NMSU Professor Dr. Stefan Zollner, far left, and SVAD Facility Director Frank Sage, far right, show off the new wave of WSMR interns. They are from left to right: Desirae Sanchez, Andrew Egan, Ester Thompson, Galen Helms, Joshua Morales, Ryan Lane, and Devon Thompson. (U.S. Army Photo by Drew Hamilton)
Leaders with the Survivability, Vulnerability and Assessment Directorate (SVAD) met with intern candidates in March and gave them a tour of the test facilities where they will begin their Army civilian careers. The candidates came from New Mexico State University's (NMSU) Physics Department. The head of the Physics Department, Dr. Stefan Zollner, joined the tour to get a look at opportunities for collaboration and ways to better prepare graduates to work at White Sands Test Center.
Fast Burst Reactor Facility Director, Frank Sage, welcomed the group with a few words about SVAD's mission and their role in it. "SVAD provides the DOD, National Laboratories and other customers with nuclear and electromagnetic environmental effects, directed energy, and certain natural environments along with the technical services to test and solve problems in these challenging environments," Sage said. "In carrying out this mission we become part of our Nation's nuclear deterrent. Emphasis has been placed on nuclear modernization in recent years and most recently reiterated by Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks. Renewed emphasis requires new talent. That is where each of you come in."
Sage expanded on research opportunities, "Beyond our principal mission, our test capabilities have the potential to support graduate level research. This could give students the opportunity to explore phenomena that would otherwise be inaccessible in our part of the country. We will keep an eye out for areas where our mission and research at local universities intersect."
Intern, Ryan Lane, has a background in engineering physics, electrical engineering and mathematics. He has experience working with electrostatic discharge of dielectric materials and is familiar with the hazards and safety as related to high energy explosives.
"I was offered the position and it fit in really well with my goals of staying local to study for my GRE exam and getting experience in nuclear physics."
He said working for the government at WSMR will enable him to support the mission using his talents and knowledge. "I want to help advance the sciences."
Lane said he is looking forward to getting to know the people that work at WSMR and help move our country forward to make sure we are safe and secure and preparing ourselves for a strong future when it relates to all the sciences at WSMR.
Intern, Esther Thompson, is working on a degree in Physics at NMSU, with a minor in mathematics.
She said she heard about this opportunity from a friend and applied.
"I really wanted to work somewhere where I could use my degree and see if I could fit in this career." She said she was encouraged to apply at WSMR and is really excited about the opportunity to work in the area of data analysis.
She said she is excited to learn and put her skills to use. "I think it is going to be amazing and I'm interested to see how it progresses."
The Resource Management Directorate is working to fill several vacancies across White Sands Test Center. Claudia Morales and Roxanna Nasir have been instrumental in bringing on the intern candidates, working closely with CPAC and the Army Career Development Program. Mariette Mealor and Jessica Sosa have set up Test Center supervisors with the ability to recruit through virtual career fairs at both NMSU and the University of Texas at El Paso.