Outreach in the Marshall Islands: MIT/LL continues to offer IT internship to RMI residents
August 9, 2013
U.S. ARMY KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands (Aug. 10, 2013) -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Lincoln Laboratory again offered their information technology internship to Republic of the Marshall Islands residents. Lebon Joash and Nover Juria participated in the sixth year of the program offered at U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll this summer. The 10-week internship offered by MIT/LL focuses on networking and computer system administration. It is supported by the MIT Community Outreach program. The objective of the program is to provide instruction, mentoring and motivation to encourage student interns to pursue further education and subsequent employment in the Marshall Islands in a computer or science-related field. Juria will continue to work at the National Weather Service Office in Majuro, and will begin to assist in the IT department; he will attend University of South Pacific in Majuro to further his IT knowledge with Cisco classes. Joash plans to work part time in Majuro until he attends the University of Hawaii in January to continue his IT education. Both students are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship for continuing education at the culmination of the internship.
The internship is taught by instructor Ranny Ranis, who has a reputation of being hard on the students, but for their own good. Ranis' approach is a hands-on one; the students work in a computer lab and are given the opportunity to learn about and experiment with computers and networking equipment. They take apart and rebuild computers, configure networks and are exposed to various troubleshooting scenarios. One of Ranis' favorite teaching tools is to have the interns build a network in the morning and then break something while they're at lunch; when they return, they have to troubleshoot the problem and then fix it.
Besides working in the computer lab, the interns were able to take several field trips to see information technology in the real world. Dr. Aaron Fleet of MIT/LL toured them around Kiernan Reentry Measurements Site, where they were given an introduction to radars and how they function. They also took a trip to the ATSC weather station and were given a tour of the weather radar. They also received an overview of systems engineering from several MIT/LL staff members.
On Wednesday, both students presented a summary of what they learned to an audience including USAKA and RTS command, and MIT/LL staff members. At the end of the presentations, Gabe Elkin, MIT/LL site manager, presented Joash and Juria with certificates of completion.
USAKA Commander, Col. Nestor Sadler, commended MIT/LL staff for the program and for setting up these Marshallese students for success. Sadler met with the U.S. Ambassador to the RMI, Thomas Armbruster, this week, who expressed three key points when it comes to U.S. and RMI cooperation: health, education and diplomacy. "You guys did an excellent job addressing education and diplomacy." He told Joash and Juria to think big. "I expect you guys to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I'm proud of you young men for what you've accomplished and equally as proud of the team who have helped get you to this point. Job well done."