ASME Student Members Complete WISE Policy Summer Internships in Washington, D.C.

Aug. 19, 2016

(Left to right) ASME WISE intern Brenna Doherty, ASME Government Relations Manager Melissa Carl, and WISE intern Emily Sheffield pose in front of the Capitol Building on the final day of this summer’s internship program.

ASME student members Brenna Doherty and Emily Sheffield recently served as ASME’s 2016 Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) interns. Ranked in the past as one of the best internships in the U.S. by the Princeton Review, WISE offered a unique opportunity to third- and fourth-year engineering students to spend the summer of 2016 in Washington, D.C., learning about the interaction of technology and public policy.

Doherty and Sheffield were among 12 interns from seven engineering professional societies who served in this year’s summer internship program, which took place from June 6 to Aug. 5. Selected from a nationwide competition, Doherty, Sheffield and the other interns spent nine weeks learning how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. At the end of the nine weeks, the interns produced a public policy paper on a topic of interest to them and ASME, and then presented their findings on Capitol Hill.

Brenna Doherty

Brenna Doherty’s policy topic was related to planetary defense, specifically focusing on tracking, deflecting, and destroying near earth objects (NEOs). To mitigate NEOs, she recommended: increasing space-based tracking capabilities; testing kinetic impactor technology; analyzing nuclear device technology; increasing interagency roles; and developing an emergency manual. She attends the University of Wyoming where she majors in mechanical engineering and minors in computer science. After graduating in December of 2017, Doherty plans to work in the aerospace and defense industry.

Emily Sheffield served as the joint ASME/Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office WISE intern. Sheffield’s research paper dealt with how to improve the public’s perception of manufacturing. Her specific focus was on K-12 aged students and how they should be more greatly encouraged to pursue career and technical education (CTE). Her paper’s recommendations included that the National Academy of Engineering produce a report reviewing the present scope and impact of K-12 manufacturing-related education efforts and its effects on the manufacturing image and workforce skills gap. Sheffield is currently a student at Harding University where she studies both mechanical engineering and pre-law. After graduating in 2018, Sheffield plans to attend law school to study intellectual property law.

Emily Sheffield

To review Doherty’s and Sheffield’s policy papers, please visit: For additional information about the WISE program, please visit or the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering web page on, or contact Melissa Carl, manager, Government Relations, at

Melissa Carl, Government Relations