Thursday, May 30, 2013

Washington Internships for Students of Engineering:

The 2013 Season Kicks Off

2012 WISE Interns on Capitol Hill
Some readers may remember that I once wrote a post about a technology policy internship program called the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering.  The acronym for this program, conveniently, is WISE, and so the interns often call themselves the "WISE guys."

When I wrote that post in early 2012, I told readers that I had a long-time involvement with the program through the American Nuclear Society (ANS), which is one of the sponsors of the program.  Little did I know at the time, but a little more than a year later, I was selected to be the "faculty member in residence" for the 2013 season.

The program starts next Monday and runs for 9 weeks, until early August.  During that time, I will arrange for the 14 rising college seniors in the program to visit a number of government agencies and other organizations in the Washington area, and will supervise them in the research on a technology policy topic and the preparation of a research paper.  I will be aided in that effort by mentors from the 7 engineering Societies, including the ANS, who collectively sponsor and manage the program.

I anticipate that I may find some interesting fodder for this blog in my work with the WISE interns this summer, so I thought I'd use this post as an introduction.

I will preserve the anonymity of the interns, in this blog and in any others I do on WISE, so I will not provide names or other identifying information.

The 14 students come from 13 schools in 11 states.  They have already identified their tentative research topics.  A majority of the topics have something to do with energy use--either energy supply (nuclear power and natural gas), energy demand (biodiesel fuel, fuel cells, and other transportation-related options, and energy efficiency in homes), and energy transmission (smart grid).  Two topics are on water management, and one each is on telecommunications, radioisotopes, and technology for the disabled.

I cannot tell at this point what the summer will bring, but I suspect that I will watch the interns learn a lot about technology policy, and at the same time, I will learn a lot about how the upcoming generation deals with their first exposure to live "inside the Beltway."  If I have some interesting observations, I'll be sure to share them.


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