• Silvia Garcia (Biological Sciences)Where did you intern?

There were two locations for my internship: DOE EM Headquarters in Washington D.C. and Germantown, Maryland.

  • How did you get your internship? 

I got my internship at DOE EM through my fellowship with FIU ARC due to their cooperative agreement.

  • What did you do there? What projects did you work on? 

I participated in technical meetings in order to learn more about the Department of Energy and its processes. I was also assigned three projects for the summer: (1) The ATLAS project which includes an online interface to view environmental releases of contaminants at DOE sites. We made recommendations for important parameters (like contaminant concentrations and plume attenuation rates) to be shown through both the public and DOE-EM official interfaces. (2) The Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) project which is a multi-agency project working to share environmental remediation technologies. We updated online document accessibility and navigation tools. (3) Added a recent case study on the Hanford Site’s remediation project “300 Area Uranium Stabilization through Polyphosphate Injection” to the ITRC website.

  • What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? 

The coolest thing about my internship was experiencing it all with my coworkers. The people at DOE EM were so kind and appreciative to have us participating. They really impacted us more than they know and always encouraged our input when it came to real issues.

  • What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? 

The best advice I can give to someone starting their first internship is to really come in with an open mind and let your mentor know you are willing to learn about anything and everything. I also recommend asking your coworkers for fun things to do on the weekends so that you are making the most of your experience away from home. Your mentors will have a lot of experiences and connections, so don’t be shy when it comes to asking them how they did it or for an introduction to someone.

  • What did you like most about your experience?

I loved being able to experience the various jobs at DOE EM and talking to everyone about the route that led them to DOE EM. In addition, I was able to make connections with other cooperative departments such as: EPA, NRC, and the Navy.

  • What did you learn about yourself? 

I learned that I have a passion for technical jobs because I enjoy being more hands-on with my projects. I got to see myself in a different setting and I realized I’m more social and organized than I thought.

  • How did the position increase your professional confidence? 

This position showed me how to interact with people in government and industry and the unspoken expectations of the professional workforce. I also have more confidence in myself because I practiced for 10 weeks in a federal position. I now have a great frame of reference for my career as I begin searching for the next opportunity.


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