Links to other internship resources within the Department of Energy complex are included at the end of this article, including non-HBCU programs.
Internships: Could They Work for You?
Savannah River Site Provides Unique Hands-on Experience
For Students in the Field of Environmental Science
By Nordette Adams (Lawrence)
When she first arrived to intern at Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC, she'd been required to watch a video about the site's poisonous snakes and plants. But it's one thing to watch the dangers on video--to step into the swamp and meet a snake is another. Still, she managed to stay calm. As instructed, she remained quiet, motionless, and the snake swam on its way. She exhaled and finished her work. (Photo above, Henrietta Coleman and Thomas Shuler monitor water sampling results.)
Henrietta, a mathematics graduate student at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., is one of more than 60 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who've participated in the internship program since SRS began providing it in 1996. Although her professor had briefed her about the internship program last year, telling her that she'd be working in labs as well as in the field taking samples of lake and swamp water, she still wasn't quite sure what to expect when she arrived.
"All I'd heard about the site was that it was the bomb plant. That's what everybody called it," she said of the nearly fifty-year-old U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility. (SRS is known mainly for its historic production of tritium and plutonium for national defense. It was through these production processes that parts of the 312-square-mile site became contaminated.)
Today, most of SRS is forest and serves as a unique refuge for nearly 50 endangered or sensitive species.
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