An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : Article View
NEWS | Sept. 22, 2023

Midshipmen sail into innovative internships at NSWC Dahlgren Division

By Morgan Tabor, NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Embarking on a voyage that merges academic endeavors with real-world innovations, four Navy midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland, set sail into the field of cutting-edge research, technology and development through their participation in a three-week internship at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) this summer.

NSWCDD began welcoming USNA midshipmen for tours of various facilities and labs in 2009. This evolved into establishing a number of internship opportunities for the midshipmen in 2018. The internships are funded and supported by NSWCDD’s Technology Office.  

“The Technology Office believes it is important for future naval leaders to better understand and experience the many technologies and capabilities that exist at NSWCDD,” said Karen Smith, Deputy Chief Technology Officer. “This internship helps their awareness of the larger naval research and development community as well as the great work that is happening here at Dahlgren.”

The midshipman internships at Dahlgren have two primary purposes for the students. The first is to help the interns learn about Naval Surface Warfare Centers and the larger naval science and technology (S&T) and research and development (R&D) communities. The second is so they can see their academic majors at work in naval applications.

The internships provide Dahlgren with the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate its efforts and aid midshipmen in understanding the robust naval S&T and R&D communities that support the Navy and Marine Corps operating forces.

It's not just about NSWCDD benefiting from the student’s presence; the advantages are mutual. Through the internships, the midshipmen gain hands-on experience, honing skills that go beyond the classroom. They witness real-world applications of their studies and forge connections with seasoned professionals, fostering a richer understanding of their fields.

“The midshipmen experience shows systems and test engineering processes are utilized to develop capabilities required by the fleet for the high-end fight,” said NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Philip Mlynarski. “On day one, they are directly introduced and encouraged to participate in project teams and become immersed in the research, development, test and evaluation culture and mindset.”

Midshipman Jacob Kohlmeier demonstrated his active involvement in the Sensor Data Collection and Analysis Branch, while Midshipman Zachary Meyer showcased his dedication to projects within the AEGIS-Based Engineering and Integration Branch, marking a standout start to the summer internships.

This summer four midshipmen participated in the NSWCDD internships. Among these bright minds, Midshipman Carissa Kolcum made valuable contributions to the Sensor Data Collection and Analysis Branch. Midshipman Lucas Wright delved into the areas of laser weapons technology and lethality.

Throughout her internship, Kolcum dedicated her time to shadowing and collaborating with diverse operational units responsible for the SPY Radar. She actively engaged with operational teams involved in data analysis software centers, gaining invaluable insights into their operational methodologies while acquiring hands-on experience.

Kolcum captured the significance of the SPY Radar's role, explaining, “The SPY Radar captures data from ballistic launches or unmanned aerial vehicle routes, which is then meticulously analyzed and shared with intelligence agencies to deepen our comprehension of foreign adversaries.”

Wright, pursuing studies in mechanical and nuclear engineering with an early selection in submarine warfare, found his internship to be an ideal opportunity for delving deeper into the Navy and gaining firsthand insights into its dynamics. “A degree in engineering is a degree in problem-solving,” stated Wright. “Coming into this internship gives me a better picture of what the Navy is actually like and will help me have the insight I need as I become a future officer.”

Wright’s experience centered around laser lethality, with a primary focus on conducting material tests across various systems to strategically assess the capabilities of laser systems for combat effectiveness. Wright also had the opportunity to be a part of testing initiatives that will be crucial in the development of upcoming laser weapon systems, aimed to ensure the safety and defense of our Sailors.

“It’s affecting boots on the ground, but from over here at Dahlgren, and I think that’s really cool,” said Wright.

The NSWCDD internships not only bolster Dahlgren’s technology and engineering programs’ future but also contribute to developing the students into tactical specialists.

“These midshipmen internships are extremely important for the future of not only our programs but also the young officers’ growth as tactical experts,” states Mlynarski. “I am very excited about the future internship opportunities and I’m looking at ways to expand it to more midshipmen to include the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps students from around the country.”