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Jorge Narvaez spent the summer putting his science knowledge to work in a coveted position in the nation’s capital. The internship has encouraged him to pursue a career in public service.

Jorge Narvaez poses for a selfie at an event in the White House’s South Lawn.
Jorge Narvaez poses for a selfie at an event in the White House’s South Lawn.

Narvaez, a second-year doctoral fellow in the Energy Science and Engineering Program in the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, worked in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which advises the executive office on scientific affairs. As one of only eight interns and one of six in the policy sector, he conducted research concerning artificial intelligence, STEM education, and strategic management.

He also attended meetings with various federal agencies and helped during two White House summits.

“I was very happy and nervous during my first day at OSTP,” he said. “However, all staff members were friendly, welcoming, and willing to talk to me about their career paths and experience.”

Because his research dealt with information not yet ready for the public eye, Narvaez cannot go into specifics about his day-to-day activities with the executive office, but his work covered a range of scientific disciplines.

The internship has inspired Narvaez to pursue a career in public service, where he hopes to work in the federal government. This month, he will begin a new internship with the US Department of State, which he credits to his work at the White House.

“It was truly a privilege and an honor to work at the White House and to be part of the team that advises the president of the United States on matters related to science and policy.”

Narvaez recreates a famous photograph of Nixon at the Truman Bowling Alley in the White House. Photo taken by M. Chwedczuk.
Narvaez recreates a famous photograph of Nixon at the Truman Bowling Alley in the White House. Photo taken by M. Chwedczuk.

Narvaez was born in Quito, Ecuador, and moved to the United States in 2004 for school. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Adelphi University in New York and his master’s in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Narvaez hopes to spread the message that internships can provide students with invaluable real-world experience.

“Apply for all available internships, whether it is at the local, state, or national level; it will give you an invaluable experience,” he said. “Engage with people who have experience in this—most of them are willing to meet with you over coffee to talk about their experiences.”

CONTACT:

Megan Boehnke (mboehnke@utk.edu, 865-974-4232)

William Wells (yqk572@vols.utk.edu, 865-974-2225)