NEWS | Aug. 24, 2012

SEAP Students at NRL-SSC Conclude Internships, Present Summer Work

By Shannon Breland

The Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center (NRL-SSC) hosted 10 interns this past summer as part of the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP), sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and administered by the American Society for Engineering Education.

SEAP is an eight-week, paid internship program designed to allow high school students with an interest in math or science to explore Naval careers that employ the subjects. Twenty-three Naval commands around the United States host more than 250 SEAP students each year.

Each student was paired with an NRL-SSC scientist-mentor, who guided the student on an individual research project over the eight-week internship. Projects varied from identifying validating oceanographic model data to developing graphical user interfaces for complex computer programs.

I got a chance to experience what it was truly like to work as a professional scientist, said Leslie Smith, an entering freshman at Brigham Young University.

While at NRL-SSC, the students visited other agencies on site to discover the variety of science and engineering careers available at Stennis. Students visited the Defense Shared Resource Center, Rolls-Royce, NOAA National Data Buoy Center, Fleet Survey Team, Maury Oceanographic Library and a NASA engine test-stand. The interns also attended seminars on an array of scientific seminars given by visiting scientists to further expose them to Navy-related research outside Stennis.

Student Awards
On their last day in the program, the students presented their research projects in a poster session attended by their family, friends, and Stennis colleagues. Dr. Michael Kassner, director of research at the Office of Naval Research, formally addressed the students, stressing the value of science education to our nation's defense and presented each student with a completion certificate as well as three awards for notable achievements.

Kyle Bramley, a rising senior at Northshore High School, was presented with the Best Abstract Award for his project, Assessment of WAVEWATCH III and WAM Performance on Regional and Global Scales.

Judges awarded Korilyn Baudin, a rising senior at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, with the Best Presentation award for her project, Analysis of Biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico Following the BP Oil Spill.

Judges also awarded Jaclyn Chu, a rising sophomore at Dublin Jerome High School in Ohio, with the Best Poster Award for her project Fisheye Camera Lens Calibration.

Mentoring their Successors
Mentors play a huge role in the success of SEAP. They interact with students daily, guiding their work and encouraging them to make discoveries while balancing their role as intern supervisor.

From the first day, I was put into a dynamic environment, keen on discovering the depths of the ocean, said SEAP intern Raya Islam, a rising senior at Northshore High School in Slidell, La. Through it all, I always felt accepted and appreciated for work that seems slight in comparison to others' here.

The outstanding NRL-SSC mentors and alternate mentors included Mr. Will Avera, Dr. Brian Bourgeois, Dr. Kevin Briggs, Dr. Joe Calantoni, Dr. Philip Chu, Ms. Jan Dastugue, Dr. Sergio DeRada, Mr. John Dubberley, Mr. Jim Dykes, Dr. Paul Elmore, Dr. Bob Helber, Dr. Tommy Jensen, Dr. Allison Penko, Mr. Erick Rogers, Dr. Julian Simeonov, Mr. Scott Smith, and Ms. Jan Watkins.

Applications for the 2013 SEAP will be made available October 1, 2012, at