Nicolas “Cole” Manfred and Shelby Platner, seniors in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, have been accepted into the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE.

These prestigious opportunities help engineering graduates develop professionally while gaining technical expertise in their chosen field and expanding their skills in new domains. The Edison program provides real-world experience in technical disciplines, as well as training, mentorship, and coaching from world-class technologists and experienced technical managers. 

Manfred, who specializes in nuclear engineering, said he will work with GE-Hitachi, a nuclear energy partnership, while he pursues a master’s degree. He credits his College of Engineering experience with preparing him for this milestone.

“Six years ago as a transfer student from a trade school, I could not have dreamed of the many opportunities that have since been afforded to me during my time in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering — opportunities such as research, career networking, and financial assistance,” Manfred said.

“I offer my gratitude to every professor, classmate, and faculty member I had the pleasure to interact with over the last four years," he added. "Without your advice and encouragement I would not be who I am today.”

Shelby Platner
Shelby Platner. Courtesy photo.

Platner interned this past summer with the materials and processing engineering team at GE Gas Power in Greenville, South Carolina.

"I mainly focused on failure and material analyses within gas turbines - lots of superalloys and ceramics," she said. "It was a fantastic experience, doing a lot of hands-on work in the lab and meeting so many incredible team members and engineers.

"When I was given the opportunity to join GE full time in their Edison Engineering Rotational Program, it was an easy and joyful yes. I'm excited to work on a variety of teams and gain different experiences through this program while building relationships with others who are also passionate about the energy sector," she said. "I am excited to use my MSE background and problem solving skills that I have honed in my time at Virginia Tech to contribute to providing sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy to the world — especially those who are currently without it."

Platner said she will spend two years in the program, and complete a master's degree through GE Power.

While at the university, she has pursued a minor in the College of Engineering's Green Engineering program, as well as her bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering.

Her undergraduate career has been rich and a varied. Her internships and co-ops include NSWC Carderock, NSWC Philadelphia, and NIST.

She has also been active in a range of clubs and organizations as a peer mentor for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, the College of Engineering Dean’s Team, Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, Class of 2023 Leadership Team, and treasurer for the student-led Material Science Engineering Society.