1. "This place is a relic"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Truly ground breaking science happening here. Good benefits, history of success.

    Cons

    At least in the chemistry division, things are very stressful. There is no internal funding so half your research time will be used begging for money. The grounds and buildings are basically antiques. A lot of people get "stuck" here.

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  1. "Great place to learn"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Stennis Space Center, MS
    Recommends

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    Usually there are multiple projects going at the same time, so there are endless learning possibilities for student interns.

    Cons

    The hiring process was very slow, which I was informed is typical for the federal government.

  2. "Excellent Experience, Subpar Pay"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineering Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There are tons of perks that come with working for a lab funded by the DoD. Lab employees get lots of exciting projects and almost complete freedom over the work they do, so long as it makes progress towards something productive. Each division is different, so your mileage may vary, but I found the work I was doing to be engaging and exciting, and it was all challenging but doable, as an internship should be. With very few exceptions (see Cons), my manager is quick to help and stays engaged with me as an intern, and I can usually get good help from other more experienced engineers when I need it. Something I really enjoy, but may be a con to others, is the variety in my work. Any given day could be completely different from the one before, as new problems or even entirely new projects pop up frequently. Additionally, the name is reputable and it provides amazing talking points for interviews or career fairs.

    Cons

    The specific area I work in is full of great people doing exciting work, but they are usually pretty spread out. In a given day I may only even interact with 1 or 2 people, which gets a bit lonely. Also, there have been some times when a project stalls, and everyone is so busy that I have been stuck in need of assistance and unable to find reliable help. As I write this even, I'm stuck on a problem that I do not know how to solve, and the response from management is "read a textbook and figure it out." Part of me thinks that is awesome, as I get to learn a ton while I work, but it also puts me in a difficult spot as my work is delayed substantially while I spend my time reading textbooks and watching online lectures. If I could just walk 5 minutes over to another more experienced engineer, I'm sure they could help me out pretty quickly, but everyone is so busy all the time that I don't usually get to do that. Of course that is also in part due to the fact that I am a mechanical engineer working in a lab focused primarily on electrical engineering, so most of my coworkers don't know the solutions either. That brings me to some of the trouble with the division model at NRL. Each division and branch acts as its own separate unit. I have NEVER interacted with an employee outside my division, with the exception of the occasional conversation during lunch. Finally, pay is not great. I started at the bare minimum GS scale pay, and I am still there after 3 summers worth of work and multiple major steps up in my education. With DC raising their minimum wage, I now make less than a McDonalds fry cook. That said, the educational experience alone is so great I might even do this work for free, but it still would be nice to get a decent wage.

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