Summer Internships: An Experience and Adventure

Geoff Moores, a junior at the U.S. Military Academy, fires a .50 caliber rifle during a Special Forces training program at Fort Campbell, Ky., this summer.

The intern is traditionally the lowest worker on the totem pole, responsible for such lofty tasks as getting the coffee order correct. Yet some college students find summer experiences that were made to order.

Brother and sister Geoff and Aimee Moores of Kentlands both spent their time on U.S. Military bases this summer. Aimee, entering her senior year at the University of Virginia, spent three weeks at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii as part of a program called CTLT, which stands for Cadet Troop Leader Training. The idea behind the training is to have cadets shadow a second lieutenant in a real unit to allow them to gain a better understanding of what they’ll be doing once they commission.

“In my case, my professor of military science was given a Medical Services CTLT slot for a female, which he offered to me knowing that I hope to go to medical school and join the Army Medical Corps,” Aimee said. “This CTLT slot [gave] me a chance to see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work. And I absolutely couldn’t pass up a free trip to Hawaii!”

During her tenure, Aimee shadowed her lieutenant through her agenda for the day and participated in a Warrior First Responder class, which taught her life-saving interventions for a field casualty to increase the chances of survival before transport.

On the weekends, Aimee was “free to explore the island the way we would if we were officers, and [we] certainly [took] advantage of that!”

Geoff Moores, a junior at the U.S. Military Academy, was assigned to a Special Forces group at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“This [was] a rare experience for me to learn about what goes on in the Army outside cadet life (what we call ‘The Big Army’),” he said. “And lucky as I am, I received a slot to hang out with a Special Forces A-Team.”

An A-team is the smallest unit capable of operating in a special operations role by itself.

Geoff’s team was a HALO team, which he describes as “High Altitude, Low Opening specialty team, which means they are about as good as people get when it comes to infiltration via parachute.”

Although he [was] primarily shadowing a captain, Geoff said he “[learned] much from each member of the team as they all hold a wealth of knowledge about their specialties and warfare over the past decade.”

While stationed at Fort Campbell, Geoff trained on multiple weapons’ systems and spent several days in the field practicing evasion and survival techniques. Although this is just a small part of what these units do, Geoff was left with an impression of an “immense sense of confidence in [this] group and a desire to make my own way into a similar unit.”

Michael Shapiro (fourth from right) and his fellow counselors at 6 Points Sports Academy Summer Camp.

University of Maryland junior and Kentlands resident Alex Griffith interned this summer at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Pax River Naval Base. Griffith was assigned to AIR 4.12 Research and Intelligence and worked in a supporting role for the chief technology officer and others. His contributions included building “a website that they are now using to store all documents associated with the research projects that NAVAIR is funding,” said Griffith.

“I also helped to research and organize a travel guidance binder, which implements NAVAIR’s new travel policies as well as providing step-by-step instructions on how to complete the proper travel paperwork,” he said.

While the internship did not have the engineering bent that his aerospace engineering major would dictate, Griffith relished the experience of working in a professional environment.

“NAVAIR did a great job of involving their summer students in things around base, so I was able to go on many different tours, including ones of the Navy Test Pilot School, HX-21 (their helicopter hangar), a materials lab, and a lab dedicated to better utilizing using lasers at NAVAIR,” he said. “It was also amazing to be at a base where there are F-18s and F-35s flying around and knowing that that is happening at only a handful of places around the world.”

He summed up the experience, saying, “I loved my time there, While I was not exactly doing what I want to do coming out of college, NAVAIR itself is a place where I would love to work so I am extremely happy to have my foot in the door and have made connections within the organization.”

Although Lakelands resident Michael Shapiro was compensated for his work at a sports summer camp, he earned a lot more than a paycheck.

“I had a blast with these kids,” said Shapiro, a junior at Lafayette College. “I worked as a counselor/assistant coach at the 6 Points Sports Academy in Greensboro, N.C. It is a camp in the Union for Reform Judaism, but it is the only one that focuses almost exclusively on sports.”

The camp, housed on the campus of the American Hebrew Academy, offered teachings about the Jewish faith and culture in addition to the sports and more traditional camp activities like bonfires and color wars for children entering the fourth through 11th grades. Shapiro was impressed with the facilities, saying, “the athletic fields were top notch and we had air conditioning everywhere.”

The campers left an impression on Shapiro as well. “I absolutely enjoyed being at camp this summer,” he said. “The campers were great, and I enjoyed coaching and guiding them. … I loved the camaraderie and relationships that I built with my fellow counselors. It has led me to consider working with kids for my career, maybe in education or a related field. This summer confirmed the joy I have in coaching and working with kids. I told my parents as soon as I got home that I wanted to go back next year, and I fully intend on returning.”

For these local kids, enjoying summer meant a chance to simultaneously experience something new, make connections and further career goals.