Today at Berkeley Lab

CSU East Bay and Berkeley Lab Collaborate on New Graduate Intern Program

Jennifer Bahramian (second from left), mentored by EESA’s Climate Sciences Department Head Sebastien Biraud, is looking at how tidal effects lead to changes in exchange of carbon dioxide and methane in restored tidal marshes in the Bay Area; Anna Hill (center), mentored by EESA scientist Will Stringfellow, is working on a research project focused on identification and analysis of chemicals used for hydrolic fracturing in California; Nydra Harvey-Costello (second from right), mentored by EESA Soil and Environmental Biogeochemist Peter Nico, is working on a project focused on soil-plant microbiome interactions with a particular focus on phosphorous cycling. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

A new Berkeley Lab internship program for Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) grad students has initiated a stronger collaboration between the two institutions, building on the strengths of their respective scientific programs and bringing talented master’s-level students from the most diverse university in California to work on research projects at Berkeley Lab. The first cohort just finished a summer at the Lab and will continue to work on their projects alongside their scientific mentors throughout the school year.

“This program ties in with our larger Lab-wide diversity equity and inclusion efforts – CSUEB is an important pipeline for Berkeley Lab in our efforts to diversify the STEM pipeline,” said Susan Hubbard, Associate Lab Director of Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences (EESA) Division, who has been instrumental in developing the pilot intern program. “An additional important aspect of the internship is the joint engagement of the CSUEB advisor and Berkeley Lab mentor in the intern project, with the concept that internship will seed longer-term collaborations between the two institutions to focus on scientific challenges critical for California and beyond,” said Hubbard.

The inaugural CSUEB intern cohort and their Berkeley Lab science teams gathered for a reception Friday with leaders from Berkeley Lab and CSUEB, representatives from local congressional offices, faculty and scientists associated with the current pilot program topic, and staff from across Berkeley Lab who have received a master’s degree from CSUEB. Click photo to enlarge (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

The Berkeley Lab­­-CSUEB Graduate Student Internship supports a one-year research experience for master’s students with Berkeley Lab, including a full-time summer internship and support for one academic year. Interns will have an opportunity to explore support for a second year with their Berkeley Lab mentors through a separate process. The program will initially focus on the Earth and Environmental Sciences theme, drawing on student applicants from CSUEB Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biogeochemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and Physics departments who focus on earth and environmental sciences. With success, the pilot program could be extended to include other topics of mutual excellence across the two institutions.

“A large percentage of CSUEB students stay in the Bay Area after they graduate, so even if they don’t come back to work at Berkeley Lab, we’re still creating community ambassadors who can help grow awareness of Berkeley Lab,” said Hubbard. “Our hope is that these internships form a bond between mentors and mentees that leads to a longer-lasting collaboration.”