Physics Student to Intern at U.S. DOE

Marissa Leshnov
Marissa Leshnov

From the December 2014 edition of Desktop News | Marissa Leshnov, a third-year physics student in the College, has been selected for the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Leshnov will be one of 100 undergraduate students interning at one of 13 DOE laboratories during spring 2015. Her work for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, will focus on developing biofuels – alternative transportation fluids derived from organic matter. The 16-week program culminates with a research report and poster or oral presentation.

“There is nothing more intellectually satisfying than studying physics,” Leshnov said. “I am excited to work in an environment that will help me reinforce what I am learning in class through real-world application and will help me become a more knowledgeable researcher.”

Leshnov first learned about the internship as a freshman when one of her professors forwarded his students information about internships with the DOE. It became her goal to intern with one of the laboratories before she graduated from UA.

“The online application for the program was probably one of the most rigorous applications I have completed so far,” Leshnov said. “In addition to academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation and four essays, the application required everything to be thoroughly documented and in a specific manner. I spent weeks trying to perfect my application and craft thoughtful essays, and, luckily, it paid off.”

Despite apprehension, Leshnov encourages others to apply for internships or jobs that seem out of reach.

“Several times during the application process, I went through stages of self-doubt,” she said. “Rejection is a common fear, but it is also debilitating. Simply put, if you do not apply, you deny yourself a learning opportunity and a chance to see how your skills and experiences line up with your goals.”

Leshnov is currently conducting research in UA’s Department of Chemistry under Dr. Shanlin Pan. Leshnov also serves as director of academic engagement for UA’s Honors College Assembly and finds passion in helping other students get involved in research.

The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship provides undergraduate students who are pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics with opportunities to gain research experience at one of 17 participating DOE laboratories and facilities. The program is managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists.