http://www.nrl.navy.mil/

Naval Research Laboratory

Mechanical Engineering Intern

May 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The experience was, and continues to be, incredible. The US Naval Research Lab does groundbreaking work on all kinds of research areas, and I am still amazed that I get to be a part of it. Overall, my favorite thing is the openness to just trying stuff out. NRL is a research lab, and we're working on things nobody else has done, so there is really no hardstuck precedent to follow, and we have the freedom and flexibility to be creative in the workplace.

What I wish was different

I wish I knew more when I started, as I needed to spend a substantial part of my time just learning the bare minimum to keep up. Of course that is a standard for internships, especially when I started as a high schooler, but it is still the biggest thing I would change.

Advice

Take the opportunities you get. If someone asks if you'd be interested in a project, say yes. Take every chance you can to learn, and try to be engaged with your coworkers. It's easy to just sit back and do your work silently, but you can progress so much faster if you cooperate with others, and most of them will have invaluable knowledge to share with you along the way.
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Administrative Assistant Intern

July 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

What I wish was different

Office culture

Advice

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Mechanical Engineer Intern

June - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Laid back environment

What I wish was different

More structured intern work

Advice

Housing in the area is expensive.
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Undergraduate Research Assistant

August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Hands on, priceless experience.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Research intern

June - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The people were nice

What I wish was different

The work was bot very interesting to me

Advice

Show up ready to work hard even if it’s just an internship
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Chemistry Research Intern

May - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I enjoyed the location our housing was provided in Alexandria VA. Lots of fun things to do and explore on the weekends.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Space Mechanisms Engineer

April - September 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Challenging, Fast Paced work. Exciting work enviorment. Smart and dedicated engineer team.

What I wish was different

Nothing, very enjoyable. Be ready to work!

Advice

Be willing to work long hours, very rewarding work!
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Research Intern

May 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I liked being able to make an impact on the field of machine learning, as well as contribute to research that will be used for the betterment of the country.

What I wish was different

Shorter drive.

Advice

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is a great place to work if you're looking to make an impact in your respective field with regard to both the research and applied aspect.
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Analytical Chemist

June 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I love the atmosphere and the amount that I learned over the summer. I gained so much experience here.

What I wish was different

I wish I didn’t have to leave during my semesters and could stay there all the time.

Advice

Work hard!!! This is the adult world. Act professional be polite and be ready to learn and grow as a person.
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Mechanical Engineering Intern

June 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Loose schedule. Interesting projects. Good and engaging atmosphere

What I wish was different

Cheaper housing

Advice

Bring a car or a few roommates
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Computer Science Intern

May - August 2019 • Stennis Space Center, MS

What I liked

I felt like my work contributed to the Navy's mission. The atmosphere was laid back and the people were great.

What I wish was different

I am not a fan of software engineering which is what they work on at SSC NRL so I learned a lot but I didn't really enjoy the day to day work.

Advice

Learn all you can, some of the brightest people I have worked with were at this lab. PhDs and MS galore.
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Electrical Engineering Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The technical experience and working with fellow alumni.

What I wish was different

My initial understanding of how to improve my capability and value.

Advice

If you are looking to gain technical experience on large government projects, this is the place.
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intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I liked the research I was doing. I've always been interested in space, so exploring different aspects of radio astronomy and how it relates to research about objects like black holes and galaxies was fascinating.

What I wish was different

I wish I had more time to complete my research. A lot of my work was dependent on the speed of the computer, and many times it would take hours to carry out certain commands, which hindered the amount of work I was able to complete.

Advice

I would advise future interns to make connections with their peers. Although there is no group work involved, the internship constitutes a large portion of the summer and it is more rewarding if you make friends with people in different divisions who can share information about their research.
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Researcher

May - July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I enjoyed working in a national, government laboratory as opposed to doing research at university institutions. My network expanded as I was introduced to many professionals in my field, and even a Nobel Prize winner.

What I wish was different

I wish that I had been able to travel to New York City for the first time. I also wish that I had made a closer relationship with my mentor. The job was a little difficult because the particular research was not within my experience; being pressed for time, there was a lot of pressure to learn very quickly.

Advice

I would tell anyone to spend adequate time with their mentors. The recommendations go a long way in the professional world. Networking is key. Some of the people you meet can potentially hire you someday.
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Spacecraft Engineering Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I was given mission critical engineering design tasks. I was trusted with creating documentation and models that were used in design reviews.

What I wish was different

I wish things happened at a faster pace.

Advice

Working at a military research lab is an amazing experience that exposes you to a lot of capability.
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Astronomy Research Intern

May - July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I got to partake in real scientific research and learn new software capabilities as well as get more experience coding in Python. I was always busy and valued in my team.

What I wish was different

I didn't like sitting at a computer all day, but it's just the nature of the field of work.

Advice

Ask lots of questions when you don't understand something. It will help you down the road, and you'll find more enjoyment in what you do when you engage deeper with the material and have a deeper understanding. Also, make time to talk with those around you. Everyone in the lab has done really cool stuff, and it's really awesome to hear about it and learn about different paths you could take.
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