Sandia interns sprint to the challenge

By Michael J. Baker

Photography By Nick Leathe

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Annual new technology competition helps with recruiting

Four intern teams competed for eight weeks this summer in Sandia’s fourth annual NW SPRINT, this time being asked to develop a device with embedded sensors to detect vibration, shock, acceleration and temperature in exposed environments.

The NW SPRINT, which stands for Nuclear Weapons Summer Product Realization Institute, focuses on having nontraditional teams develop innovative concepts using new technologies, identify gaps in those technologies and address the gaps. It also serves to create a recruiting pipeline.

Since its inception in 2015, 14 of the participating interns have either joined Sandia on staff, returned as summer interns or made the transition into year-round interns. Four interns from this summer’s winning team have become year-round interns, said Nick Leathe, a mechanical engineer who served on the NW SPRINT leadership team.

Members of winning NW SPRINT team
AND THE WINNERS ARE — The 2018 NW SPRINT winners are, from left to right, Seth Weiss, Monty Bruckman, Ashley Perez, Glenn Sudjadi and Sean Benjamin.

2018’s winning team from the Advanced Surety Mechanisms Department were Sean Benjamin, University of Rochester; Monty Bruckman, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Ashley Perez, University of Texas at Austin; Glenn Sudjadi, Arizona State University; and Seth Weiss, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Sean, Monty, Glenn and Seth have joined Sandia as year-round interns.

This year’s devices were evaluated on the accuracy of environments reported, power consumption, data usage and cost. The sensors had to prove functionality by testing in relevant environments. “The students didn’t really know what they were going to be subjected to,” Nick said.