Rocky Fernandez, District Director for Senator Bob Wieckowski (Fremont), and Deborah Cox, Field Representative for Assemblymember Bill Quirk (Hayward) and Vice Mayor, San Leandro, joined interns (middle) from Cal State University East Bay for a celebration of the launch of an internship pilot program that is also designed to initiate collaborations between CSEUB and LBNL faculty, particularly on topics important for the State of California. Fernandez is district director for California state senator Bob Wieckowski, and Deborah Cox is field representative for California Assemblymember Bob Quirk. Photos by Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

A Berkeley Lab internship program for Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) graduate students has initiated a new type of collaboration between the two institutions, building on the strengths of their respective scientific programs and bringing talented master’s-level students from the most diverse university in California to work on research projects at Berkeley Lab. The first cohort just finished a summer at the Lab and will continue to work on their projects alongside their scientific mentors throughout the school year. The pilot project was designed by Susan Hubbard, Associate Laboratory Director of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab.

In that cohort are Jennifer Bahramian (second from left above), mentored by EESA’s Climate Sciences Department Head Sebastien Biraud, who is looking at how tidal effects lead to changes in exchange of carbon dioxide and methane in restored tidal marshes in the Bay Area; Anna Hill (center), mentored by EESA scientist Will Stringfellow, who is working on a research project focused on identification and analysis of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing in California; and Nydra Harvey-Costello (second from right), mentored by EESA Soil and Environmental Biogeochemist Peter Nico, and who is working on a project focused on soil-plant microbiome interactions with a particular focus on phosphorous cycling.

Berkeley Lab commemorated this milestone by hosting a reception on Friday, September 21. The inaugural CSUEB intern cohort and their Berkeley Lab science teams gathered that afternoon with leaders from Berkeley Lab and CSUEB; faculty and scientists associated with the current pilot program topic, and staff from across Berkeley Lab. Representatives from the offices of Senator Wieckowski and Assemblymember Quirk, who represent CSUEB in the California Legislature, delivered remarks in support of the commitment of Berkeley Lab and CSUEB to develop the next generation of scientists.

Berkeley Lab Associate Director Susan Hubbard

Jason Singley, associate professor in the Department of Physics at CSUEB

“This program is well aligned with our larger Lab-wide early-career and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” said Susan Hubbard. “An additional important aspect of the internship is the joint engagement of the CSUEB advisor and Berkeley Lab mentor in the intern project, with the concept that internship will seed longer-term collaborations between the two institutions to focus on scientific challenges critical for California and beyond,” said Hubbard.

Ruth Tinnacher, CSUEB faculty in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who
partnered with Hubbard on the internship pilot.

Rocky Fernandez, District Director for Senator Wieckowski

Deborah Cox, Field Representative for Assemblymember Quirk

The Berkeley Lab­­-CSUEB Graduate Student Internship supports a one-year research experience for master’s students with Berkeley Lab, including a full-time summer internship and support for one academic year. The program will initially focus on the Earth and Environmental Sciences theme, drawing on student applicants from CSUEB Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biogeochemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and Physics departments who focus on earth and environmental sciences. With success, the pilot program could be extended to include other topics of mutual excellence across the two institutions.

“A large percentage of CSUEB students stay in the Bay Area after they graduate, so even if they don’t come back to work at Berkeley Lab, we hope to be developing members of our future community, as well as community ambassadors,” said Hubbard. “Our hope is that these internships form a bond between mentors and mentees that leads to a longer-lasting collaboration.”

Research scientists Bhavna Arora (left) and Sebastien Biraud (right) are joined by Sandy Chin, program manager for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab at the September celebration of the launch of the CSUEB intern pilot program.