Ryan Webb, Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) Class of 2021, interned as a Research Aide at Argonne National Lab this summer. He wrote this piece to reflect on this experience.

I chose to come to graduate school, and the CAPP program specifically, after seeing a need for technical expertise in the public sector. I worked for a firm that provided software as a service (SaaS) strategic planning tools to a variety of public sector entities and often found that our clients were quickly able to adapt to new planning practices but struggled with our software due to its transparently object-oriented structure. 

As such, when it came time to find an internship for the summer, I focused on finding public sector work. I was lucky enough to land at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, a federally funded research and development (R&D) center that translates research to develop new energy technologies.

My particular Research Aide internship was with the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS), which puts vast reserves of domain knowledge and storage models to work outside of the laboratory. Working at ACCESS exposed me to a variety of new applications of the computational skills I learned as a CAPP student. 

In addition, learning about the grid and the basics of energy storage science has helped me develop a new understanding of how to apply my computing skills to a scientific problem. I also gained insight from a number of Argonne employees and scientists who took time out of their days to let me lean on them to build that understanding—for which I am sincerely grateful.

ACCESS has historically partnered primarily with industry to help drive innovation in energy storage. However, they are currently interested in expanding partnerships to utilities and local governments with the goal of impacting the Midwest region and local metropolitan areas. My focus at ACCESS was developing a framework to acquire and manage such partnerships. I have been able to work with a number of scientists at Argonne who are eager to help make this a reality—and equally eager to aid my growth as both a data scientist and policy professional. 

I am hopeful that my contribution will support Argonne as it continues to be a key on-the-ground player in expanding energy storage capacity in the region.

Read the blog posts below to more about the summer internship opportunities secured by Harris students?