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Constance Walter

Sky Dragoo grew up in Lead, S.D. He doesn't remember much about the mining operations, but he watched as the Sanford Underground Research Facility became a reality and knew he wanted to someday be a part of it. And this year, he is. 

A sophomore in mining engineering and management at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT), Dragoo received a 2016 Chris Bauer Engineering Internship. As an intern, Dragoo will work with Bryce Pietzyk, acting underground access director, and David Vardiman, geotechnical project engineer, on different mining projects. 

"I'm so excited about this. I'll be working alongside experienced people who have been doing this as a career and will be able to learn so much," Dragoo said. "And David Vardiman has been my mentor for a long time and really inspired me to try for this internship."

The internship program is a big part of Sanford Lab?s education and outreach efforts. This summer six students will work in science, engineering, operations and communications. 

"We do this to give undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to have a real-life experience in their field," said June Apaza, director of Education and Outreach. "Internships help students figure out what they want to do. And they get to work with people from around the world in a unique environment."

This year, 50 students applied for the internships. "It's very competitive and they go through a difficult selection process," Apaza said. "But they will learn a great deal from the experience."

Robyn Hynes, a junior at Black Hills State University, agrees. Hynes, who will work with the communications office for 10 weeks this summer, said, "I'm excited about working with professionals in the communication field, to learn how to explain complicated science to the public so they have a better understanding of what is happening at Sanford Lab." Hynes is majoring in mass communication with a minor in science. 

"We're looking forward to bringing these interns on board this year for a couple of reasons," said Walter Weinig, lab director. "They get a taste of the real world and exposure to a really exciting project and we benefit from their fresh ideas, current knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm."