that the labs specialize in, but if you find the work interesting and engaging, then the difficulties feel worth it.

Ultimately, the most important thing about any job, no matter what you're doing, is finding passion and meaning in the work you do. Life is too short to work a job for 40 hours every week that is a slog and feels hollow. Pursue something that will give you a level of fulfillment!


Published 8.21.2022