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NEWS | June 23, 2021

NSWC Panama City ignites STEM learning through college research internships

By Katherine Mapp NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Students are continuing to further their education long after the traditional school year is over. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) welcomed 18 college students for a ten-week summer internship.

Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) provides an opportunity for college students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.

The goals of NREIP are to encourage participating college students to pursue science and engineering careers, to further their education via mentoring by laboratory personnel and their participation in research, and to make them aware of DoN research and technology efforts, which can lead to employment within the DoN.

Rebecca Boxerman, incoming Office of Naval Research global science advisor to Naval Surface Forces Command, NREIP mentor at NSWC PCD and former NREIP intern, said she wanted to give back to the program that gave so much to her.

“I am incredibly passionate about mentorship, but more than anything because this is where I got my start with the Navy,” said Boxerman. “I was an NREIP intern in 2006 and had the opportunity to work on an airborne support system that is in the Fleet today. I want to give back to the program because it gave so much to me.”

Boxerman said she encourages others at all stages of their career to step up and make themselves available to the next generation of engineers, scientists, and support staff.

Shauna Love-vonKnoblauch, NSWC PCD student programs lead, said hosting the interns aligns with NSWC PCD’s strategic campaign plan and paves the way for promising careers with the Navy.

“In NSWC PCD’s strategic goal to be recognized as a model organization, programs such as the NREIP program support the command to be the employer of choice by enabling an opportunity to recruit, develop, and retain top talented personnel,” said Love-vonKnoblauch.

Julizette Melgar, NREIP intern and University of South Florida student, said she applied to the NREIP program because it opened doors to being able to research on projects she was interested in, such as unmanned systems and systems modeling.

“I wanted to be a part of the diverse, technical workforce that is dedicated to improving Navy and Marine Corps operations,” said Melgar. “I have enjoyed learning more about design and countermeasures systems. It has been a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and grow as a professional. “

Melgar said she believes the program plays a key role in her professional development.

“The NREIP program is important for my development because I am learning more about what it’s like to be an engineer on the day-to-day basis,” said Melgar. “I am gaining experience to the professional environment and am learning the importance of skills like communication and discipline.”

As part of their internship, the interns attended a tour of NSWC PCD to learn more about the command’s mission areas, capabilities, and opportunities. Between NSWC PCD and Navy Experimental Diving Unit, ten Universities are represented at Panama City Navy laboratories.

NREIP provides competitive research internships to approximately 800 college students this year conducting research at 44 DoN laboratories across the country.

NSWC PCD is the largest tenant command aboard Naval Support Activity Panama City employing more than 1,500 scientists, engineers and support staff in the areas of research, development, test and evaluation, and in-service support in Mine Warfare, Naval Special Warfare, Diving and Life Support, Amphibious and Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare Systems, as well as other missions in the Littoral Battlespace. 2021 marks the 76th year of the U.S. Navy in Panama City, Florida.