INL interns receive financial help in essay contest

CAES photo The Center for Advanced Energy Studies Scholar Program Essay Contest award-winners are from left: Gemma Clark, Jacob Bair and Leilani Beard.

Three Idaho National Laboratory summer interns will receive extra financial help for school this year as winners of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies Scholar Program Essay Contest.

The winners, 16-year-old Gemma Clark, a freshman at the University of Utah; Jacob Bair, 26, pursuing a doctorate at Missouri University of Science & Technology, and Leilani Beard, a nontraditional senior at the University of Idaho, received $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

About 30 interns applied for the award money this year, Intern Program Specialist Erin Hanson said. Interns were selected based on their responses to essay prompts, which included a description of work they performed this summer at INL, as well as career interests and goals.

Bair, who interned in INL’s Modeling and Simulation group, said he enjoyed working with top researchers in an area related to his doctoral thesis.

“It was really nice because (the internship) already fell in line with what I’ve been working on the last year-and-a-half or so,” he said. “It enabled me to work with experts in the field … who were able to give me just a little bit more help than what my adviser was able to on a daily basis. So, that was really nice.”

Clark, a recent graduate of Bountiful High School in Utah, is eyeing studies in engineering and music. She interned this summer with INL’s Biological and Chemistry group.

Beard, who graduated from Blackfoot High School years ago, interned in the Biofuels and Renewable Energy Technologies group.

“I actually got to work with scientists who are extremely qualified and well-known in their fields,” she said. “It was amazing and it was a wonderful opportunity.”

Applicants had to be INL interns employed by Battelle Energy Alliance and enrolled in science, technology, engineering, math or related programs. They also had to be pursuing a bachelor’s degree at minimum, maintaining a 3.25 cumulative grade point average at the time of the award.

About 160 interns worked at INL this summer.

Reporter Kirsten Johnson can be reached at 542-6757.