http://www.pnnl.gov

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Robotics Intern

June - August 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

I liked working with other mechanical engineers and computer scientists on a project I was interested in. I liked that I got to work independently and learn new software on my own and develop my problem-solving skills.

What I wish was different

I wish the opportunity was in person.

Advice

Don't give up when things get difficult.
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OMICS lab intern

May 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

I really liked learning about cell culture and growing cells.

What I wish was different

I wish the environment was more welcoming and open. I also wish that someone would bother to train me how to do actual lab work instead of what I've currently been doing.

Advice

Work environment makes or breaks a job. It really sucks when the job is exciting but the environment is one that is hard to succeed in.
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Machine Learning Intern

June - August 2021 • Pittsburgh, PA

What I liked

I enjoyed my advisor's strong interest in my learning what I wanted to learn. He also exhibited great flexibility, allowing me to pivot to a different topic for the last 2/3 of the summer

What I wish was different

N/A

Advice

If you are interested in a career in research you cannot go wrong with PNNL!
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Technology Intern

August 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Being online has made it easy to attend class and still participate! My internship has allowed me to learn more about construction, and to train for a HERS certification!

What I wish was different

Advice

An online opportunity can be just as informative as an in-person one! I think I've learned a lot already that could make me more useful in a construction position just from working on the BASC website that a hands-on construction internship may not have a chance to cover.
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Tech Intern 4

May 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

I liked everything about the internship, I learned so much during my time and I had a great mentor that was always willing to help me. They paid me extremely well and my work had a real impact on a project. There are also many resources available for interns.

What I wish was different

I wished the internship would have been in-person as opposed to remote, but I understand why it was not this past summer.

Advice

Do not be afraid to ask for help and I wish I would have asked more questions throughout my time.
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Technical Intern

June - September 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

During my internship, I was in close contact with members of my team. My deliverables were always clearly communicated, and my work noticeably contributed to the progress of my team towards their larger objectives.

What I wish was different

Sadly, over the summer of 2021, internships were virtual. Being able to come onto campus would have been nice.

Advice

Communication is key in any sort of team-oriented workplace. The success I saw over the course of my internship was made possible by clearly communicating both my capabilities/progress and needs to my team regularly.
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Technical Student

June - August 2021 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Very organized, great networking opportunities, mentors were top-notch

What I wish was different

Only ~10 weeks long

Advice

Go to any events you think might be interesting outside of your internship. You will learn a lot and get additional networking in
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Software Engineering Intern

May 2020 • Richland, WA

What I liked

My internship was remote, and the IT personnel at PNNL did a fantastic job of ensuring that I and my fellow interns had all of the equipment and software that we needed to contribute effectively towards our teams' projects. Also, the project managers and other team members did a great job of communicating and making sure that we had a remarkable internship experience.

What I wish was different

It would have been nice to work in the same physical location as my coworkers, but obviously this was not a viable or safe option during the spring and summer of 2020.

Advice

Be proactive in finding opportunities for tasks during an internship. Take deadlines seriously, but also do your best to pursue professional development and networking opportunities outside of project work.
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Tech Student 3

September 2017 • Richland, WA

What I liked

I am able to learn and explore a lot of different technologies used at the lab. I also get to contribute to meaningful projects that have an impact.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Undergraduate Intern

March 2019 • Seattle, WA

What I liked

The flexibility regarding my priorities for school as well as opportunities to attend conferences as part of the Lab.

What I wish was different

None really. It has been really great.

Advice

Be flexible, coordinate with your higher-ups,showcase your skills, and be a sponge and soak in all of the learning available. Don't be afraid to branch out.
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Technical Intern

June 2019 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Excellent experience.

What I wish was different

Advice

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High Performance Computing Intern

June - August 2019 • Richland, WA

What I liked

I liked that I learned a lot of new things and had close mentorship.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Software Engineering Intern

June 2017 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Learning in a work environment, getting to meet researchers from across the lab. Solve complex business problems.

What I wish was different

I missed out on some of the cool tours.

Advice

Networking should be your number one priority as an intern.
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Tech student

May 2019 • Seattle, WA

What I liked

Environment and the people were fantastic.

What I wish was different

N/A

Advice

Take a look through all the programs they offer.
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Project Controls Intern

June - August 2019 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Fun projects and very relevant experience for my future goals

What I wish was different

Less government bureaucracy

Advice

Sometimes you have to disagree and commit when you don't agree on specific inefficient practices.
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SULI Research Intern

May - August 2019 • Sequim, WA

What I liked

I enjoyed the research I took part in--I worked in analytical environmental chemistry, characterizing a passive sampling device prior to field use. I was offered a lot of independence in my work and my input was valued. I also really enjoyed the friendly and supportive work environment of the Marine Sciences Laboratory.

What I wish was different

The workplace as a whole was very interdisciplinary, which I really enjoyed. However, I was in one of the only chemistry-based labs, so it was hard to talk about issues I was experiencing with my fellow interns, most of whom were in biology-based labs.

Advice

Don't be afraid to apply for internships or jobs far away from your hometown. I'm originally from Ohio and spending the summer in the Olympic Peninsula seemed intimidating at first, but it opened up new avenues for connections and familiarity with the field in which I'm interested. The administration at MSL was very helpful in finding the interns housing and answering questions we had about the area.
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Electrical Eng Intern

June - September 2019 • Richland, WA

What I liked

The national lab has lots of summer activities for interns. There are work-life balance. I collaborated in the multidisciplinary team and learn a lots from them.

What I wish was different

I wish I have more time to work and study there.

Advice

Be mindful and curious about different projects. Ask questions to learn more.
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UI/UX Designer Intern

June 2018 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Small community environment and personal connections

What I wish was different

Connecting with other UX designers and working on other projects that I am interested.

Advice

Being open minded and adapt the pace of the company
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Nuclear physicist intern

June - August 2018 • Richland, WA

What I liked

My mentor and the research

What I wish was different

Being in a different directorate

Advice

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Electronics Engineering Intern

September 2017 - June 2018 • Richland, WA

What I liked

Hands on work, impactful projects, everyone is eager to help you learn

What I wish was different

Projects can get tense when funding starts to run out near end of fiscal year, they are good at making sure interns have things to do but full time employees otherwise have to seek out projects to work on

Advice

Make the most of your internship by seeking out projects that sound interesting and network with other groups to learn more about what kind of projects/research is happening at the lab
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