Many high school juniors spend the summer before their senior year with friends or classmates they may not see often following graduation. But, 18-year-old Andrew Kimmell spent last summer as an intern with the Army Education Outreach’s Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program helping to develop technology to keep Soldiers safe.
The SEAP matches DoD scientists with qualifying high school students beginning as early as the 10th grade. The students receive a stipend according to experience and education level while providing the experience of conducting research in DoD laboratories.
Kimmell said his parents found the internship position and encouraged him to apply.
“Honestly, the internship was like nothing I had experienced before,” Kimmell said. “Not only did I get to work with high-tech precision machines, but I had a staff of knowledgeable engineers and machinists to help me whenever I ran into a problem I couldn’t solve myself. It was a snapshot of working with people in the STEM field that helped me make the final decision on what career path I should be following.”
During his internship, Kimmell supported the Unmanned System Team of the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Business Unit at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
“Doing a job for the military was a great service that I got to provide, but I was mainly focused on getting it done and working on a problem that needed to be solved,” Kimmell said. “Helping a design and manufacturing facility gave me an eye opening and prospective experience, and I’m glad that I got to serve my country in doing so.”
The project, called Deep Purple, was introduced to Soldiers and tested during the 2018 Maneuver Support Sustainment Protection Integration Experiment, or MSSPIX, held at Fort Leonard Wood. It is also currently on display at the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School in the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence headquarters building.
“I think it’s great that I got to work on a project that’s being shown off as an example,” Kimmell said. “You get a really gratifying feeling when you know that something you helped put together is satisfactory enough to be displayed like that.”
Mark Colgan, CCDC CBC lead electrical engineer and Unmanned Systems team leader, said the center has participated in various internship and apprenticeship programs over the decades.
“These programs benefit everyone involved — the students are exposed to real-world challenges, mentors learn from the interactions, and colleagues are able to share their experiences,” Colgan said.
Kimmell graduated high school May 19 and will be heading back to CCDC CBC to continue his work before attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville through the Air Force ROTC program where he will pursue a degree in computer science.
“Andrew led a multi-disciplinary approach to solving the challenge of autonomous navigation by an unmanned ground vehicle, which required teamwork, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science skills,” Colgan said. “We are excited for Andrew to return this summer to continue his work on the unmanned ground vehicle (Rover) and Array Configured of Remote Network Sensors (ACoRNS) payloads.”
Kimmell said he hopes to see more students take advantage of the opportunities available through the AEOP.
AEOP offers internships at several locations across the country. Summer program applications open the November prior with a February deadline. Chosen applicants are notified beginning May 1 and the internship runs June through August. For more information on the Army Education Outreach Program, visit www.usaeop.com.