This summer, Junior Chris Vatral interned with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland. Vatral is a chemistry major here at ENC and completed a 10 week internship at the naval base, just south of Washington DC.
Vatral worked one on one with a Naval scientist for his research project during the internship. Following the completion of this project, Vatral was required to give a presentation on his research in front of dozens of highly qualified scientists working at the Naval base
For his research project, Vatral assembled and worked with lithium ion batteries. He replaced the active ingredients in the anode (negative side) of the battery with fictionalized groups of carbon nanotubes, thus creating a battery that should last longer upon discharge. The batteries were then tested for their potential discharge capacity. The sole purpose of this research project was to create a battery that lasts much longer than the commercial lithium ion batteries.
Vatral commented that, “[He] enjoyed this research internship a lot this summer. It was a great experience doing research in a government setting, which is a lot different than academia. I am definitely going to apply for research internships again for next summer.”
Before Vatral’s internship with the Navy, he completed a research internship with Dr. Carrie Read Spray, a Chemistry professor here at ENC. Vatral credits the completion of this research internship with Dr. Read Spray as a core reason for his acceptance into the Navy’s research internship program.
Internships help provide students with raw experience and vital knowledge into their specific field of study. Vatral commented that “Research is very important for graduate school, and having [completed] this internship, gives me experience for my graduate school application. It was great getting so close to a Naval scientist because it could potentially be a future career connection.”
Vatral plans to bring a lot of experience and vital knowledge from the research internship back to ENC as a chemistry student and tutor, including new chemistry and lab techniques he acquired this past summer. Vatral comments that, [He] was able to connect what [he] learned at the internship into [his] chemistry classes at ENC. This internship will help further along my major here at ENC, and will definitely help me accomplish my goals after graduation.”
After graduation, Vatral hopes to continue on academically and receive his PhD in Chemistry. Vatral is excited to look into and participate in further research and internship opportunities that may come his way.