USAO’ STEM students land wide range of internships this summer

A photo of Dr. Rachel Jones speaking with students at the USAO Habitat Area
Students headed around the country to further career goals

Securing internships during college are a crucial way for young people to gain real-world experience in the workforce, put their academic knowledge to the test and get a competitive advantage in today’s increasing crowded job market. To this end, four students from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma have been accepted to a variety of internships this summer related to their work in the sciences.

Environmental science and psychology double major Savannah Rivera, of Yukon, is interning at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. During her internship, Rivera will be in the lab working with continental-scale climate data, using data science techniques to quantify how and why specific ecosystems are unique within the larger climate system.

“Summer research positions are a great way to prepare yourself for post-college career options, and, coming from a small school, to get exposure to a much wider set of research opportunities.” said Dr. Rachel Jones, dean of the School of Science and Physical Education. “Even trying something for a summer and not liking it is really great information, because these students still have time to change course and find the field that truly fulfills them. I know all four of our students will do exceptionally well in the internships they are currently participating in because they have that winning combination of passion, skill and perserverence that enable outstanding achievement.”

On the opposite side of the country, environmental science major Devonian Locke, of McAlester, will intern with TERC, an independent research-based non-profit organization in Boston that focuses on developing a deeper understanding of the learning and teaching of STEM subjects.

Meanwhile, environmental science major Yeishka Reyes, of Florida, Puerto Rico, has accepted an internship with the environmental department at Avara Pharmaceuticals in her home country. She will be working with their team to input data on their programs, while learning about environmental regulations regarding the use of water, gas, light pollution and more.

More locally, first-year environmental science major Bea Bourland, of Mustang, has received a paid summer internship with the Oklahoma Water Survey in Norman, where she will be working on water quality and stream sedimentation measurements in the Norman and OKC metro area.

The increase in internships amongst USAO students has grown over the past decade. For some it has led to acceptance into graduate programs, and for others, it has led to many students being able to find employment in their field of interest immediately after graduation.

For more information, contact Jones at 405-574-1252 or