Earlier this month, 15 interns joined the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) to begin the 2022 summer internship program. While receiving meaningful on-the-job training, the interns develop real-world leadership skills and experience a professional work environment to prepare them for future careers. Students hail from across Southern Virginia.
The interns were assigned to work on projects unique to their mentors’ respective departments.
Megan Pollok and Seraiye Johnson are assisting the Applied Research division with AgTech research. Pollok is examining the use of beneficial bacterial endophytes in the treatment of Fusarium Head Blight, a fungal disease commonly occurring in small-grain crops. She is experimenting with eight varieties of winter wheat and hopes to continue this research in her undergraduate studies. Johnson is experimenting with agricultural technology to see its effects on plant nutrient uptake and growth.
Parker Burke and Benjamin Boles are working with the Research team to help further develop new components of IALR’s SMART Table robotic plant imaging system. Burke and Boles also use python coding and data analytics for 3D printing.
Graydon Smith and Elizabeth Burrell are conducting biotechnological research. The interns experiment with hydroponically grown plants, testing the effects of beneficial bacteria in controlling and fighting plant diseases.
Grayson Haskins, Rachel Martin and Kaden Knight are interning within the Advanced Learning department. Haskins and Martin help to promote and establish a variety of efforts and programs, engage with students in summer STEM camps, and are developing a scavenger hunt/ escape room experience for the GO TEC mobile lab. Knight works as the Data Analytics Intern, assisting with data analysis for the GO TEC and Work Ready Community initiatives.
Rachel Davis assists the Public Relations and Communications department with building positive public awareness and brand identity through the website, social media, newsletter and other communications strategies.
Jackson Boles is interning in the Institute Conference Center, where he identifies methods to extend the database for Megabytes café. Additionally, Boles supports his department by assisting in event set-up, guest engagement and marketing techniques.
Clark Givens assists the Facilities Maintenance team by updating inventory, prioritizing safety throughout IALR’s growing campus, and performing various tasks such as light repair, motor replacement and landscaping.
Interning with the Economic Development department, Vanessa Argueta and Emily Ebalo work with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Both interns are researching different aspects of the region to then promote the benefits through social media and other public relations platforms.
Glenda Argueta works in the Information Technology department, assisting with software installation and updates, responding to user requests, and aiding in system and equipment set-up for IALR’s events.
Each intern is making significant contributions and will present their summer work to IALR staff when their experience ends in August.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) welcomed nine interns for the 2021 summer session. Benefits of this internship include gaining on-the-job training and real-world leadership development experience valuable to future careers.
Each intern worked on projects pertaining to the focus of their assigned department. Megan Pollok, Graydon Smith and Samuel Hedrick assisted Dr. Lowman and the Research team. Pollok worked on a lettuce growing project she said would help determine “if beneficial plant bacteria can help improve heat tolerance in cool weather horticultural crops.” Hedrick worked with the SMART table, a precision imaging platform for plant research. He programmed a camera to take and file images, created a Graphical User Interface to set parameters, like the number of plants on the table and intervals at which the table should run, and used image analysis tools to gather data from the photos. Smith helped test the disease-fighting capabilities of IALR’s library of more than 2,000 beneficial bacterial plant endophytes. He inoculated test subject wheat seedlings and seeds with strains of the Fusarium fungus, a common plant disease.
Cassandra Wade aided Human Resources by creating a performance-based bonus system for IALR employees, modernizing new hire orientation presentations, and creating a visual chart that shows lines of command in IALR staff throughout various divisions. Katherine Clatterbuck organized a Women in STEM panel, in which a board of women in STEM fields converse with students about their future career interests. Benjamin Boles helped the IT department arrange equipment for webinars, update computers with new software and aid IALR staff with technological inquiries.
Kaitlyn Davis and Jahna Waters produced communications like this newsletter story, developed social media content, captured photos of events, and more. Emily Ebalo worked in the Economic Development department where she conducted research on the region’s assets and resources; supported housing studies; assisted with site, industry and leader photo and drone shoots; and helped coordinate economic development announcements in the region.
All interns were hard at work during this program, which culminated with a presentation showcasing their projects. To view more photos, visit bit.ly/IALRinterns21