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Student interning with Department of Energy laboratory

mbruun | Tue Jun 1, 2021
Shaniah Greene '22 speaks during a webinar with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Shaniah Greene ‘22 is anxious to do her part to make a more energy-secure future. The junior chemistry major will spend the summer as a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) Awardee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

Greene heard about the national program through Professor Emma Downs (Biology/Chemistry) who encouraged her to apply. In her internship, Greene will be working on semiconductor substrates. “We’re always trying to find cheaper and more efficient ways to use solar panels,” she said. “It’s essentially materials science.”

It’s a very technical field, and Greene likes to joke that no one can quite understand what she’s talking about when she tells them her planned duties. But with minors in professional writing and literature, Greene hopes to one day help make these concepts easier to grasp.

“I like the thought of making new discoveries easier for everyone to understand,” she said. 

Born in Boston and raised in Brockton, Greene has always had a passion for science. “You know those kids who get leaves and dirt in a bucket and say they’re making ‘potions?’ That was me,” she said.

She found Fitchburg State through her older sister, who graduated in 2020. She knew her sister had a good experience, and liked that her parents wouldn’t have to worry about her being too far from home.

“It’s worked out just fine,” she said. “I’m basically in love with the staff at the Antonucci Science Complex.

Greene is looking forward to her internship at the renewable energy laboratory, and was one of four undergraduates from across the U.S. highlighted this spring when Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm celebrated her as a future STEM leader at a virtual roundtable discussion.

The SULI program which Greene will complete this summer encourages undergraduate students and recent graduates to pursue STEM careers by providing research experiences at the Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. Selected students participate as interns appointed at one of 17 participating DOE laboratories/facilities. They perform research, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission.

The SULI program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) in collaboration with the DOE laboratories/facilities.

Applications for the SULI program are solicited annually for three separate internship terms. Internship appointments are 10 weeks in duration for the Summer Term (May through August) or 16 weeks in duration for the Fall (August through December) and Spring (January through May) Terms. Each DOE laboratory/facility offers different research opportunities; not all DOE laboratories/facilities offer internships during the Fall and Spring Terms.