Unlike many teenagers who enjoy a respite from the challenge of study before tackling their senior year of high school, Abby spent her summer as a Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) intern learning to run a Scanning Electron Microscope.
A quick week of training thrust Abby into taking high resolution, ultra high magnification pictures for researchers across the school. She describes the Scanning Electron Microscope she used as a sophisticated camera that "uses electrons instead of light for particles are too small to be seen by laser light, which is really cool."
Abby's internship experience has given her a new perspective on learning. Before coming to the NPS, she had a typical student's view of learning: the educator teaches the student a set of information, and then the student is tested on what has been taught. After experiencing the exhilaration of conducting her own applied research to answer questions like 'Can you fix this?' and 'Could this idea work in practice?', Abby now sees learning as a process of independent inquiry and problem-solving.
The best thing about her internship? "More than anything has been having the experience in a real lab environment. It reaffirmed that this is what I want to do."