Aubrie Weyhmiller's Summer Spent at NIST

Senior Aubrie Weyhmiller spent her summer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, MD. She participated in their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Weyhmiller, a biophysics major, worked specifically for their health physics group creating an online application for predictive dose calculations.

The SURF program is designed to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission. “I absolutely loved the SURF program and working at NIST,” remarked Weyhmiller. “I am a commuter student and live with my parents so this was my first opportunity to go out on my own.”

Although she went into the summer with very little coding experience and none in web development, by the end Weyhmiller successfully created a website that performs bounding predictive dose calculations for external, internal, and skin doses. “Our goal is for the website to be deployed on a server and eventually be integrated in other neutron facilities,” stated Weyhmiller. “This project helped us realize how various health physics resources are not yet digitized. Creating programs and databases/applications such as mine could significantly benefit the field. My mentors and I are going to keep in contact, and this project is going to be continued by other interns.”

The SURF program at NIST included about 200 undergraduate fellows from all over the United States.  “NIST is a wonderful workplace,” explained Weyhmiller. “Everyone I met there was friendly and never hesitated to help me when I had a question, or they would find someone who could. They fully supported us as students and respected our ideas and thoughts.”

Weyhmiller’s summer experience also brought into focus what her future may hold. “This summer has helped me realize that I want to obtain a degree in medical physics. I am currently in the process of searching for a graduate program.”