Michael Mercier/UAH


The Intern Student of the Year award is presented by the Office of Career Services and recognizes an outstanding student who has excelled in their internship, in the classroom, and across campus.

Sarah Sheppard is the winner of the 2020-2021 Intern Student of the year award. Sarah graduates this semester with a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a concentration in optics and a minor in Mathematics. Sarah completed an Internship as a Science Aide at Areté Associates in the Summer of 2020.

During her time at UAH, Sarah has been a member of Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee and held the Co-Captain/Vice President and Treasurer positions.  She has also been a member of the Reformed University Fellowship.

At Areté Associates, Sarah was involved with the execution of an MDA HBTSS program specializing in the assessment of the quality of a tracking algorithm reported by a future sensor.   She analyzed and visualized 3D tracks of potential missiles using multiple space-based sensors.  Through her experience, she was exposed to a variety of computing languages, sensor modalities, and image processing algorithms.  Sarah’s Program Manager and Supervisor expressed that she not only completed her tasks satisfactorily but assisted with the overall success of the program.  Sarah has proven that with initiative, follow through and teamwork, her tasks are completed in a courteous and timely manner.  Her supervisor emphasized that she is equipped to adapt to challenges and her scientific background will prepare her for all of her future endeavors.

Sarah said her favorite thing about her internship was that her supervisors were always willing to help explain things when she came to some roadblocks in her projects. "I came away from the summer knowing more than I did initially going in. Additionally, the other interns I worked with helped make Areté a fun work environment, and we still keep in touch with each other," Sarah said. 

Sarah plans to attend graduate school at UAH and eventually earn her Ph.D. in Optical Physics and one day hopes to work on telescope lenses and lasers for NASA.   

Looking back at her undergraduate time at UAH, she encourages students to apply for everything they can, even if they don't meet all of the necessary qualifications. "Different job recruiters look for different qualifications, so you have as good of a chance as anyone else. It doesn't hurt to put yourself out there," she said.

Congratulations Sarah!