DAHLGREN, Va. –
A three-week internship at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) gave Midshipman Ryan Hogg the practical experience he was seeking entering his Second Class year at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Md.
That was the theme for the out brief Hogg provided on Aug. 12, two days before he departed to Annapolis for another semester of learning.
Hogg said the one activity that stood out during his time at NSWCDD was the testing of a “T Box,” which has its name because it is shaped like the letter 'T.'
"That was cool because it was the first hands-on testing I've been able to do on my own," Hogg said. "I was able to learn all the concepts in school and finally apply them for a big project that's been years in the making. A lot of money went into it. They gave a lot of responsibility to an intern who had been there for a week. It was good and caused me to grow a lot more."
A portion of this project was part of an Innovation Grant or iGrant that the Chief Technology Office (CTO) sponsors. iGrants are a mechanism that enable the NSWCDD workforce to rapidly bring ideas to fruition to help solve complex warfighter challenges. NSWCDD and USNA have a longstanding internship program.
There have been 20 interns from USNA since 2015 and 30 since 2009. The program was suspended in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, since 2009, nearly 800 Midshipmen have been on STEM-based tours at NSWCDD.
The Midshipmen interns are usually juniors or seniors, and the internships typically last three or four weeks. They have a meet and greet with NSWCDD’s Commanding Officer the first week of their internship, which includes a welcome address and an overview of plans for the summer. Mentors and USNA coordinators attend.
Midshipmen also participate in tech briefings, tours and demos. The NSWCDD CTO worked closely with NSWCDD technical departments to offer hands-on internship opportunities.
“We received more interest than ever, with over 30 projects requesting to mentor a USNA summer intern,” said Tamara Stuart, the NSWCDD Innovation Lab Director and lead for NSWCDD USNA efforts.
The ultimate goal of the internship program is to provide job experience, research experience, mentorship, a professional network and a guide for career aspirations.
NSWCDD sponsored six USNA interns this summer, increasing their interest in the Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) career field.
EDOs are career naval officers with advanced degrees. They provide technical and business leadership in areas such as design, acquisition, construction, maintenance and modernization. An officer can become an EDO upon commissioning or through a mid-career lateral transfer after completing a surface or submarine warfare qualification.
Hogg said he will take plenty of knowledge and expertise back to the Naval Academy. His out brief demonstrated a thorough understanding of his time at NSWCDD. He said hands-on experience allowed him to learn from mistakes.
Hogg pledged to keep in touch with many of the NSWCDD employees he met in his time living at the warfare center division. He's also eager for his next chapter at the Naval Academy, where he is an active member of the Midshipmen's Ultimate Frisbee club team that placed ninth in the nation last semester.
"I enjoyed this internship a lot," Hogg said. "It gave me the inspiration to try another internship next semester. I enjoyed working with the civilian sector and next time I'd like to do something space related with NASA or Space Force. I think it's important that this internship gave me a lot of connections.”