W&J rising senior deep diving into research with Navy internship experience

Created: July 23, 2018
Last Updated: July 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (July 23, 2018)—Patrick Fullerton ’19 is taking his education to new depths.

The Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) physics major and math minor is spending his summer in Keyport, Wash., through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP).

“A friend of mine actually told me about the internship,” Patrick said. “I figured it was a bit of a long shot when I applied, but I thought the worst they could do was turn me down.”

To apply, Patrick had to submit his information by the end of October, an early deadline compared to other internships he had looked into. The rigorous approval process saw Patrick gaining security clearances, writing multiple essays about his interest, and sending in two letters of recommendation, his transcripts, and personal information.

When chosen for the program, Patrick was asked to identify which participating Department of Navy laboratories he’d like to work at. The base in Keyport, called the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, caught his attention and became his top choice.

“It was something that sounded unique and pretty interesting to me,” he said. “I then saw that, among other things, the base did work with 3D printing, which is something that I like to do as a hobby when I am home from school. On top of that, the location is in the Pacific Northwest, which is an amazing place to be.”

Patrick is working in the Test and Evaluation Department, which is responsible for the undersea range as well as doing research, development, and testing. Patrick has been working on a project to build an autonomous blimp, for which he designed a 3D-printed gondola and is now working on software to control the blimp. He hopes later in the month to go out on an operation and observe a range test.

Patrick knows the experience he’s getting this summer is valuable, and is grateful that he had his W&J background to help him in the program.

“There is a huge difference between being in the classroom and getting work experience in the real world. Being a physics major at W&J has provided me with a very solid set of skills that had me well prepared for this summer,” he said. “I don’t think that I would be at this internship without the help of W&J.”

W&J’s Franklin Internship Award financially supported Patrick’s experience. Awards are available to sophomores and juniors who have a GPA of at least 2.5.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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