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NSWCPD’s Poster Session Showcases Summer Intern Research Projects

By Keegan Rammel, NSWCPD Public Affairs | NSWCPD | July 26, 2019


Summer interns at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) presented their research projects during a competitive poster session on July 24.

Every summer, NSWCPD hosts students from the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) internship program. This year’s poster session featured projects from 55 interns representing 31 colleges from 10 states and Puerto Rico.

This annual poster session competition is an opportunity for the interns to brief their projects and receive feedback from NSWCPD’s engineers and employees.

During their 10-week internship, students gain technical knowledge as well as valuable practical experience in the areas of problem solving, team building, and leadership. The summer internship program provides a sustainable talent pipeline by bringing top prospects in as summer interns, furthering the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Campaign Plan to the Expand the Advantage 2.0. 

The projects focused on researching solutions for current technical problems within the fleet. This year’s winning projects featured developing tools to remedy software problems on Zumwalt class destroyers, creating a tool to set standards for Electrical Power Load Analysis for future Naval assets, and using 3-D modeling and printing to produce low-cost training equipment for Sailors.

“The poster presentations provide attendees with a snap shot of a topic of interest while affording our interns the opportunity to hone both their written and verbal communication skills,” said Stephanie Davidson, Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) Program Manager and summer intern coordinator for NSWCPD. “Active learning is accomplished as the presenter and viewer guide the depth level of the knowledge transfer. Judges and attendees alike were fascinated to learn of all the work performed across NSWCPD,” 

The interns’ projects were judged for their poster displays and on the students’ ability to brief their findings to professional engineers. 

The posters were judged on their readability and conciseness, as well as on their ability to grab a passerby’s attention. They were ranked on their ability to provide enough information that an engineer could review the project’s findings without the brief. Presentations were judged on their ability to explain the projects findings in fuller detail as well as how the intern reached their conclusion.

The winning team, DanaRose Brown, Joseph Dallas, and Reese Ecklund, spent the summer working in NSWCPD’s Advanced Machinery System Integration branch. This was Ecklund’s first internship with NSWCP; Brown and Dallas had previously interned with the Command. Their project focused on the Electrical Power Load Analysis Development Tool, which would help engineers determine the electrical load that a ship would need to carry while underway. 

Currently, engineers base the Electric Power Load Analysis (EPLA) by adjusting data from previous ship designs. This method cannot be used on future, unprecedented ship designs. The team’s project leverages data such as the number of people aboard the ship to estimate the required generator size for one type of galley equipment. The data is then put into a code which derives for all loads for every piece of equipment creates the new EPLA.

Chad Balliet’s project on 3-D modeling and printing low-cost training equipment for Sailors came in second during the competition. Balliet spent his first summer at NSWCPD with the Advanced Data Acquisition Prototyping Technology and Virtual Environments (ADVAPT.VE) Lab.

“The experience has been amazing not only for my career looking forward but meeting all of the great people that work here. I performed my research in the ADAPT.VE lab mentored by Patrick Violante and the entire ADAPT.VE lab team,” Balliet said. “The major thing I learned while working over the summer was how much communication and organization is key to a successful project. I was in consistent contact with my mentors, giving updates on where the project was currently at and solutions to certain problems I was facing.”

Balliet’s 3-D models enable Sailors to use additive manufacturing for all the pieces of a soot blower allowing them to practice on less expensive 3-D printed pieces. 

“My organization was also vital for both the disassembly and assembly process,” Balliet said. “Since this was an unknown machine, I had to understand how the Soot Blower should be put together and taken apart.”

Alexandra Multer’s project investigating and resolving issues with Zumwalt-class destroyer’s Integrated Power System (IPS) came in third place. 

Since launching, the Zumwalt-class IPS has had new issues appear that were previously undetected during IPS testing at NSWCPD’s DDG 1000 Land Based Test Environment (LBTE). Multer’s project compared shipboard system tests to data from the LBTE, with any discrepancies being resolved by a software developer using the LBTE to find the root cause of the issue. Once the code was rewritten to correct the issue, it would be tested at LBTE and eventually would be a part of a software delivery for the ship. 

Every year, the summer internship program brings new perspectives from the interns and provides current employees a chance to mentor younger engineers. The program benefits both the Command as well as the student.

“The project took a lot of determination,” Multer said. “Last summer I was learning the ropes, but this summer I was doing actual engineering work. This summer taught me patience and taught me that I can solve a large issue like this if I keep working at it.”

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,600 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.