Y‑12 and Pantex will both be represented during the 2016 Weapons Internship Class. HaliAnne Crawford, a process engineer at Pantex, and Aaron Lee, a shift technical advisor at Y‑12, were selected to participate in the highly sought-after internship. The program started Sept. 21 and runs through Aug. 25, 2016. During this time, Crawford and Lee will spend time at Sandia National Laboratories in a classroom setting and will visit the other nuclear sites.
"The first half of the course will be an intense education on weapon-related material. Not only will the candidates learn technical details about weapon systems, they will also learn processes and site interactions that will provide a comprehensive picture of the Nuclear Security Enterprise," said Colby Yeary, director of the stockpile program and chair of the Weapons Internship Program selection team. "They will visit a number of the sites to learn how things work first hand."
After visiting the sites, participants will spend the last half of the internship working on a specific project that will not only add value to the individuals but to the enterprise as well.
"I know several people who have participated in the program. I have wanted to pursue this for quite some time, but the timing was never right. This year I felt like I was ready and that it was time to apply," Crawford said. Out of the five program graduates from Pantex and the four from Y‑12, Crawford is the first female participant from either site.
For Lee, the chance to learn such a variety of information in a relatively short amount of time is an exciting prospect. "The ability to quickly become an expert on something so unique and complex is a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity. There is no single job or assignment that would allow someone to gain the experience and knowledge that this program offers," Lee said. "Accumulating the amount of experience and knowledge imparted during the duration of the Weapon Intern Program would take over a decade without this program."
The process of getting accepted is not easy. This is a prestigious program in the weapons community and requires applicants to be interviewed and selected by a cross-organizational panel. Yeary said there were strong candidates; however, the combination of background, technical expertise and anticipated contributions led to Crawford and Lee being selected.
"I have always been passionate about learning, and I'm very excited about this opportunity. Through this experience, I will gain a 'big picture' understanding of how all the different sites work together to support the mission of the nuclear weapons complex," Crawford said.
Besides gaining new information and being able to better educate peers and stakeholders, Crawford and Lee will bring back an improved ability for each site to execute the mission. "I am confident that HaliAnne and Aaron will find the program a challenging, yet rewarding experience," Yeary said. "I am also anxious to see the future contributions they provide to CNS and the NSE."