internships Tag

By Maegan Murray

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University Tri-Cities alumnus Geoff Schramm never thought he would go to college.

Coming from a family where no one before him in his family had gone to college, he said it was sort of a family tradition that he goes straight into the workforce after high school.

Geoff Schramm presents during first-generation student celebration event

WSU Tri-Cities alumnus and instructor talks with students about being a first-generation, non-traditional student during a first-generation celebration event on campus.

“That’s just what you did in my family,” he said. “I didn’t have a blueprint for college or someone that could tell me about the experience. In some odd way, I felt it wasn’t for me when I was young.”

However, when the recession hit in 2008, he started thinking more about his future and the uncertainty that detailed the availability of jobs that were opened to him without an undergraduate degree. That same year, he applied to Washington State University Tri-Cities, got in, but couldn’t muster up the courage to start his classes. Then in January 2011, with his wife’s hand in his, he walked up the entrance steps to campus to begin his first semester at WSU Tri-Cities.

As the first person in his family to attend college, the beginning of this new college process was daunting. Often times, he said he didn’t feel he was smart enough. But through getting involved with campus programming, student clubs and especially through the development of professional relationships with faculty and staff, he said he found his place and really excelled in school.

“I decided to really submit and give myself to the process,” he said. “Once I started to do that and get involved with things on campus, everything changed.”

Finding his feet

While going to school, Schramm worked in the career development office as a career coach and then as a student mentor. He was also involved with several student clubs and served as a member of TRIO, which provides support services for students who are first-generation, disabled or economically disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, Schramm worked heavily with his environmental science faculty mentors to get a grasp of his school work, learning everything he could about his future field. Those same individuals then helped him connect with external professional learning opportunities that paired directly with his coursework.

WSU Tri-Cities alumnus Geoff Schramm hugs professor Dick Pratt following receiving his diploma last spring.

WSU Tri-Cities alumnus Geoff Schramm hugs professor and mentor, Dick Pratt, following receiving his master’s diploma last spring.

As an undergraduate student, Schramm completed a number of internships in his academic field. His first was with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was followed with an internship with Mission Support Alliance doing biological monitoring. He also did a six-month internship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As his combined school and career participation grew, so did his confidence, he said.

“I realized you may not get a degree because you’re smarter,” he said. “You can achieve a degree because you’re persistent enough to see yourself excel and you see it through. You have to put yourself out there and take opportunities as they come. I grew as a person mainly because I put myself out there.”

Prior to the end of his senior year, he decided to pursue a master’s program in environmental science. Through this opportunity and combined with his regular courses, he got the chance to teach several undergraduate lab courses, which opened his eyes to his love for teaching. He spent the past several summers helping instruct science courses for middle and high school students. He also completed an additional internship, this time with CH2M.

After graduating with his master’s in environmental science last spring, Schramm now works for Washington River Protection Solutions as an environmental quality lead. In addition to his full-time position, and as a way to give back to his time at WSU Tri-Cities, he also continues to teach science courses at the university.

Inspiring a new generation of college graduates

As he looks back on his college years, he said they were the ones that really prepared him for the best version of his professional self that he could be.

“I love being here,” he said of WSU Tri-Cities. “It was hard for me to leave as a student because I did see this place and the people here as family. The personal gratification that I felt through this place, which helped me reach my own desires, dreams and aspirations, stays with me.”

Geoff Schramm presents during the first-generation student celebration event at WSU Tri-Cities

Geoff Schramm presents during the first-generation student celebration event at WSU Tri-Cities.

Schramm said he now hopes to inspire in his children, as well as other men and women, to achieve their own aspirations through obtaining a college education. He asked his son recently if he was thinking about college.

“Heck yeah, I think about college all the time,” his son replied.

“I hope to build a legacy for my family and show them that education is important, life-long learning is important and giving back is important,” he said. “Hopefully through this experience, I’m giving them that.”

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

tricities_career_fair_RICHLAND, Wash. – A career fair will be hosted by Washington State University Tri-Cities, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Consolidated Information Center and Student Union Building.

The career fair is free and open to WSU Tri-Cities students, alumni and the public. The event allows organizations to discuss employment opportunities with potential employees. WSU Tri-Cities students are encouraged to connect with industry representatives to learn more about prospective employment and internships.

tricities_career_fair
WSU Tri-Cities Career Development panel discussion begins at 8 a.m., with career fair to follow at 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Beginning at 8 a.m., the WSU Tri-Cities Career Development will host the “State of the Tri-Cities Workforce” panel discussion, a new program to the career fair. The forum enables panelists to provide a strategic and professional analysis of the local workforce. Panelists will present their understanding of the behaviors and resources that help maintain and strengthen the Tri-Cities area economy. Those interested in attending should RSVP at careers@tricity.wsu.edu

The event also will feature a career development student spotlight program that allows students to practice and deliver their one-minute resume pitches to on-site recruiters.

For more information about the WSU Tri-Cities career fair, visit http://tricities.wsu.edu/careerdev/careerfair.

 

Media Contacts:

Six Washington State University Tri-Cities students sat in a conference room, anxiously waiting for their meeting with a group of AREVA’s engineering and project management officials to begin.

Many of the students didn’t know what to expect, as they had never worked on a project of this magnitude before. This was also their first time at AREVA’s Richland nuclear fuel manufacturing facility.

WSU Tri-Cities newsAs part of their senior mechanical engineering capstone course, the team, which consisted of seniors Jared Beauchene, Jose Chavez, Juan Mejia, Travis Lewis, Alex Schwarz and Manuel Bustos Ramirez, learned they would re-design the AREVA’s current cart used to transport uranium pellets from one building, where they are pressed into shape, to a different building, where they are sintered at a high temperature into their final form.

AREVA Plant Operations Manager Barry Tilden said the problems with the facility’s current pellet transfer cart is that it poses several safety concerns. There are several potential finger pinch points and ergonomic challenges posed when loading the small but heavy trays of uranium pellets, also known as “boats,” he said.

In addition to overcoming those safety elements, the new cart design would have to ensure a safe transport of the delicate pellets before sintering and contain the pellets if it were to tip over during transport. The cart would also have to provide protection from weather during the short trip from building to building and interface well with the existing equipment in two separate pellet production shops.WSU Tri-Cities news

The team spent the next seven months on the new design, balancing their time on the project with a full course load at WSU Tri-Cities.

“It’s was difficult,” Chavez said. “We knew this project would come with expectations and responsibilities. But as we worked through the design challenges, the project has been very rewarding and has given us great experience as we start looking for jobs after graduation.”

Tilden said the team truly embraced the challenges of the design while working through many obstacles and business requirements.

“The team did a great job and can be proud of their work developing and producing a new pellet cart design,” he said.

The team documented their progress through a series of posts on AREVA’s blog site. The entries provide insights into the different stages of the project and the struggles the team overcame along the way.