Students get early career opportunities from IMPRINT
|Eric Rivera, a soon-to-graduate senior engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, works on the COUPP experiment (pictured above) as part of the IMPRINT program.
Last summer, Eric Michael Rivera designed the optics and lighting system for COUPP, a bubble chamber experiment searching for dark matter.
"I was introduced to how real world research works, a lot of people don't get that kind of hands-on experience," said Rivera, a senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Rivera is one of two students from the UIUC each year who come to Fermilab as a part of the Illinois Minority Precollege Internship program, or IMPRINT. Rivera said it was rewarding to give his input on projects. After graduation in May Rivera will return to Fermilab as a GEM Fellow, a National Consortium for Minorities in Engineering and Science fellowship program.
The IMPRINT program gives undergraduate students majoring in engineering and information technology the opportunity to gain real world experience in engineering and information technology.
Fermilab gets a chance to prepare the next generation of engineers and information technology professionals, some of whom may stay at the laboratory.
"It gives us the chance to really transition them into full-time entry-level employment," said Shelley Krivich of the Fermilab Employment Department.
IMPRINT Program student salaries come from the division/section that select the student for hire. This year, UIUC has recommended two civil engineering students and one mechanical engineering student. The program is in need of divisions/sections to support these students.
"Over the summers Eric has been returning to Fermilab, he has contributed more and more to our science and engineering effort," said CD's David Ritchie about the student he first mentored in 2005.
Michael Alvarez, a sophomore civil engineering major, started the program in 2007 and has constructed and executed 2008 FESS operations computing plan. He hopes to apply for his civil engineering degree towards construction management or consulting. He believes the program is a unique opportunity and a great addition to his resume.
"This program does open a lot of doors to members of underrepresented minorities," Alvarez said.
-- Tia Jones