Students & YPsWISE Internships

Meet the 2015 IEEE WISE Interns

By Erica Wissolik

Each year, IEEE-USA, with support from IEEE’s Technical Activities and the Life Members Committee, sponsors three U.S. IEEE student members in the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program, an eight-week summer experience that introduces them to the public policy process, including how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how technical professionals can contribute effectively to public policy decision-making. The WISE Program is ranked as one of the best Internship opportunities in the United States by the Princeton Review.

The 2015 IEEE WISE Interns have been selected and will bring a diversity of skills and interests to the 2015 program, which begins in June.

Nikhil Garg

Nikhil (B.S. Electrical & Computer Engineering and B.A. Plan II Honors, University of Texas at Austin, May 2015) is an entering Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Stanford. He is interested in wireless policy and internet economics.

While at UT Austin, Nikhil researched 5G cellular and heterogeneous wireless networks, and built a large-scale recommendation engine for books. He has interned as a software engineer at Microsoft and as a Space Academy research associate at NASA Glenn Research Center.

He also was a Next Generation Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and served as a Legislative Intern at the Office of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.


Nikhil is an Eagle Scout, a Distinguished College Scholar of Engineering and Liberal Arts, and a recipient of the Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarship at UT Austin.

Cara DeCoste

Cara is studying electrical engineering with a concentration in power and energy systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a Duke Energy Scholar, a Siemens Energy Scholar, and a Schweitzer Meritorious Scholar through the IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus program.

She has been actively involved in several student organizations, and has served in several leadership positions, including secretary of the EPIC UNCC Power & Energy Society. She has also been selected as a Student Innovation Board Member for the Department of Energy-sponsored consortium GridEd.

Cara spent two summers working as an intern at Duke Energy and one summer as a research assistant in renewable energy at her university.

In the future, Cara hopes to work as an energy public policy researcher, an engineering librarian, or an emerging technology analyst at a utility.


Devin Cornell

Devin is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He currently serves as the IEEE Region 5 Student Representative, and has served in several other positions in the Student Branch at Missouri S&T.

Devin worked on a microgravity flight research team studying methods of CPR in a space environment for three years, and is currently involved with research on methods of using EEG as a Brain-Control Interface in the Missouri S&T Applied Computational Intelligence Laboratory.

He has completed two summer internships at Sandia National Labs in electrical engineering R&D, and was an exchange student at Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia.

His interests include cognitive neuroscience, group decision theory, computational intelligence, agent-based modeling and ethnography. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in computational sociology.

As part of their internship experience, Garg, DeCoste and Cornell will draw on their technical backgrounds and personal interests to prepare and present a report assessing and making recommendations on a particular public policy issue.  They also interact with policy-makers in Congress, the Executive Branch and private sector entities to learn about their functions and roles in the policy-making process.

For more information about WISE, see:

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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