September 6, 2023

Interns for New Consortium Radiate Success

Mentors pivotal in expanding perspectives for underrepresented students

Photo of five students

This summer, Sarah Olocha, Shaniya Pettway, Dewayne Maye, Germany Harris, and Rayonna Redmon became the first interns of the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program Partnership for Radiation Studies (PaRS) Consortium at PNNL.

Photo courtesy of PaRS interns

The encouragement of one professor brought five students from Alabama A&M University to Richland, Washington, for the summer.

Germany Harris, Dewayne Maye, Sarah Olocha, Shaniya Pettway, and Rayonna Redmon became the first interns of the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program Partnership for Radiation Studies (PaRS) Consortium at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Igniting interest in PaRS internships

The interns credit their physics professor, Stephen Babalola, for introducing them to PaRS. He knew it would be a life-changing opportunity for them.

“From personal experience, I believe that internships at national laboratories provide great opportunities to the students,” said Babalola, director of the Materials Research Laboratory at Alabama A&M University. “It is very difficult to explain the advantages and impacts of the internship to the students unless they personally experience it. This is why I strongly encouraged the students to intern through PaRS.”

At PNNL, the PaRS partnership is led by Senior Scientist Cheslan Simpson, who Babalola has worked with for more than 10 years, and Physicist Manish Sharma.

Matched with mentors

The interns were brought to PNNL as visiting researchers. At the start of their internship in May, the students were paired with mentors.

  • Pettway and Redmon were mentored by Isidro Garcia.
  • Harris and Olocha was mentored by Ryan O'Mara.
  • Maye was mentored by Manish Sharma, who received the 2023