Sophomore Chemistry major Chris Vatral has accepted an internship opportunity with the Navy this upcoming summer, through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP).

According to the official website, NREIP offers this opportunity to 200 undergraduate students each year, allowing students to work and study in various participating Navy labs around the country.

During the summer months, Vatral will travel to Indian Head, Md. for ten weeks where he will assist a professional scientist in conducting research on lithium ion batteries in the Naval Surface Warfare Center. This lab regularly conducts research in areas such as energetic materials, underwater warheads, and chemical processing/nitration.

“It’ll just be neat working with a scientist who’s been doing this for a long time,” Vatral shared.

Vatral was motivated to apply for the internship largely due to his experience with another research opportunity he had last summer under Dr. Carrie ReadSpray at ENC.  He commented that his work with Dr. Readspray supplied him with the experience and dedication to move forward with larger opportunities.

Vatral believes this internship is the perfect fit for his future career plans, and goal to attend graduate school to continue researching.

“What I want to do is research… so after undergrad I would go to grad school and get a PhD, and then do something exactly like this,” Vatral commented.

The NREIP was one of four internships that Vatral was successfully accepted into for the 2015 summer season.  He also applied to internships with NASA, Brookhaven National Lab and Georgetown University, but Vatral ultimately found NREIP to be the best option out of his choices.

“The research topic really interested me…and it’s a location that’s close to my home, so I can go home frequently,” Vatral said.