Joe Wyatt
Published December 18, 2019

Two Amarillo College engineering students already are gearing up for an especially busy and enlightening summer, one that will entail laboratory testing of non-nuclear components within the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

Interns3INJoshua Blashill and Zach Sellinger have been chosen for selective internships in the Weapons Evaluation Test Lab (WETL) at Sandia National Laboratories in Amarillo, which is located at the Pantex Plant.


The WETL’s primary mission is to perform laboratory tests on various weapons systems.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens pursuing a science, engineering or math degree on a full-time basis, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.


“I believe that success is when opportunity and preparation intersect, and these guys were all over this opportunity as soon as it arose,” said Vanessa Miles, instructor of engineering at AC.

“When the call for interns went out, these two were prepared to meet the challenge. They did not hesitate, and now here we are.”


The two interns will begin reporting to the WETL in May, once their spring classes at AC conclude. They will be scheduled to work at least 40 hours a week.


“It’s my dream to do exactly what this internship is designed for – to contribute to the testing of nuclear weapons,” said Blashill, who began pursuing an engineering degree at AC after completing a bachelor’s degree in music.


“It’s why I switched to engineering,” he said. “I’ve been in school for a long time and consider this internship my big break,” he said. “My family and I immediately had a celebration when I got the news.”


On any given day, the interns might be called on to set up test equipment; learn about and operate test equipment; perform trouble-shooting; maintain the laboratory space; and more.


“I started jumping up and down when I was selected for this,” said Sellinger, who, thanks to AC’s duel credit Diplomas & Degrees program, completed his associate degree during his senior year at Highland Park High School.


“I had taken only one engineering class, so I wasn’t sure I was even eligible to apply, but I got the ok to apply, then got accepted, and the whole thing is awesome.”



NOTE: pictured are Zach Sellinger, at left, and Josh Blashill.