Argonne Mini-Semester Expands Diversity and Opportunity in STEM Internships

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March 16, 2022 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory hosted the Computing Across the Sciences mini-semester in December 2021. This program engages undergraduate students in hands-on workshops and activities that explore computational research. The immersive experience builds critical science, technology, engineering, and math (ROD) skills. Additionally, the annual mini-semester creates new opportunities for students who are otherwise underrepresented in ROD fields by connecting them to DOEOffice of Science internship programs.

The students asked the alumni panel many questions about what their Argonne internship experiences were like and how to participate. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory, Educational Programs and Outreach

National laboratories like Argonne offer many first cycle and diploma internship opportunities each year, such as the Undergraduate Science Lab Internship (SULI) and the Community College Internship (ICC). from Argonne Educational programs and awareness is increasingly accessible to underrepresented students from diverse schools and communities.

It can be difficult to successfully apply for internships. They are very competitive, and if you are not already familiar with the ROD lab training paths, these programs can seem daunting, said Lindsay Buettner, Argonne University Program Manager.By making programs more accessible to students from a wide range of backgrounds and communities, we can support a stronger and more diverse student body. They will then become our next generation of ROD national and world leaders.

During the four-day Virtual Computing Through Science mini-semester, activities included panels with researchers, tours of the lab’s world-class facilities, and coding challenges for students to solve. The mini-semester also educated students on how to apply for internships in the lab, with sessions covering how the application process works. The first day of the event brought together a panel of former trainees. The students also networked with lab mentors with whom they could potentially partner for internships.

Former students helped students understand what they might experience in an internship.

The mini-semester virtual lab tour included a visit to Aurora, where students learned about Argonne’s future exascale supercomputer. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory, Educational Programs and Outreach

I had no research experience the first time I applied, but that’s why I applied. This internship is meant to give you that,” said Arleth Salinas, a former SULI internal.​I was nervous, but when I arrived there were plenty of resources to help students be successful in their placements. I gained an abundance of research knowledge. It just takes enthusiasm and patience, because it’s not easy. But as long as you are open and willing to learn, you will succeed.

Additionally, former interns have highlighted how internships can make a significant difference in the ROD paths, no matter what they decide to do.

Even if you don’t plan on going to college, an internship like Argonne looks amazing on your resume,” said Andy Marszewski, another alumnus. SULI internal.​It will prepare you so well for the future when you do an internship in a national laboratory. Argonne is particularly popular, so I highly recommend applying.

Victor Escudero, a sophomore at Moraine Valley Community College, decided to apply for an internship in the ICC program after the mini semester 2021.

I was already considering applying to Argonne, but participating in the program gave me even more reason,” he said.I learned what researchers do at Argonne. Every project they talked about was interesting and inspiring. I want to meet these great minds and see what it’s like to be a researcher. They clarified all the questions I had about the application and prepared me for the application, helping me stand out from other applicants. »

After a successful application, Escudero is excited to work this summer with mentor Hao Cai of Argonne’s Energy Systems division.

Time and time again, I hear stories from research staff of how working with students helps them, and sometimes even brings new ideas to the issues they are working on,” said Meridith Bruozas, Head of Educational Programs and of Argonne Outreach, at the start of the event. .​You are the future of the Argonne. The success of our work stems from the collaborations between our staff and the student communities. The different backgrounds, talents, viewpoints and personalities that you all bring to our community are greatly appreciated here.

This work was supported in part by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts cutting-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state, and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance American scientific leadership, and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is led by Chicago Argonne, SARL for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic physical science research in the United States and strives to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.


Source: Nathan Schmidt, Argonne National Laboratory

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