SUMMER MEMBER SPOTLIGHT 7 SPONSORED BY .TECH DOMAINS - Paul Schneider at the Department of Homeland Security

Interested with interning with a US government department? Check out what Paul's been up to the DHS!

John Pham

Summer Member Spotlight 7

Our seventh Summer Member Spotlight goes to Paul Schneider who's been interning at the US Department of Homeland Security this summer.

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Tell us about yourself

I’m going into my 3rd year at UCR studying Electrical Engineering, and am going to be focusing on RF and communications. Outside of the classroom, I’ve kept busy by working on UCR SAE’s Electric Vehicle, hacking together (or apart…) some personal projects, and in my free time I love to get out camping whenever I get the chance.

Paul at DHS

How did you hear about the internship?

UCR! The Homeland Security related Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (HS-STEM) program places students into R&D locations all over the country, and I heard about it through BCOE. I ended up getting accepted to the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate office in Washington, D.C. where I’m now entering my 10th and final week.

What have you learned at the DHS?

DHS I’ve learned a lot in my time at DHS, and it’s been a great opportunity to expose myself to things that I normally wouldn’t have. The primary focus of my work is the developing technologies in autonomous unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and how first responder agencies are going to be able to best integrate them into their current operations. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about both the “hard” side of engineering (i.e. reading countless research journal papers and figuring out how things work) and the “soft” side of implementation (i.e. reaching out to first responders and working to figure out what solutions they need). Overall, it’s opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of engineers don’t end up just designing circuits or modeling with CAD programs. There’s also a sizeable need for technically oriented people that can be the efficient “translators” between the customers and the people drawing up schematics, especially in larger organizations.

The Intern Experience

DHS We had some pretty amazing barbecue last week brought in for a Summer office party. Oh, you mean in the actual internship? I think it’d have to be the work I did on a last-minute side project I did to test the effects of cell phone jamming. In my second week, I was told to quickly cobble together a testing procedure, and so I ended up writing a program for the testers in the field to run. The system worked great to test the connection, change configurations as needed, and spit out some nicely formatted data to analyze. In theory. I think it suffices to say that I learned a valuable lesson from the experience: If you ever think you’ve explained something well enough for the end user, you haven’t.