Sensors Directorate partnership creates avenue to AFRL careers

  • Published
  • By Zach Tateman
For the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), attracting world-class and diverse talent is key to solving the Air Force’s most challenging scientific and technological problems. The Autonomy Technology Research (ATR) Center summer internship program is a vital piece to that puzzle.
The ATR Center summer internship program is a partnership between the AFRL Sensors Directorate and Wright State University that hosts interns from universities nation-wide to perform research under the mentorship of AFRL scientists and engineers.
“This program is a way for students to not only get an idea of what areas the Air Force conducts research in, but also lets students explore in a controlled environment what research entails and what it means for them,” said JR Jamora, an AFRL Sensors Directorate associate research electronics engineer and ATR Center summer internship program alumni.
Allowing some of the brightest science and engineering students in the country to work on real-world AFRL projects has an immediate impact; not only for the students, but for AFRL and the Air Force as well.
“The program is important along multiple dimensions,” said Edmund Zelnio, ATR Center Director.  “For one, it allows AFRL to do state of the art research towards the technological challenges facing the Warfighter. Also, we have had great success in hiring interns from the ATR Center which has greatly enhanced our workforce technical competency.”
This partnership is a great example of why collaboration between AFRL and academia is important. Many current AFRL projects have stemmed from work that ATR Center students have completed.
“Most of the research topics that are given to students are incredibly difficult problems,” said Bradley Lauback, an ATR Center summer internship program alumni, now an associate electronics engineer with AFRL Sensors Directorate.  “Having the ability to test over 100 different research topics each summer allows AFRL to gain ground on these problems quickly.”
As a program that deals with students from all over the country, they provide the flexibility that is needed to provide the best experience possible.
“The program runs concurrently with the summer semester, which is the same for all Ohio state schools,” said Zelnio. “However, we do start earlier or end later for some interns to accommodate other parts of the country who have different academic calendars.”
For more information regarding the ATR Center summer internship program, go to