Mechanical Engineering Internship Story: Los Alamos National Laboratory

 on the job photo

Spencer Plep

Mechanical Engineering

What company did you intern with and where are they located?

I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

How did you identify and apply for your internship? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?

I actually met my mentor during a student trip to the Lab, which was through the CDCR and OID. We got to tour the Lab and give a presentation about Auburn. During the trip I met people who were interested in a student intern. The team I ended up working with told me to apply and they would hire me. After that I went through a formal application process.

What was the application process like?

I submitted an online application and did a remote interview. After that it was just waiting.

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

I was on a team that worked with Spot robots from Boston Dynamics. That was sort of a fantasy for me! I got to write code for the robots, design an emergency stop system, and give demonstrations of the robots.

I learned a lot from the Lab itself. I got to see multiple supercomputers, a particle accelerator, and took a training on radiological work.

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

It was a great professional experience! It helped me learn a lot about what sort of careers are available and what to expect from an actual engineering position.

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

Much of what I did involved MatLab, which I have used in classes before. That was a good thing to be familiar with! I also did some CAD work, which I have done at Auburn. Beside that there was a lot of figuring new systems out – which is a skill every engineer should practice.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?

Yes – talk to people! If you meet the team you want to work with, the application will likely be a formality. Also, whatever you want to do professionally, there is someone who can help you. You just need to find them.