Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles highlighting the diverse group of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory summer students.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) student internship program is designed to allow students to engage in work-study employment opportunities in relevant science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and administrative fields during the summer academic break. This year, LLNL is proud to welcome more than 600 students from universities nationwide and around the world.
Introducing: Christopher Hall
Full name: Christopher Scott Michael Hall
Hometown: Livermore, California
University attending/educational background: I attended Las Positas College while completing my bachelor’s degree in information technology management through the American Military University.
Major: Information technology management
Graduation: August 2015
LLNL Directorate you are working in: The Computation Directorate matrixed to the Nuclear Counting Facility, in the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division of the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate.
What interested you in pursuing a summer internship at the Laboratory?
After completing six years in the U.S. Air Force, I started taking classes at Las Positas College. About a year ago I received an email from the Veterans First coordinator about a student internship at the Laboratory. I applied, but unfortunately wasn’t able to get in because my clearance didn’t transfer over from the Department of Defense. I didn’t give up and tried again this year and through perseverance, consistency and networking, I am fortunate enough to be interning as a summer student here at the Lab.
What are you working on at the Laboratory?
At the beginning of my internship, I created the EFA’s Pollution Prevention and Sustainability (P2S) website to help personnel protect the environment. The website gives employees important information about events, awards, resources, reuse and recycling, waste reduction, green purchasing and metrics. I also created the Plug-In Vehicle Program website for Lab personnel to sign up for the program and find parking near their buildings. I used Bootstrap, HTML5 and CCS with basic commands in PHP and JQuery to create both of these sites. Currently, I am using LLNL’s Confluence website to track all of the details of the Nuclear Counting Facilities partial Laboratory Information Management System (pLIMS) project.
What do you enjoy most about interning at the Laboratory?
I enjoy interning at the Laboratory because the mission is similar to the mission in the military, which is "one team, one fight." The culture is similar as well, but the Laboratory has the feel of a college campus. I always see people walking around and riding bikes to get to their destinations. I also enjoy the Lab's social functions. I’ve met great people and learned so much already.
What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference to you?
Where do you see yourself after graduation? What is your dream job?
One of my goals in life is to work at LLNL. I’ve half way completed my goal by getting an internship, so I’m hoping a position will open up while I am here and I will be able to complete my goal by then. My dream job is to be working in information technology and making a difference on a global scale.
Who/what has inspired you to pursue an education and career in a STEM field?
My parents have inspired me to get my degree, and my passion for technology led me in the direction of getting my degree in information technology management. When I was 6 years old, my parents introduced me to computer games for reading and writing, and throughout the years I have continued to use computers. When I was 13 years old, I started programming in Visual Basic and I also learned the fundamentals of HTML. From then on, I’ve always had a passion for technology and how it worked.
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
Completing my degree has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far. I started my college education when I finished high school in 2005, and I dropped out before the fall semester had ended to enter the military. I decided that education is important ,but it wasn’t right for me at the time. After a while in the military, my supervisor pushed me to further my education and I took a few classes here and there. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ll never forget my supervisor telling me to keep taking classes until I completed it. When I got to South Korea for my year tour, I took more classes for an associate’s degree in human resources. My degree ended up going to a bachelor’s degree in information technology, and with the skills I obtained from the military, I finished my coursework in three years.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
My biggest accomplishment so far is helping to create a nonprofit for cancer awareness and prevention. The nonprofit, which started here in Livermore, is called Roanne’s Race and is specifically for people under the age of 50. We host an annual 5K/10K to raise money to support this cause.
As a college student, what is the most important lesson you have learned?
Time management has been the most important lesson. Getting assignments completed before deadlines creates great habits to be used in life and college. It also creates less stress and more time to go out and have fun and enjoy the college life. The next two things I recommend are establishing strong communication with instructors and taking notes.
What advice would you give a high school student?
The best thing we can do in life is lead ourselves in the direction where we have interests. In life, opportunities will come, and it is vital to seize every opportunity because you never know where it will take you, and you never know if you will have that opportunity again. No matter what, always try your best in school. Ask for help from the teachers if you have a problem with the any of the work. Get out and volunteer or create an organization that suits your interests or that hasn’t been created yet. Challenge yourself, set goals (even if they’re small goals) and try to meet them every time. My final piece of advice is to persevere. In life, success won’t always come easy, but as long as you keep trying, you will meet your goal and then you will have succeeded.
What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife, family and friends traveling, exploring new cities, trying new restaurants, going to concerts and attending sports events such as football games, futbol/soccer games and baseball games. I also enjoy Roanne’s Race, hiking, snowboarding, going to beaches, hanging out listening to music and watching movies and visiting Yosemite.
What is next for you/what are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to seizing new opportunities and potential employment here at LLNL. My goal is to purchase a house in Livermore and get a husky. I’m also looking forward to spring training in 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon.
Hall’s last day at the Laboratory is Sept. 25.
To learn more about summer internships and the Laboratory’s scholar programs, visit the scholars@llnl website.
Follow inside LLNL on Twitter for an inside look at the people and events at LLNL.
martin59 [at] llnl.gov