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NPS Internship Program Helps Students Refine Research Through Industry Connections

Yusuf Ashpari, far right, a Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) alumnus and Senior Systems Engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems, explains some of Raytheon’s weapons systems on display to current students Navy Lt. Matt Henricks, left, Marine Corps Capt. Michael Franco, middle, and Lt. Marci HersterDudley, right, during an internship at the company’s Tucson, Arizona facility.

The Naval Postgraduate School Industry Internship Program recently completed its third iteration sending 21 students for week-long internships at leading private sector technology companies to develop partnerships with industry while complementing each student’s development and area of study.

NPS’ Dean of Students launched the program in the spring quarter of 2018 seeking to bring real-world relevance and experience to the student experience, and to further align student programs with Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer’s call to support partnerships between the DOD and industry.

Through the support of the NPS Foundation and Alumni Association, the program sent this latest cohort of students to nine different companies including Lockheed Martin in West Palm Beach, Fla., Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz., Amazon in Seattle, Wash., Elbit Systems in Fort Worth, Texas and Boeing in St. Louis, Miss.

For Navy Lt. Joshua Sale, who visited Lockheed Martin, the program provided the chance to better understand unmanned underwater vehicle research for his upcoming thesis.

“The work that they’re doing at Lockheed Martin is definitely relatable to things I’m doing at NPS,” said Sale. “The time I spent at Lockheed Martin really gave me insight on some of the unmanned underwater capabilities that are being implemented in the fleet today.”

Each student spent one week collaborating with an industry partner that aligns with their studies, research, and possible career trajectories. Lt. Matthew Henricks, a student in NPS’ Combat Systems Science and Engineering program, spent his time with Raytheon Missile Systems.

“Going to Raytheon providing me with first-hand interactions with people I will very likely be able to work with during my thesis work,” said Henricks. “I got the opportunity to meet with some of the top minds working on interesting problems. After I graduate, I will be working with companies like Raytheon regularly, and getting the opportunity to see what drives them and making these connections will only benefit me in the long run.”

Marine Corps Capt. Caliph Lebrun, who visited Elbit Systems, brought back valuable insights in how to refine his unmanned all-terrain vehicle research at NPS.

“I went to Elbit Systems with questions of how do you reliably implement a machine learning algorithm in a system intended for military use,” he said. “They already have a lot of systems that are running live, with a high level of fidelity. For me, having that kind of knowledge shortens the time for me to get a reliable model to implement on a real-life system.”

While the internships provided benefits to student learning, they were mutually beneficial to the companies taking part as well. The program provided the companies the opportunities to speak with military professionals and gain from their experiences working with their products.

“As a submariner, Lockheed Martin had questions for me regarding ideas and products for operations on a submarine,” said Sale. “So not only the perspective for me to understand how they operate, but for them to have feedback on the equipment was useful as well.”

For more information on this unique program, contact the NPS Dean of Students Office at  


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