OTC interns gain valuable insight with cross training


Meet the interns
Ernesto Chee-Chong:
A Belton resident, Chee-Chong already completed the Joint Safety and Occupational Health Program at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala., graduating at the top of his class. An Army veteran with under-graduate and graduate degrees in business administration, Chee-Chong hopes he’ll be hired into a permanent safety officer position at Fort Hood upon completion of the intern program next year.
James Lohkamp: A Kansas State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Lohkamp found out about Defense Department recruitment and training programs through a mass engineering department email. OTC selected him out of a pool of candidates, putting him to work in the Test Technology Directorate where he has supported instrumentation and Real Time Casualty Assessment data collection for operational tests on Nett Warrior.
Elizabeth Fudge:
Interested in ultimately finding a position in research and development, Fudge currently works in the Test Technology Directorate on software development for EDCS, a web-based manual data collection system. She learned about the intern opportunity through an advertisement in an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers magazine. A graduate of Rice University in Houston, Fudge has a bachelor of science degree in computer science and intends to pursue a graduate degree in computer science.
Taylor Johnson:
A University of Arizona graduate, Johnson learned about the intern program through word of mouth on campus. A mathematics major, Johnson hopes to become a full-time Department of the Army civilian at OTC and work on a graduate degree in mathematics. She currently works as an Operational Research Systems Analyst intern for OTC test directorates.
Benjamin Montgomery:
A Missouri native, Montgomery, a Baylor University graduate with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, found out about the intern program through a faculty adviser. He is currently working with modeling and simulation tools in support of Network Integration Evaluation 14.1 underway at Fort Bliss.
Joe Amato:
A computer scientist intern in the Test Technology Directorate, Amato learned of the internship in an email. The dean of the robotics engineering department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Acton, Mass., suggested Amato apply, which he did and was selected by OTC. Amato, recently named OTC’s employee of the quarter, puts his degree in robotics engineering to good use working on rewriting the Enterprise Data Collection System to make it more user friendly.


For nearly 40 years, the U.S. Army Operational Test Command has trained and hired interns from various Army programs, providing the Army’s only independent operational tester a competitive way to sustain and develop their civilian workforce.

Just last week, OTC promoted six interns — one in the safety career field and five in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. After one more year of field training, the interns will graduate and be eligible for full-time employment within the Defense Department, said Deborah Stimson, OTC human resource specialist.

“The Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System ensures the planned development of civilian members of the workforce through a blending of progressive and sequential work assignments, formal training and self-development as they progress from entry level to key positions,” said Stimson, who manages OTC’s intern programs.

Gayle Shull, director of OTC’s Test Technology Directorate, provides technical and professional supervision for the science-related interns. Reginald Jones, OTC safety officer, supervises the safety intern. Both agree that intern programs are a great way to prepare new hires to operate at full performance level, providing a variety of educational and cross-developmental opportunities.

“I started as a Department of the Army intern 38 years ago when OTC was the U.S. Army Project Mobile Army Sensor Systems Test, Evaluation and Review,” Shull said. “And I recall there was another intern finishing her second year in 1975. I don’t have the exact number of interns we’ve trained here, but I do know all ... interns have been hired by the Army.”

Stimson said OTC hasn’t hosted only science-related interns.

“OTC has also trained five Department of the Army public affairs interns who went on to attend the Defense Information school at Fort Meade, Md., before being hired into permanent assignments,” she said.

OTC’s current crop of interns hail from all parts of America and appears to have assimilated seamlessly, not only into OTC but also into the Central Texas area.

“All five interns we gained from a STEM-focused recruiting program are some of the nation’s brightest scholars,” Shull said. “They’ve made a smooth transition ... providing many types of support.”

Source:  Fort Hood Herald, November 6, 2013

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