UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) interns and early career professionals attended the inaugural Annual Research Symposium of UL Research Institutes (ULRI) July 31st to August 2nd in Evanston, IL.
The Office of Research Experiences and Education (OREE) initiated a new Intern Engagement Initiative (IEI) program, aimed to provide mentorship, professional learning, and professional growth for ULRI interns and early career professionals. Participants were able to engage in coffee colloquiums hosted by different research experts from their prospective research institute. Participants also had the unique opportunity to attend different professional development workshops, opt into a mentorship program throughout the summer, and were invited to the ULRI Research Symposium.
“I really enjoyed participating in the IEI program! It gave me the chance to learn more of the working gears of UL Research Institutes, and my mentor Brenda really prepared me for the transition from student to young professional,” said Alexis Castillo, Communications Intern at FSRI.
Following the welcome dinner and networking reception on the first evening, the interns and young professionals attended two full days of presentations by the Electrochemical Safety Research Institute (ESRI), Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI), Materials Discovery Research Institute (MDRI), OREE, and FSRI.
“It was a cool opportunity to learn more about the other institutes and as someone who doesn’t have a research background, I learned a lot about the behind the scenes of the peer review process,” said Doug Mansen, Associate Multimedia Designer at FSRI.
FSRI interns and early career professionals participated in a poster session, showcasing their projects and work.
Alexis’ poster showcased her work that has been done throughout her internship. From developing and building program pages for the FSRI website, to writing research and program updates, it allowed Alexis to speak on her experience as a communications intern and how her role connects with the research FSRI conducts.
“As someone without a technical background, the poster session was a unique opportunity to highlight the things I’ve learned working with the research amplification team,” said Alexis.
Doug, Jordan Pearson, Multimedia Intern, Madi Michael, Instructional Design Specialist, Michelle Sauer, Instructional Design Intern, collaborated on a poster that highlighted an animation they created for online training course based on the Study of Fire Service Residential Home and Size-up and Search and Rescue Operations. They developed seven 3D animations to demonstrate thermal class data from the research experiments conducted by FSRI research engineers.
“The poster session not only allowed me to network with various branches of ULRI but also reflect on the visual work my team and I conducted together. It's so important to not only create for the sake of bettering a community or in this case firefighter training, but to hear the thoughts and feedback of so many others who've dedicated their time to their research helps show that our work is also vital and can make a difference,” said Jordan.
As ULRI continues to grow, it’s exciting to see the efforts being made for interns and early career professionals. FSRI is proud to provide support for students throughout their internships and careers. The Internship Program offers a wide range of opportunities for motivated students to contribute to the FSRI mission of addressing unsolved safety risks in the world. Throughout the years, many of our interns have gone on to graduate and begin their careers at FSRI.