Summer Interns Arrive at BNL

With school out for summer, about 250 participants from universities across the country arrived at Brookhaven Lab on Monday, June 6, to begin their 10-week summer science research programs.

2011 summer interns

The largest group of summer interns in Brookhaven Lab’s history, approximately 250 interns, will participate in summer science research programs between now and August 12.

“This is a very select group. The fact that you’re here means you have the right attitude and are ready to do science — and there’s nowhere better to do science than at Brookhaven National Laboratory,” said Ken White, manager of the Lab’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP), as he welcomed the incoming undergraduate, graduate and faculty participants during the opening ceremony in Berkner Hall.

The summer guests were also welcomed by BNL’s Deputy Director for Operations Mike Bebon and DOE Brookhaven Site Office Communications Director John Carter.

“Brookhaven National Laboratory truly is a place where the future is invented every day. I hope you’re as excited to be here as I am to have you here working with us,” Bebon said.

“When you’re at Brookhaven National Laboratory, you’re at one of the best labs among some of the most accomplished scientists and engineers in world, so respect, embrace, and enjoy it,” said Carter.

Keynote speaker Melody Bell, Director of Program Execution Support for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, then spoke of the importance of the guests’ work in the science, technology, math, and engineering fields.

melody bell

Video of Melody Bell (RealPlayer required)

“We are looking to the future. We are looking at discovery. We need transformational science and research and development — and innovation is the critical key component that you get here at Brookhaven National Laboratory,” she said.

More than 1,300 applied for approximately 250 available internships — once again, OEP’s largest group of summer interns to date. The interns who were selected will participate in five different DOE programs: the Community College Institute (CCI), 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 students sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Under a memorandum of understanding between DOE and the National Science Foundation and through other memorandums of understanding, OEP has joined with other universities — such as the City University of New York — to bring in additional students to participate in the summer programs.

Between now and August 12, 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 Chemistry, Environmental Science, Instrumentation, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Physics, and Waste Management.

“While most of our summer students have excellent course-work 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 and said, “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. When we speak with our interns, they tell us much more often than not that our summer programs had a significant impact on their academic choices. This is, in part, due to our very dedicated mentors who make this experience a time to remember for these interns.”

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

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