Interns Dive Deep into Science at Sanford Underground Research Facility

LEAD, S.D., June 30, 2024 : Each summer, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, transforms into a vibrant hub for budding scientists. Known as one of the premier underground science facilities in the world, SURF offers internships that provide real-life experiences, proving invaluable for those pursuing careers in various scientific fields.

In 2024, SURF has welcomed nine eager interns, each engaging deeply with unique aspects of scientific work. From particle physics to geology, these interns are not just filling roles; they are actively contributing to groundbreaking research.

Kate Shelton’s Journey in Science Communication Kate Shelton, one of the interns, works in the communications department. Her role involves translating complex scientific data into accessible information for the public. Shelton shares, "It's exciting to work with a team that's equally passionate about science. Learning is continuous here, and that dynamism is what makes science communication fascinating."

Colton Clay’s Underground Adventures Another intern, Colton Clay, experiences the grittier side of science in SURF’s depths. Tasked with maintaining the ventilation system that ensures safety and air quality underground, Clay's work is hands-on and critical. "Every day brings a new learning opportunity. It’s about seeing the impact of your work firsthand, which is incredibly rewarding," says Clay.

Unique Challenges and Learning Opportunities SURF’s internships are notable for their depth and practical focus. Interns take on significant responsibilities, such as surveying underground shafts to ensure they remain operational. These tasks are crucial for the safe continuation of experiments and research at the facility.

The interns also learn to navigate the complexities of interdisciplinary teamwork and effective communication, skills essential for any professional setting. Shelton elaborates on her experience, "Combining my passion for environmental sustainability with science communication has opened new career possibilities for me."

As the summer progresses, these interns are not only gaining invaluable skills but also contributing to significant scientific advancements. Their work at SURF is shaping their future careers and potentially the future of scientific exploration.

Note: This internship program at SURF highlights the importance of practical experience in scientific education, preparing the next generation of scientists with both the knowledge and hands-on skills necessary for success.