NNSS kicks off its third annual Student Program

The U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) kicked off its third annual Student Program May 24-25. Students from all across the U.S. attended their first day of this summer’s program by logging onto the virtual format.

In 2019, the Student Program was developed to allow hands-on work experience, mentorship in various disciplines and professional development opportunities for college students.

Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person internship was no longer feasible. On April 17, 2020, the decision to switch the platform to a virtual format was made by the senior leadership team. The NNSS acknowledged the challenges associated with a virtual internship; however, the Talent Acquisition department worked with many other directorates to transform the program from an in-person internship to being completely virtual in just five short weeks.

The 2021 program will continue to build upon the success of the 2020 virtual format. Most students will work virtually throughout the summer, but in some cases, local students have the potential to come on site with manager discretion.

Christian Bombara, a mathematics student at the University of Nevada, Reno, shared how the NNSS has provided a new perspective. “This is my second summer interning with the NNSS. My team members and the various projects I have worked on have helped me realize I want to continue my education by obtaining a graduate degree in math and pursue a career in research.”

James Blackwell III, an engineering intern returning for the third summer in a row, added, “The NNSS has helped me understand the engineering process and how to be a contributing member of a professional team. This last year, I acted as the leader of my team’s senior capstone design project, and the lessons I learned from previous summers helped our project succeed. I originally went back to school because I wanted to be part of something bigger and more important; I’ve returned this summer because that is exactly what I found here at the NNSS.”

These students, along with more than 20 other returning students, began teleworking May 24. More than 20 additional new students began teleworking May 25.

For more information about the NNSS Student Program, visit: https://www.nnss.gov/pages/NFO/MSTSStudentPrograms.html or reach out to Student Program Coordinator Terri Shafer at shafertl@nv.doe.gov.