Intern to Engineer: Riverside Research Delivers on STEM Career Opportunities

DAYTON, OH - Riverside Research, a not-for-profit scientific research company with facilities in Beavercreek, OH, is furthering the education and careers of Dayton-area students through several community outreach and workforce development initiatives. Partnering with many local colleges and universities, Riverside Research provides academic course instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, scholarships, and internship opportunities with intention to supply the community with a qualified technical workforce.

Kelvin Freeman, originally from Columbus, OH, is a direct product of these efforts. Now an employee of Riverside Research supporting the Air Force Research Laboratory as a junior embedded systems analysis and evaluation engineer, Freeman began his career with Riverside Research as an intern. He spent the past two summers interning in the company’s Engineering & Support Solutions Directorate while working towards his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Dayton

Riverside Research’s internship program provided Freeman an opportunity to apply his engineering knowledge and skills through hands-on independent research & development (IR&D) projects, which included working with software defined radios and Amtel microcontrollers.

Freeman also gained exposure to a different side of engineering. As his education primarily focused on careers based in industry, Freeman valued the opportunity to see inside a company dedicated to research and development.

“By working at Riverside Research, I learned about the structure of a research environment and began to see the importance of thoroughly investigating the background of a research problem, creative programming skills, and clear and detailed reports,” said Freeman. “These are essential skills needed to solve the complex problems that arise in a research environment.”

“Riverside Research often links its interns with its IR&D program’s short-term projects. This is an ideal arrangement, providing students with an opportunity to gain real-world experience and make contributions to scientific research projects advancing solutions for public concerns such as national security, health, and agriculture,” said Dr. Deanne Otto, Outreach, Education & Training Division Manager.  

The mutually-beneficial collaboration between the IR&D and internship programs demonstrates the company’s commitment to maintaining our unique research heritage by providing a mechanism to continuously inject new capabilities into the nation’s ever-growing technical fields.

Not only did Freeman gain valuable professional skills and knowledge, he met reputable professionals within the company through networking. Freeman’s managers recognized his aptitude and leveraged their knowledge of contract work the company is involved with supporting customers at WPAFB to help him find a full-time job, ultimately securing his current position.

“I do believe that interning at Riverside Research helped me develop reading, writing, and programming skills that proved useful in my last year of college and will continue to be valuable throughout my career,” said Freeman.

Freeman’s professional journey from University of Dayton student, to Riverside Research intern, and now full-time employee supporting a government customer, demonstrates the progression Riverside Research envisions for their community outreach and workforce development initiatives. By furthering the education of STEM students through internships, Riverside Research is at the forefront of Dayton’s STEM development and positioned to provide a future pipeline of technical talent.