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2013 Diversity Internship Program Summary

September 17, 2013

Story PhotoNow in its 6th year, the NOAA-NGI Diversity Internship Program has again proven highly successful.  This year's graduating class was highlighted at a summit held in August at the Mississippi State University Science and Technology Center at Stennis Space Center.
Each year, a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students come together in the Gulf of Mexico region to study a diverse range of topics.  The 10-week summer internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled in a degree-granting program. There is an emphasis on students from communities and institutions in the Northern Gulf of Mexico region, and individuals from demographic groups underrepresented in the NOAA workforce are especially encouraged to apply.
Students from all scientific disciplines, as well as education and engineering, are eligible for these competitive internships. Scientific disciplines include biological, physical, environmental, information, computer and social sciences.
Eight students made up this year's program and each provided research presentations during the summit.  Topics ranged from water quality and watershed modeling to early life stages of fishes and the effect shellfish attributes have on marketability.
In addition to the presentations by interns, a NOAA Career Roundtable was held for the students to explore career paths with personnel from several NOAA Line Offices.  Moderated by Julien Lartigue, NOAA Science Coordinator, the roundtable included other NOAA representatives from the National Coastal Data Development Center, RESTORE Act Science Program, Coastal Services Center, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and National Data Buoy Center. 
Since the Diversity Internship Program's inception in 2008, there have been 56 students to complete the program - 19 males and 37 females.  Of that total, there were 28 undergraduates, 23 Masters candidates, and 5 PhD candidates.  
The program hails success stories for many of its participants, including:   
Idrissa Boube, 2010 diversity program graduate from University of Southern Mississippi, is an environmental scientist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management;
Joojhyun "Cheetos" Hwang, 2012 diversity program graduate from Mississippi State University, is a PhD candidate in Sydney, Australia;
Sachiko Hayasaka, 2011 diversity program graduate from Universidad Veracruzana, is now working at Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a National Protected Area and World Heritage Site in Mexico;
Gabriel Roman-Valentin, 2011 diversity program graduate from Mississippi State University, is now attending graduate school at the University of Puerto Rico, studying watershed management and entrophication;
Veronica Alston, 2012 diversity program graduate from Tuskegee University, will participate in the 2013 Woods Hole Partnership Education Program; and
Francis Tran, 2012 diversity program graduate from Mississippi State University, is beginning a co-op with Calvert Company, Jackson, MS, building highly engineered specialty components for power plants.
For more information on the NOAA-NGI Diversity Internship Program, visit:  or