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Summering at Brookhaven Lab

More than 200 summer interns arrive at the Lab

School’s out for summer — but more than 200 students from universities across the country are doing extra science work as they begin a 10-week summer research program at Brookhaven Lab.

Summer Interns

Summer interns at opening ceremony

“You will find your experience at Brookhaven to be one that continues to bring value throughout your career,” said Ken White, manager of the Lab’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP), as he welcomed the incoming undergraduate, graduate, and faculty participants at the opening ceremony in Berkner Hall on June 7.

The students were also welcomed by Lab Director Sam Aronson and DOE Brookhaven Site Office Manager Mike Holland at the opening ceremony. Both noted the important contribution the new generation of scientists will make as we tackle national challenges like energy and homeland security.

Once again, this will be OEP’s largest groups of summer interns. More than 1,500 applied for the 213 available internships. The interns who were selected will participate in six different DOE programs: the Community College Institute (CCI), DOE-Academies for Creating Teacher Scientists (DOE-ACTS), Faculty and Student Teams (FaST), Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP), Pre-Service Teacher program (PST), and Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI). In addition, several Dowling College students will participate in the Minority Teacher Development and Training program.

Students participating in this year’s summer program include members of several special groups such as Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering and the Center for Accelerator Science and Engineering, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and students sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Under memorandums of understanding with the City University of New York and Syracuse University, the Lab partnered with the schools to bring a number of students for the summer as well.

Between now and August 13, participants will work with their BNL mentors in nearly every area of the Lab’s scientific community, including at major facilities such as the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and in departments such as Instrumentation, Waste Management, Environmental Services, Physics, and Chemistry.

“While most of our summer students have excellent coursework preparation, they lack the experience of working in a laboratory setting such as BNL,” said OEP Program Administrator Mel Morris. “This internship experience allows students to make more informed decisions as to their future academic and career choices. We are also fortunate to have staff members who realize the importance of working with young students to help prepare the scientific and technical workforce of the future.”

Fellow Program Administrator Noel Blackburn agreed with Morris about the importance of mentors. “For some of the interns, this is their first experience at a National Lab and we provide a great environment to encourage students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math,” he said. “Last year we conducted a survey of our interns from 2004 to 2008, and it showed that our summer programs had a significant impact on students’ academic choices. This is, in part, due to our very dedicated mentors who make this experience a time to remember for these interns.”

Also during the opening ceremony, 16 BNLers were recognized with Outstanding Mentor Awards from DOE. These mentors were nominated by their former interns and the OEP program managers. The programs, largely funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists and the National Science Foundation, rely heavily on the time contributed by the many mentors hosting the students.

A second group of nearly 90 summer program participants, including middle and high school students and teachers, are expected to arrive at the Lab later this month. Throughout the summer, the Science Learning Center, also part of OEP, will host elementary and middle school students involved in various camps and programs, including the Lab’s summer camp for employees’ children.

Tags: education

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