August 20, 2019
Summer Internship at LANL Lands Peng a Mentor
PhD candidate Jade Xiaoyao Peng spent her summer as an intern for the Department X Computational Physics Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Her work focused on extending the current phase field dislocation dynamics method (PFDD) library to include anisotropy, heterogeneity, and new materials. Jade also performed simulations to demonstrate the new features and strength of the library—which included many hours of coding and debugging.
CEE: Tell us about the connections you made during your internship.
Jade: I gained a mentor at LANL, Abigail Hunter, who is now the co-advisor for my PhD. I started my project with LANL last spring, and went to LANL last summer to work with Abby. My project this summer used the PFDD method to understand interactions between dislocations and grain boundaries.
CEE: How did you find out about this internship?
Jade; Abby is a collaborator of my advisor, Professor Kaushik Dayal. When I heard about the opening, I quickly applied online for consideration.
CEE: How did your experience at CEE prepare you for the work you were doing?
Jade: Two classes really helped me—Numerical Methods assisted with my coding. And Fundamental Concepts and Methods of Structural Mechanics provided a physical understanding of the problem we wanted to solve.
CEE: What was the most surprising part of your internship experience?
Jade: Working in the lab is very different from working on campus. In school, I only take one course each semester—so when I’m not in class, I can work at home, the library, or a café. The flexible schedule also allows me to choose when I start the work day. But in the lab, I followed the work schedule of 8:30am to 5pm. I found that I’m actually more efficient this way!
I noticed that I was always tired when I got home from the lab and preferred to just relax at night—completely the opposite of my campus schedule. It made me push myself to finish all the work at the lab during the day. I really benefited from the schedule.
CEE: Do you have any advice for other CEE students applying for internships?
Jade: Network and build connections. And start looking for internships early.