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Not a Typical Summer for Undergraduate Interns at CNSE
Summer internships may evoke images of time spent behind a desk or in front of a filing cabinet. For 22 undergraduate students who spent the summer interning at CNSE, however, the experience was as unique as it was rewarding.
The students chosen for the highly competitive CNSE Summer Internship Program - including 20 New York state residents - arrived at CNSE with academic backgrounds in the physical, chemical, biological or computer sciences, as well as mathematics and engineering. Each CNSE intern worked with one or more research programs conducted by CNSE and its global corporate partners. Throughout the summer, the interns interacted closely with CNSE faculty, staff, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students, along with industrial experts.
Jacob Claridge, a Bioengineering major who will be a senior at Lehigh University this fall, researched nanomedicine and nanobioscience under two mentors: CNSE Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Sara Brenner and CNSE Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Nathaniel Cady. Working with Professor Cady, Claridge's focus was on using a microcalorimeter to measure a cell's metabolism - an application that can be used in pharmaceuticals to test a new drug and measure the effects it has on a cell.
"Compared with past internships I have participated in, my experience at CNSE was very hands-on," says Claridge. "As an intern, I was given access to the world-class facilities at CNSE and the opportunity to see how academia interacts with industry. This experience has made me consider the possibility of going to graduate school after receiving my undergraduate degree."
Another intern, Major Capers, worked with CNSE Professor and Head of Nanoengineering and Director of E2TAC Pradeep Haldar to create amorphous silicon solar cells. He learned how solar cells are constructed, including the tools and processes used to create them, and looked into alternative and more efficient ways to build these solar cells.
"I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from the graduate students and faculty at CNSE," says Capers, a soon-to-be senior and candidate for a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New Haven.
Samuel LaGasse, an undergraduate student at CNSE who is pursuing his B.S. in nanoscale science, spent his summer researching low-energy interaction between helium ions and high-k dielectrics. With his mentor, Associate Professor of Nanoscience Mengbing Huang, LaGasse explored the development of a successor to the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) that would create higher resolution images.
"This internship opened my eyes to the many possibilities that nanotechnology offers," says LaGasse. "The CNSE internship program has given me tremendous opportunity. I was able to work independently, while receiving guidance from CNSE professors and graduate students whenever I needed it."
Each student in the CNSE Summer Internship program had the opportunity showcase his or her work at a public poster presentation on August 11.