By Sean Green | STRIKEWERX Marketing and Communication Director

BOSSIER CITY, La. — University students spent their summer working on real world Air Force Global Strike Command projects via the Air Force Research Laboratory Scholars Program.

The AFRL Scholars Program is a summer internship for university students pursuing Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics degrees. It is administered via the Cyber Innovation Center’s partnership intermediary agreement with AFGSC.

Selected interns gained hands-on experience working with scientists and engineers on cutting edge research and technology.

“Our involvement in the AFRL Scholars Program gives students valuable experience by exposing them to emerging technologies and Air Force careers,” said Robin Nichols, CIC project manager. “The command benefits by utilizing students’ unique perspectives and existing knowledge on unique research-based projects.”

The 2023 scholars supported readiness for aircrew flying training and the Plans and Requirements Directorate’s System Equivalence and Optimization project.

Don Copsey, Plans and Requirements Directorate program manager for modeling and simulation, completed his second year as an AFRL Scholars mentor. He said a highlight was the opportunity to work with bright, young, energetic people.

“They bring an energy into your life because they have a new, innovative way of thinking when it comes to solving problems,” Copsey said.

He added that he looks forward to the summer because it’s time he can spend tackling new problems alongside the scholars.

“Scholars come in with their own education and experiences, and the command benefits by getting them to look at things in a new way,” said Copsey. “The second benefit to the command is that it’s a second pair of eyes and hands focusing on projects and getting a prototype done relatively quickly.”

Nick Arnold, AFRL scholar and student at Northern Arizona University, said his time in the program was a valuable learning experience.

“It was great to get a taste of real-world problem solving and was really an invaluable experience,” said Arnold. “Working on a problem that ultimately impacts national security is a big deal. I can see how what I’m doing affects decision makers and can have a positive impact.”

The AFRL Scholars at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana work on projects selected by the AFGSC Office of the Chief Scientist during a 10- to 12-week summer program at the CIC. The scholars contribute to unique research-based projects and graduate interns will be able to collaborate with ARFL on current research and incorporate that research into their graduate work.