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Coast Guard Research and Development Center Hosts Summer Interns from Three Military Academies


The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center hosted interns from three service academies – representing the Navy, Air Force and Army – this summer. Interns from the Air Force and Naval academies had an opportunity to pilot a response boat during a station visit. From left, Cadet 2nd Class Matt Cuoco, Midshipman 1st Class Tommy Reeder, Midshipman 1st Class Morgan Frazier, Midshipman 1st Class Steven Fedorovich and Midshipman 1st Class Jamie Miller. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

For the first time in its history, the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center (RDC) in New London, Connecticut, hosted summer interns from three service academies. From June through August 2019, interns from the Navy, Air Force and Army took up residence at the Coast Guard Academy and learned about the Coast Guard through participation in research and development projects, visits to Coast Guard stations and engagement with Coast Guard cadets.

Each intern was “assigned to a specific project and worked directly with the project manager and an assigned military mentor, allowing the intern to be fully immersed in a project and have a real sense of purpose for the summer,” explained Dr. Joseph DiRenzo, director of research partnerships and public affairs officer for the RDC. The projects: investigating the application of drones to oil spill response, helping create a new communication system within the Long Island Sound Station, improving disaster response efforts, observing Coast Guard air stations across the country to determine the best distribution of assets, and evaluating the effect of in-situ burn oil residue on commercially important fish. In addition to their involvement in RDC projects, the interns also visited a Coast Guard sector and an air station and boat station. The interns highlighted driving a response boat and piloting drones among their favorite experiences.

The experience was a “win-win” for all involved. For the Coast Guard, hosting interns from other service academies provides an opportunity to “expose them to its missions, capabilities, history and service culture,” DiRenzo said. “In turn, the military interns gave us insights into their service and experiences.” For the interns, the experience provided the opportunity to test and expand their problem solving skills by working on projects in which they had little to no background experience. As future leaders within their branches, the interns are also excited to take lessons back to better their respective branches. “There are many different cultures and thoughts that each service brings,” said Midshipman 1st Class Morgan Frazier, and embracing these differences “has the potential to better each service.” 

The RDC hopes to host a mix of military and non-military interns next year.

Cadet Emily Johnsrud of the West Point Military Academy toured Station New London during her internship in August. While at the Research and Development Center, she worked on a project to determine the effects of in-situ burn oil residue on commercially important fish. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

For more information: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page