I am interning at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) this summer, which makes sense for a physics major. But I’m not actually doing physics. I’m working in protocol this summer; they’re the ones who handle all of the visits to the laboratory from government, military, and industry officials. So why am I in the protocol office? Why am I even at the lab at all?
Like a lot of opportunities in my life, it started because I got an email. And I decided to apply.
I applied to a program at the lab that specifically hires students in Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to be interns. ROTC is a scholarship program where the military, the Navy in my case, pays for my school and then I owe them five years after I graduate and commission as an officer in the United States Navy (btw, everything that I say here is my own opinion and does not represent the official position of the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense, or Department of Energy). The program is at the lab in order to facilitate closer relations between the Department of Energy, the organization that funds the laboratory, and the Department of Defense.
LLNL is one of three nuclear weapon laboratories in the country, so I got to LLNL because I am associated with the Department of Defense. But how I got into the protocol office is a less cut and dry. I am a physics major, so I originally applied with the idea that I would do physics at the lab. However, I decided that I wanted to be a physics major a little late, so I only have three semesters of my major under my belt. That coupled with the fact that I have had jobs that require communication and customer service led the intern coordinator to suggest that I work with Protocol for this summer and potentially come back to do a more physics-oriented internship next year. And that sounded like a good idea to me, so here I am.
My first day!!