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Interns spend summer 'learning everything that there possibly is to learn' from ORAU and ORISE subject matter experts

ORAU’s Research & University Partnerships Office is excited to be coordinating four interns this summer. These high-caliber students represent vastly different disciplines and skills from within our university consortium. For nine weeks, each intern is paired with a subject matter expert to mentor them as they’re tasked with on-the-job projects.

Here’s a window into what they’ve been working on the last several weeks:

Adam Delahoussaye, ORAU summer intern

Adam Delahoussaye

Adam Delahoussaye is a senior at the University of Tennessee pursuing a degree in communication studies with a minor in political science. He’s interning with ORAU’s Communications and Marketing team. Specifically, Delahoussaye is learning the ropes of public relations and employee communications. From press releases to feature stories for the website and recording podcasts to coordinating photo shoots for ORAU, Delahoussaye has had the opportunity to flex his writing ability while acquiring some new skills.

“I want experience telling stories and communicating about things not directly in my wheelhouse,” Delahoussaye said. “I write about music and the arts for my student newspaper. Here, I got thrown into this world of research and development, STEM programs and a bunch of stuff that I know nothing about,” he continued. “The ability to walk into a room that you don't know anything about, learn your way through it and still be able to tell a cohesive and entertaining story is probably one of the best traits a writer can have.

Kayla Lacey, ORAU summer intern

Kayla Lacey

Kayla Lacey is interning remotely with ORAU Government Services. She is a graduate student attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha studying industrial organizational psychology. In this internship, Lacey is working with ORAU’s safety culture program. The team manages safety culture evaluations for the Department of Energy contracted sites. Lacey even came to Oak Ridge to participate in data collection for the survey of one evaluation.

“I hope to walk away with a better understanding of analyses and the way that IO (Industrial and Organizational) psychology works in the real world,” Lacey explained. “I want to gain a lot of experience and understanding of what it's like to work in a non-corporate space. I’m really hoping to get some clarity on whether the thing that I am most interested in is the actual implementation or in the research,” she said. “I think that no matter what kind of field I’m in, I’ll still like to do research and share research.”

Kelsey O'Brien, ORAU summer intern

Kelsey O’Brien

Kelsey O’Brien has been tapped to report to the ORISE Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory. O’Brien is currently pursing her undergraduate degree in genetics with a focus in biochemistry from Iowa State University. With a background in research and having the opportunity to present internationally, O’Brien jumped right in with the team of scientists studying radioactive medicine and the effects of nuclear exposure on the body. 

“I’m super-fortunate to be given so many opportunities here,” O’Brien said. “I have been able to shadow Dr. Balajee, Maria Escalona, and Terri Ryan at the lab to see what they do independently of one another as well as what they do collectively on big projects. I have been more than fortunate to be working on the flash project (doing a little bit of scoring for those donors). I’ve been learning everything that there possibly is to learn,” she continued. “I’ve stained samples on the slides and worked with a lot of fun equipment like our blood harvesting, culturing—you name it, I’ve probably done it! It’s super-fun, and I love being here every day.”

Tony Zbysinski, ORAU summer intern

Tony Zbysinski

Tony Zbysinski, III, joined the ORISE Health Studies team this summer. Zbysinski is an epidemiologist and a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University in Environmental Health Epidemiology as well as a MAP ERC (Mountains and Plains Education and Research Center) occupational ergonomics and safety trainee. His internship is focused on radiation epidemiology, and specifically, the Million Person Study.

“It’s a study that now has more than a million people who have worked with radiation in some capacity and tries to further our understanding of how occupational low-dose ionizing radiation exposure may lead to adverse health outcomes,” Zbysinski said. “This study is how I connected with ORAU, and we're kind of like the data stewards. I say ‘we’ because I'm part of the team through this internship. I get this wonderful on-the-job experience and actual training for radiation epidemiology.”

The results of these four internships have exceeded expectations. ORAU’s Research & University Partnerships Office is already talking about future opportunities.

Hear from these interns in their own words on Further Together, the ORAU podcast!

This conversation is led by guest host Adam Delahoussaye, a RUPO intern working in Communications and Marketing, and co-hosted by Michael Holtz. Adam and Kayla Lacey, Kelsey O'Brien and Tony Zbysinski, discuss their varied internship experiences, what may be in store for their futures, and plan for a "corn meetup" in America's Midwest. The interns are joined by Lindsay Motz from RUPO, who managed the internship program. Listen in for an insightful, interesting and fun conversation.

Listen Now!

ORAU Media Contacts and Information

About ORAU

ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, provides science, health, and workforce solutions that address national priorities and serve the public interest. Through our specialized teams of experts and access to a consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local, and commercial customers to provide innovative scientific and technical solutions and help advance their missions. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam BoneeDirector, CommunicationsCell: (865) 603-5142
Wendy WestManager, CommunicationsCell: (865) 207-7953