Interns, guests, and WD&E staff gathered via ZOOM and Fourwaves for the Spring 2021 Intern Poster Session.
On April 28, interns around the United States sat in front of their screens and turned on their webcams. Thanks to BLUR, SULI, and CCI, these interns spent their 16-week term collaborating with Berkeley Lab’s researchers on original research. Now, they were ready to present their original research to their peers, family, mentors, and members of the Berkeley Lab community at a virtual poster session hosted by Workforce Development and Education.
The first session started on ZOOM, where WD&E Director Colette Flood addressed the interns. She praised them for their hard work. “It was long, it was virtual, and you stuck in there,” Flood told the interns, “With all the chaos in the world, it’s very rewarding to work with you all and see you contribute these solutions to the world for positive change “
After these supportive words, the interns proceeded to the Fourwaves platform, a remote conferencing software that allowed presenters to simultaneously share a poster and video chat with attendees. Around 77 users were ‘present’ and moved between intern’s virtual posters.
Even though they were working remotely, interns reported that their work had allowed them to gain both solid foundation in the field and build professional connections. Ramzi Massad felt like his mentor helped him establish a valuable theoretical background. Zoë Webb-Mack was thrilled to have the opportunity to feel like an experimentalist. Ellie Copps was excited that her study on data-caching was published in a research journal. Rosario Martinez’s contributions to three projects, which used automation/modernization engineering to improve NERSC user experience, allowed her to gain knowledge in an entirely new field.
Some interns used their term to understand how technological solutions could address environmental challenges. Nguyen Thanh Vi Tran helped her team develop new tools to process continuous data from monitoring equipment at the San Joaquin River, improving ecological monitoring. Similarly, Mason East’s research demonstrated that high stem respiration rates were associated with more tree growth in Amazonian rainforests. Mason really enjoyed attending weekly meetings that connected her with researchers across the globe, including in Panama and Brazil.
After two hours of presentations, the interns wrapped up their talks. Even though they had collaborated virtually this spring, many of them still felt like their internships had helped them find new mentors and friends at Berkeley Lab. Some interns would be leaving for other opportunities, others will continue their work at Berkeley Lab this summer. One intern’s advice for future WD&E interns? “Just go for it!”