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NSMRL Hosts Summer 2023 High School and College Interns

28 August 2023

From Emily Swedlund

GROTON, Conn.— Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) hosted local high school and college students for a summer internship from Jun. 05 - Aug. 10.NSMRL has provided these annual internships, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), for over a decade to offer hands-on research opportunities through the Science and Engineering
GROTON, Conn.— Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) hosted local high school and college students for a summer internship from Jun. 05 - Aug. 10.

NSMRL has provided these annual internships, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), for over a decade to offer hands-on research opportunities through the Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) for high school students, and the Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP) for college students.

Interns spent the summer working with senior NSMRL scientists to research and design their own projects to help advance the command’s mission set. They also refined their public speaking skills, preparing final presentations that showcased their work and accomplishments to command staff.

Dr. Jeffrey Bolkhovsky, a research physiologist with NSMRL and one of two NREIP alumni who provided mentorship to the summer interns, spoke highly of their accomplishments over the past three months.

“This year, our interns designed prototype software to mimic submarine operations, computer-aided design models of hardware for military exercises, and complex health monitoring protocols for tracking psychophysiological responses of service members.” Bolkhovsky said. “These unclassified projects presented interdisciplinary challenges that we have never given students before, and our interns met these challenges head-on and exceeded our expectations.”

Interns also had opportunities to challenge themselves and grow outside of the educational realm.

“We held lunch discussions on the philosophy of science and how our cognitive biases impact our work and lives.” Bolkhovsky explained, “We also challenge our interns with logic exercises that incorporate hypothesis testing, both as a fun activity and to help them develop STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]-related mindsets beyond their work.”

Four rising seniors from Ledyard High School (Ledyard, CT), Waterford High School (Waterford, CT), and East Lyme High School (East Lyme, CT), participated in the SEAP internship. This year’s NREIP intern was a recent college graduate from University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) who will be pursuing a PhD at Cornell starting this fall.

“The Navy is facing a shortage of STEM graduates, and the SEAP/NREIP internship introduces students to naval research and development, showing them the exciting opportunities that exist in this field.” Bolkhovsky added, “The interns who participate in these programs are the future of the Navy's research and development efforts. By providing them with opportunities to learn and grow, the Navy is investing in its own future."

NSMRL, part of the Naval Medical Research & Development enterprise and based out of Groton, Connecticut sustains the readiness and superiority of undersea warfighters through innovative health and performance research.

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