Michael Negale wades through the knee-high grass, instruments in hand and equations in mind. His job isn’t easy — measuring solar radiance in a stalk is hard enough, but calculating the amount of energy storage?
Tough as it was, 10 weeks of practice made this a comfortable routine during his summer internship.
Negale, a senior majoring in Physics and Math, interned at the esteemed Argonne National Laboratory.
Aside from measuring solar radiance in grass, he remotely calibrated equipment in Oklahoma and Kansas while remaining in the laboratory in Illinois. The experience was valuable.
“In school, you do a lot of book work, but you don’t actually get to go out and get real life experience,”
Negale said. “Internships get you into the real world to get experience and use what you’ve learned in school.” Negale was also able to work with an experienced scientist.
“He was a meteorologist and very knowledgeable in his field,” Negale said. “He was able to explain things, how they work and why we did what we did.”
Getting involved in the program required some planning. After his Physics professor suggested that he look into the program, Negale had to apply last December to be considered. He was lucky enough to land a coveted paid internship.
Offering words of advice to students considering the internship path, Negale said, “[An internship] will give you an idea of what the jobs are like in that area [of interest] … I was a double major, and I didn’t know what exactly to do with grad school. After this internship, I decided to focus on energy or meteorology. This [internship] gave me direction.”