Midshipman Brett Haynes (foreground) -, a student at Miami University, interned at the Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton (NAMRU-D), playing a key role in updating 3D models and schematics for the Disorientation Research Device, known as “the Kraken.” His mentor is Captain Richard Folga, Head of Engineering and Technical Support Services Department, Disorientation Research Device Program Manager.NAMRU-D hosted eight interns this summer who were able to develop their skills and support the advancement of military medical research.
DAYTON – Over the years, Naval Medical Research Unit - Dayton (NAMRU-D) has offered summer internships to promising students in an effort to maintain a commitment to developing their skills and encouraging them to lend their talents to the advancement of military medical research.
The summer interns included eight undergraduate and graduate students who applied through Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).They worked in the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory and the Environmental Health Effects Research Laboratory.
Brett Haynes, a Navy hopefully and a rising junior at Miami University, supported the maintenance and engineering in updating 3D models and schematics for the Disorientation Research Device (DRD), known as “the Kraken.” Haynes mentor was Captain Richard Folga, DRD Program Manager, Department Head, Engineering and Technical Support Services Department, NAMRU-SA.
“Being able to observe the mechanical and electrical side of performing maintenance has been amazing,” said Haynes. “It’s an experience that I will continue to reference as I complete my degree in Mechanical Engineering and when I become an active duty Naval Officer”.
Joshua Hughes, a biology and interdisciplinary neuroscience major at John Carrol University, found out about the opportunities at NAMRU-D during an annual job shadowing event at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base. Hughes mentor is Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Huber, Aerospace Physiologist and Department Head, Acceleration and Sensory Sciences.
Over the course of eight weeks, Hughes supported research on motion sickness and spinal disorders which included interviewing researchers, compiling a list of future research projects, and helping with risk management on the Motion Sickness Interactions with Spine Disorders Study (MOSSD) to ensure participant safety.
“Being around aerospace doctors introduced me to different career fields and helped me to understand different terminology which will keep me from becoming overwhelmed in the future,” said Hughes.
Mackenzie Riggenbach a rising junior at Ohio Northern University spent the summer working her mentor Lt. Adam Biggs in the Training and Virtual Environments laboratory. She meets Briggs while attending his talk at Ohio University about the military applications of cognitive psychology, and applied for an internship.
Ashley Okon, a Masters/Doctorate student at University of Cincinnati came to NAMRU-D after her professor, Dr. Amit Bhattacharya, asked if anyone wanted to be a part of the MOSSD research team. Okon applied for an internship and Bhattacharya, her mentor, is a principal investigator for this collaborative study.
“This internship has given me more of an appreciation for the aeromedical side of military research,” said Okon. ”It wasn’t something I was aware of as a career field, but now I’m excited to consider it.”
Kevin Lee and Grace Klosterman:
NAMRU-D also helps in the evolution of skills, which brought two former interns back to the command. Kevin Lee, a self-proclaimed “Kraken trainer”, interned with the command two years ago before the DRD was operational. He is a rising junior at University of Virginia. Lee worked with the DRD motion team to develop and derive motion equations to move the device in a way that simulates the forces of flight.
“Being able to use what I’ve learned in college on such a unique device to have a positive impact on aeromedical research and other vestibular issues is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Lee.
Grace Klosterman, another returning intern and rising junior at The Ohio State University, found the opportunity to incorporate her studies into practical work rewarding.
“This year provided me the opportunity to do a lot more hands on work, particularly with the Neuro-Otologic Test Center. It was fun to see how my classwork in brain physiology gave me the ability to take on a more active role with the studies compared to my previous year,” said Klosterman.
By the end of the their internships, the group collectively contributed toward the common goal of supporting research to maximize warfighter performance, but each, fueled by their individual motivations, gained a unique perspective and experience.
For more information about internships and career opportunities at NAMRU-D, email NAMRU.Dayton.PA@us.af.mil.