Bryan Underkoffler, a native of Tower City, PA, and a 2011 graduate of Williams Valley High School, was competitively selected for an internship program with the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) at the Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. Underkoffler was one of only four students selected out of thousands of applications for this coveted program.
This paid program offers full-time summer internships for selected university and post-doctorate students in computer science, math, statistics, simulation and gaming, curriculum development, and social sciences such as anthropology, culture, diversity, minority/women studies, organizational effectiveness, psychology, and sociology. Interns have the opportunity to conduct research, develop programs, and engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at the Institute for a ten-week period during the summer. Participants will work on tasks related to the above topics in line with DEOMI's mission.
He will be working with J-9, which is responsible for conducting all basic and applied research in support of Equal Opportunity (EO) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), diversity, and cultural programs. Such research informs training and education programs, internal and external to the Institute, provides a basis for DEOMI to make policy recommendations, and adds valuable information to the body of scientific knowledge.
Underkoffler currently serves as president of the campus Student Government Association, and will graduate from Penn State Schuylkill with a major in psychology, and minor in business administration in December 2015. He has conducted research on diversity and inclusion, focusing on the development of organizational programs that address diversity issues at both the personal and professional levels. He has a special interest in educating others on issues surrounding diversity; especially those faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Underkoffler's research interests are fueled by his passion for equality. His own personal experience of coming out as gay male has made him realize the importance of an accepting and inclusive environment for LGBT individuals. He hopes to work on LGBT issues in the military during his ten weeks at DEOMI this summer. After graduation, he plans to continue his education in industrial/organizational psychology, and hopes to someday earn a Ph.D.
Dr. Charlie Law, assistant professor of psychology, has been Underkoffler's faculty adviser at Penn State Schuylkill, and facilitated his internship. Dr. Law graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. He then spent eleven years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, and received his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Rice University in 2008. Dr. Law was selected as a ten-week research fellowship at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
"Dr. Law and his continued support, guidance, and advice was the driving force that has empowered me to develop as a student, researcher, leader, and individual. He has made a lasting impression on me because he is passionate about the research he conducts with his students in the field of psychology, and ensuring that they succeed in which ever path they choose to follow."