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STEM Program Connects Summer Interns with Research Mentors

Naval Postgraduate School Provost and Academic Dean Dr. Steven Lerman speaks to high school and college graduate interns entering NPS’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) summer program in Reed Hall, June 20, 2019.

Eighty-five students ranging from local area high schoolers to master’s degree holders began their 10-week summer internships with NPS’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program, June 20.

The internships allow these students to explore and get hands on in the fields they wish to pursue, and to build connections with some accomplished people working in those fields.

“NPS has world-class researchers who themselves have had mentors, all who understand the value of imparting their wisdom on the next generation,” said Alison Kerr, the STEM Internship Coordinator. “This program is meant to allow our researchers to groom the leaders of tomorrow and nurture their interest in the STEM fields.”

NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau along with Provost and Academic Dean Dr. Steven Lerman, kicked off the summer program by addressing the interns, who were matched with faculty mentors back in the fall.

“This time of internship is about you, an inside view to excel and learn in someone else’s area so that you can then go and lead,” said Rondeau. “This is an opportunity to learn and grow within yourself so that you can go outside and give to others. So, this is about you, but it’s also about the future of all of us.”

For Stanford graduate Ricky Lee, his internship will be spent working in the physics field with Associate Professor Dr. Dragoslav Grbovic researching how to make more affordable and higher resolution cameras.

 “For me personally, I’ve already done a fair amount of research at Stanford, and now it’s an interim time for me to explore my options,” said Lee. “I am hoping to apply to the Naval Information Warfare Center in San Diego, and this valuable internship gives me experience in what naval research environments are like.”

Not only does this give the interns valuable real-world experiences, but it also allows students to build connections with mentors that can last their entire careers.

“You can’t really quantify the benefits of having a mentor,” said Kerr. “Mentors can open doors, and provide advice about what directions to take.”

Kerr noted that while these internships may be the first exposure for these students to a military or professional academic environment, they certainly can be lasting ones.

“Many interns have reported back after they’ve graduated saying their new employers have been impressed with their work here at NPS,” said Kerr. “This experience provides value to them long after the summer.”

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