By Laura Almaraz
Fourteen interns will be working on a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics projects at White Sands Missile Range this summer. The STEM interns were welcomed at an orientation meeting followed by a luncheon at the Frontier Club June 2.
The group was selected by TRAC out of 172 applicants. They will be working on seven projects, including moving target simulation and analysis, network operations, and cyber security exploitation.
“Your energy and talent plus effective mentorship is all the program is about,” said WSMR Commander Paul Mann. “This is not a demonstration. This is real mission work.”
Mann told interns that their experience this summer will give them insight to their career and their entire life. He said it is important to learn how to work in teams, and the life skill they will learn will be just as important as their work experience.
Mike Garcia, Chief of Data Support Division of Range Operations, announced each intern’s assigned project and assigned mentors. Most students said they are looking forward to the work experience and shaping their career direction.
Ryan Schwingle, a New Mexico Tech graduate, will be working on network operations at the Magdalena Ridge. He graduated this year with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and minors in Optical Science and Engineering and Mathematics. Schwingle will pursue a master’s degree and hopes this experience will help him develop his thesis statement.
“I am looking for a thesis in radiation or optics. I think this is the perfect place to do it and it was the perfect storm of circumstances that led me here,” Schwingle said.
Jose Guillen, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, will be working on automated seeker scoring. “My goals are to grow professionally. This is my first technical work. I’m expecting the best from it,” Guillen said.
The interns are a diverse group from all around the country joined by two UTEP staff members. UTEP, The University of New Mexico, Virginia State University, New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico State University are amongst some of the schools represented.
TRAC at WSMR is part of the US Army and is responsible for supporting battlefield functions including weapon systems, simulating field exercises, equipment and training, and testing and operating new equipment.