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Alyssa Renteria (front center) is pictured here with Clarence Brown, director of the Mentorship for Environmental Scholars Program, and peers at a STEM diversity conference in Honolulu.
Alyssa Renteria (front center) is pictured here with Clarence Brown, director of the Mentorship for Environmental Scholars Program, and peers at a STEM diversity conference in Honolulu.

Alyssa Renteria was a 2019 summer intern with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM). A junior at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, she is studying global environmental science. Alyssa was chosen to present at the Arizona/NASA Space Grant Symposium held on April 18, 2020. Below she shares her experience with the presentation and how her LM internship influenced her.

You were recently one of the student presenters for the Arizona/NASA Space Grant Symposium. Can you tell us how you were chosen as a presenter?

Angelita Denny, my internship mentor at LM, presented at the 2002 Arizona/NASA Space Grant Symposium. She was contacted by the Space Grant manager about collaborating on a project, and I was asked to speak. [Angelita Denny, LM site lead, oversees summer interns through the Mentorship for Environmental Scholars Program, known as MES].

This year the presentations were done entirely online over Zoom. Did you make special accommodations and adjustments for an online-only presentation? What did you like about being online? What did you dislike about being online?

Presenting online was a unique experience and I was appreciative of only having to focus on how I would deliver my presentation through speech. It kept me from being flustered by presenting in person. However, I did miss the natural dialogue, which is hard to capture online. 

What was your presentation about? Did it involve any of the work you did while interning with the Office of Legacy Management last summer?

My presentation was about the project I did during my internship with LM, which focused on the purposes and criteria of spatial interpolation methods.  

What is spatial interpolation?

Spatial interpolation is the prediction of unknown values using sample data points.

What practical knowledge did you learn from your internship that you were able to apply to this year of studies? Did any of it apply to your presentation?

Over the course of the internship I learned how to define my target audience, which helped me create my presentation.

Did your internship change your outlook on your future career path?

My LM internship opened my eyes to the various careers within one agency and allowed me to have a better understanding of the LM mission. Most importantly, it taught me that there isn’t one clear-cut path to where I want to be in life.

You have two more years before the completion of your undergraduate degree. Do you have plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering.