JOINT BASE SAN ANTONO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Three student interns enrolled in the Office of Naval Research’s Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program, or NREIP, had the opportunity to present their research to mentors, scientists and staff assigned to Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio at the Battlefield Health and Trauma Building at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Aug. 4.
Brandy Mason, Thomas Nguyen, and Chloe Strupulis took part in the 10-week program, which places college and university students in Department of Navy laboratories, where they take part in real Naval research during the summer.
NREIP gives academically talented college students, graduating seniors, and graduate students pursuing STEM careers the opportunity to learn about Naval research and technology while receiving first-class mentoring by top scientists and engineers.
Mason, of San Antonio, was assigned to the Craniofacial Health and Restorative Medicine Directorate, delivered her research titled “Using Phage Display To Identify Snake Venom Components In Wound Samples.”
“I learned a lot and had to learn operations of expensive equipment in addition to public speaking,” said Mason, a 2022 graduate of the University of North Texas. “I got to meet so many smart people with different backgrounds while improving my social skills, lab experience, and experience with military health science.”
According to Mason, her mentors, Dr. Daniel K. Arens and Dr. Daniel Thompson, assigned to NAMRU San Antonio, made her experience rewarding.
“They were very patient and walked me through all the lab equipment,” said Mason, who majored in ecology. “They were very welcoming and made being at a new job not so scary.”
Thomas Nguyen, of Orlando, Florida, was assigned to the Combat Casualty Care and Operational Medicine Directorate, and briefed his research titled “Dental Aerosol Reduction System Prototype.”
“This program provided me the opportunity for character growth as this was my first time living alone and away from outside support,” said Nguyen, who is attending the University of South Florida with a double major in Health Sciences and Mechanical Engineering. “I learned to sustain myself while keeping up with a full-time job. The internship itself allowed me to meet new people and obtain new skills and knowledge that will better my future as an engineer.”
According to Nguyen, interning at NAMRU San Antonio provided a valuable experience that allows him to further grow as a person as well as giving him the opportunity to meet new people who he can confidently rely on.
“Having a network of talented intellectual individuals such as those at NAMRU San Antonio will certainly help in my development in the long run,” Nguyen said. “My mentor aided me in realizing how important guidance and teamwork are when it comes to optimizing a project to include bouncing ideas off multiple people which allowed me to continuously improve and develop as a person.”
Dr. William D'Angelo, Nguyen’s mentor, assigned to NAMRU San Antonio’s Biomedical Systems Engineering and Evaluation Department, said NREIP is a valuable program that exposes NAMRU investigators to motivated and intelligent students.
“This program is important because we can introduce very high-caliber students to our current projects and every year,” D’Angelo said. “The students are able to make incredible progress in a short amount of time and really contribute to the NAMRU San Antonio mission in a meaningful way.”
As the NAMRU San Antonio’s Student Outreach Coordinator, D’Angelo organizes the NREIP summer and fall (virtual) programs.
“In many cases, the mentors and interns establish a long-term relationship which benefits them both,” D’Angelo said. “The Navy developed this program so that promising bright students can potentially come back to the laboratories when they have finished their education. For NAMRU San Antonio, we often have interns who are interested in the medical field and gain valuable experience for medical school.”
To be eligible for NREIP, applicants must be U.S. citizens currently enrolled at a four-year U.S. college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and must have completed 31 or more college credits. Interested students can apply for NREIP at https://navalsteminterns.us/nreip/.
NAMRU San Antonio is one of the leading research and development laboratories for the U.S. Navy under the Department of Defense and is one of eight subordinate research commands in the global network of laboratories operating under the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Its mission is to conduct gap-driven combat casualty care, craniofacial and directed energy research to improve the survival, operational readiness, and safety of DOD personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.