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Student summer hire and intern programs popular at Wright-Patterson AFB

Posted 5/30/2008   Updated 5/30/2008 Email story   Print story


by Derek Kaufman
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

5/30/2008 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  -- Base civilian personnel officials here have hired nearly 200 high school and college students seeking employment this summer.

Students fill jobs in organizations across the installation ranging from life guards to administrative, science and engineering support positions, said Brenda Myers, base human resources recruiting coordinator.

Students in appropriated fund positions will typically earn from $9.41 to $17.97 per hour, depending on their educational background and level and work experience. The range for non-appropriated funded positions in Services Division recreation and food service facilities is around $7.00 - 9.00 per hour. A few summer hire positions for recreation aides and food service workers remain vacant, according to Candy Lohner, non-appropriated funds human resources director.

Myers said positions fill quickly and most of the students for this year already been selected and reported to work at the base. In order to be eligible for the summer/student programs, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen, at least 16 years of age, and currently enrolled in high school, college, or a trade/technical school.

To apply for appropriated fund position, Myers said individuals can log onto the Wright Patterson Employment Web site at https://wrightpattjobs.wpafb.af.mil and click on the Student Employment Program or contact her at (937) 257-8305. Information on non-appropriated fund positions is available at http://www.88thservices.com/humanresources.htm. Those seeking information about student jobs in government nationwide can search www.studentjobs.gov/.

Although the students come from throughout the U.S. to include Puerto Rico, a large percentage are from colleges, universities, and high schools located in the Southwest region of Ohio, Myers said.

"We're very excited this year about our summer program for students who are looking for challenging and rewarding experiences with the U.S. Air Force," she said.

A few notable and highly competitive programs encourage study in math, science and engineering technology.

"Air Force Research Laboratory has a great program called the Wright Scholar Internship, which is designed to enhance and promote math and science education for juniors and seniors in high school," Myers said. Students typically work for 10-12 weeks during the summer under the guidance of a mentor, who provides a research project for the scholar to pursue. A total of 26 participants were new hires this year, along with 20 returning students.

"AFRL is very engaged with the local community and is committed to working with companies, professional organizations and universities to utilize flexible hiring initiatives such as the summer program to employ interns and summer hires," she added.

Jackie Toussaint-Barker and Nivia Colon-Diaz, electronics engineers with the AFRL Sensors Directorate, have revitalized and designed an inclusive summer internship program within the directorate. The program goal is to provide a well rounded experience that goes beyond research.

"We take advantage of a number of established intern programs, but centralize the process and provide focus. In addition, professional skills, tech talks, and campus tours are offered to our interns," Ms. Toussaint-Barker said. "Our approach is working. This year we will have a record 118 students and visiting faculty interning at the Sensors Directorate."

None of this is would be possible without AFRL researchers volunteering as mentors, Toussaint-Barker added. Their passion and commitment is the key to success.

Some interns work outside of the base on collaborative activities. One example is an intern project at the Wright Brothers Institute's Tec^Edge center working with the Ohio Aerospace Institute to develop innovative defense sensing technologies that can be adapted to important homeland security applications.

Rob Williams, a technical advisor with the Sensors Directorate, is collaborating closely with industry and academia on a number of fronts to create internship opportunities for the students. Through this "experimental immersion," AFRL hopes to help grow a new crop of engineers and scientists to rejuvenate an aging defense industry workforce.

The Air Force Institute of Technology hired 23 students this summer through their "Excellence in Engineering Summer Internship (EESI)" program. AFIT hosts students from undergraduate institutions throughout the United States. The Graduate School of Engineering & Management at AFIT sponsors this program and has a long history of working with students and getting them involved in graduate research and education, Myers said. The EESI program allows students to develop scientific and engineering independence and self-confidence through participation in actual research projects in a graduate educational environment.

"In addition to assisting young people in the local community to gain valuable work experience, we believe that these efforts to develop future leaders will pay big dividends toward our future and to that of the Air Force," Myers said.

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