The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) hosted 17 summer interns for an eight-week, paid experience during the Summer of 2023. From recent high school graduates to students pursuing their master’s degrees, these interns worked in various divisions and departments across our organization.

“IALR’s 2023 cohort of summer interns made tangible contributions to our organization. The interns gained valuable experience while furthering IALR’s mission of driving economic transformation in Southern Virginia.”Dr. Julie Brown, Vice President, Advanced Learning

Interns 2023

Below is a short recap of what each intern contributed to IALR during their summer internship.

  • Morgan Kelehar and Lleyton Barber, Research and Data Analysts: Lleyton and Morgan compiled workforce and career and technical education (CTE) program data and completed various marketing and research tasks for the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Morgan studies Data Analytics at Missouri State University and Lleyton is pursuing his Master of Business Administration from Longwood University.
  • Moises Vivas, Engineering Pathways: Moises reviewed quality management systems, developed 3D models of equipment and learned different techniques for 3D printing while working with the Manufacturing Advancement division. Moises studies Mechanical Engineering at UNC Charlotte.
  • Finn Holbrook, Public Relations: Finn supported content development, brand engagement and media relations efforts with photojournalism, social media, research and feature writing for IALR communications channels. Finn studies Political Philosophy, Policy & Law at the University of Virginia.
  • Jacob Trainor, Institute Conference Center: Jacob was tasked with analyzing monthly sales data, updating contact databases, distributing menu surveys to customers and working in the Megabytes café. Jacob studies Business Economics and History at Hampden-Sydney College.
  • Kendall Moore, Coding and Robotics: Kendall explored several design concepts before landing on a hydroponics system to be incorporated into IALR’s SMART Tables. Kendall studies Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia.
  • Landon Jones, Data Analyst: LJ entered, organized, and analyzed various datasets for IALR’s Advanced Learning division, including pre-and post-survey responses from the regional Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC™) program. Landon is studying Statistics at the University of Virginia.
  • John Roark, Agricultural Technology: John worked in IALR’s greenhouses and conducted an experiment on the impact of an IALR biostimulant on dill plant growth with limited fertilizer. John studies Environmental Policy and Planning at Virginia Tech.
  • Hunter Pruitt, Coding and Robotics: Hunter worked to improve IALR’s SMART Tables with programs that automate plant coordinate location and analyze photos to interpret plant motion. Hunter is studying Computer Science at North Carolina State University.
  • Clark Givens, Facilities: Clark completed numerous ongoing maintenance and upkeep tasks like installing LED lights, inspecting fire extinguishers, and helping with repairs when equipment malfunctioned. Clark is pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology from Radford University.
  • Jonathan Yoder, Biotechnology: Jonathan conducted experiments to explore the impact of different biostimulants on lettuce in various temperatures. Jonathan obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environment & Sustainability from William & Mary in the Spring of 2023.
  • Trevor Riddle, Human Resources: Trevor conducted initial screenings, scheduled interviews with job applicants and worked on several employee engagement initiatives. Trevor studies Human Resources Management at Virginia Tech.
  • Arvan Jindam, Information Technology: Arvan assisted in responding to technology problems and needs of IALR employees and helped with significant network updates. Arvan studies Information Technology at George Mason University.
  • Grant Gibson, Biotechnology: Grant conducted experiments on the impact of biostimulants to improve plant growth and reduce the impact of pathogens and diseases. Grant studies Microbiology at Virginia Tech.
  • Rachel Martin, EmPOWER: Rachel inputted and analyzed survey data for the 2022 Career ChoICE Expo events and helped organize an intern trip to Washington, D.C. Rachel studies Information Logistics Technology at Virginia State University.
  • Elizabeth McAdams, Agricultural Technology: Elizabeth conducted an experiment on radish microgreens, testing the impact of seed rating and propagation material on yield. Elizabeth is studying Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech.
  • *Spence Thomas, Coding and Robotics: Spence assisted with general operations in the greenhouses, helped build a new SMART Table and developed a custom computer with a 3D scanner for plant imaging. Spence attends Galileo Magnet High School and the Academy for Engineering and Technology at IALR.

Available summer internship positions for 2024 will be posted in the early spring of 2024. Candidates must be: a high school graduate with plans to attend college in fall of 2024; an undergraduate or graduate level college student; OR a recent college graduate, within the last 12 months. All internship positions will be shared on the internships page.


*Spence was an Academy for Engineering and Technology intern who worked fewer hours*