PBSC students land Department of Energy internships
Two Palm Beach State College students, Vinicius Wagner and Lucas Michels, will soon pack their bags and head north to complete a 16-week, paid Community College Internship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The internship runs from January to May of next year. As part of the application process, Wagner and Michels selected their preferred internship site from among the DOE’s 15 laboratories across the country.
Wagner, a Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College student pursuing his Associate in Arts degree, chose the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. and Michels, also pursuing an Associate in Arts degree, chose the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Wagner selected the Princeton lab because of his interest in fusion energy. His project will be to build a spectrometer for the an onsite plasma generator. Michels chose Oak Ridge for his interest in nuclear fusion. For his project, he will help make the process of recycling rubber tires and transforming them into black carbon more efficient.
Although Michels research will not focus on nuclear fusion due to lack of available projects, he says he is still excited about what he will learn.
“I was really amazed when I received the news,” said Michels, who was born in Hartfort, Conn. and grew up in Brazil. “The project is on a field I always liked, chemistry. I am really happy with the news, and I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience.”
Michels heard about the opportunity from Wagner, who discovered the internship after doing a Google search.
“I literally just typed in community college internship in the search field, and it was the first one that popped up,” said Wagner, who was born in Brazil and raised in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “I quickly discovered that I was eligible and decided to give it a try. I was over the roof with excitement when I learned I had been accepted. This is the biggest milestone so far in my career. I now feel like I can say that my career has officially started.”
During the internship, they will each receive a $500 salary per week and $800 a month for living expenses. The cost of their airfare will also be paid by the DOE.
Before being selected, the two submitted an online application, two recommendations and three essays detailing their lab research experiences, area of interest and future goals. Advisors at the host laboratories select students whose applications are highest ranked and whose skills, knowledge and interests are best aligned with available projects.
Michels plans to graduate from PBSC in the spring and then apply to several universities to study mechanical, chemical or materials engineering. Wagner also plans to graduate this spring and then apply to Princeton University in fall 2018 to study electrical engineering.
To qualify for the internship, students must be enrolled at a community or state college full time and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also have to have at least six credit hours in science, mathematics, engineering or technology and 12 credit hours toward a degree, among others. The number of interns chosen at each lab vary each term. Interns for the spring term are still being selected now through Dec. 22, 2017.