By Mrs. Miriam U Rodriguez (ATEC)August 16, 2019
Students in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) internship program at White Sands Missile Range presented their projects to White Sands Missile Range leaders during a final project out brief Aug. 7 as part of the 10-week 2019 OSD-TRMC STEM Internship Program.
This year's STEM intern program included students from New Mexico State University, the University of Texas El Paso and other area schools.
Francis Check, a student at New Mexico State University, presented his project on Case Animation. As part of his project Check used mixed media to develop a 3D virtual map of WSMR. Through the use of mixed media tools and guidance from his mentor, he was able to create a detailed open map of WSMR.
"This could potentially bring a cost savings to WSMR by replacing WSMR helicopter tours," Check said.
Check said being a part of the program was very beneficial and he gained experience.
Patti Holguin-Lucero, Director of Operations and Compliance with TRAX International and supporting TRMC as the STEM Project Lead for all designated STEM Internship sites in the Southwest and West Coast, said TRMC has built a database of the interns' projects; which are of great interest to TRMC and said there are engineers on site who will keep working on the projects and determine how and when some of the projects worked on are integrated into the range's mission.
Erika Najera, a University of Texas El Paso student, presented her project on Command and Control Architecture Expansion.
Najera's project involved using a Java application to shut down and reboot computer systems using secured systems.
According to Najera the program would reduce the number of people and time it takes to shut down and reboot computers each day resulting in a potential cost savings.
Later in the day during a closing luncheon WSMR Commander Col. David Trybula thanked TRAX International for making this a meaningful event for the 7th year in a row and thanked Holguin-Lucero for leading the program.
He also acknowledged that the particular student projects come from the different organizations, such as the Center for Countermeasures, the Air Force, the Navy and other WSMR directorates.
Trybula also thanked the mentors for their assistance. "I can't thank you enough for what you have done on personally making this meaningful for the interns."
His advice to interns was to make sure they document the networks they have made so they can reach out to them as they start their careers.
"Make sure you invest in those and maintain those relationships," he said. "I really appreciate the difference you have made in a short summer and look forward to the impact that (your work) is going to have."
Also speaking was Denise De La Cruz, with OSD Test Resource Management Center. De La Cruz, who serves as the STEM Initiatives Lead and as the Test and Evaluation Range Oversight at TRMC, shared with the interns that her career started as an engineering intern at Fort Huachuca making sure test sites had plenty of port-a-potties.
"After that it got much better and I had a chance to learn about the data collection aspect of testing," De La Cruz said.
De La Cruz said she also learned there are really two paths you can take as a government engineer. The first is to stay on the technical track and become a subject matter expert. The second is to work towards an MBA and go into management. Which is what she did.
"I really enjoyed working hands on in communications systems but I wanted to move up. It was one of the best decisions of my career."
De La Cruz also encourage interns to branch out and maybe do a rotation somewhere else.