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National Security Innovation Network Selects April Thongrivong for Prestigious X-Force Fellowship

X-Force Fellows are university students embedded with military commands for the summer to focus on applied national security problem-solving. Thongrivong joins nearly 300 others from 88 universities

Arlington VA— The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) program, announced recently that April Thongrivong has been selected to join the 2021 cohort for the X-Force Fellows program. The NSIN X-Force program is an opportunity for university students to support military commands directly to solve some of our nation’s most challenging national security issues.

In its third year, the 2021 cohort runs through August and comprises a mix of full and part-time, paid and volunteers representing 88 universities, including students from 11 of NSIN’s 15 university partners and four returning Fellows from the 2020 program. The 2021 X-Force Fellows stats:

  • Full-time in person fellows: 237
  • Part-time remote fellows: 46

Fellows will be supporting Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps customers with 99 full-time projects and 18 part-time national security projects. Each aims to develop prototype capabilities to solve real-world problems that call upon the students’ technical and entrepreneurial skills. Specifically, April has been assigned to the Luke Spark Cell.

Notably, the NSIN X-Force program has added more than 35 new DoD customers this year, which significantly broadens the scope of issues the Fellows will experience throughout the cohort. April is currently a student at San Diego State University.

“We are very excited about this cohort of NSIN X-Force Fellows,” said Pamela Sharma, NSIN X-Force program manager. “In our third year of the fellowship, the applicants have become increasingly more competitive and this cohort is simply outstanding. I cannot wait to see what innovative and creative solutions they develop over the course of this summer.”

At the end of the program, DoD customers receive a demonstration of the capability developed by their Fellows with guidance for further development and iteration.

“If past years are any indication, these Fellows have the potential to make a lasting impact at the Pentagon,” Sharma said.

Throughout the program, participants share their experiences in blog posts and communication channel updates. You can follow their progress and get in touch with our participants here on the NSIN UNUM platform: https://unum.nsin.us/x-force-summer-2021-cohort.


About X-Force

The NSIN X-Force program is an unparalleled opportunity for university students to serve their country through collaboration with the U.S. military to address real-world challenges that require both technical and entrepreneurial expertise. The NSIN X-Force Fellowship has two pathways to service – a full-time, paid opportunity and a part-time, unpaid opportunity. Whether one chooses to pursue the full-time, paid, in-person option, or the part-time, unpaid, remote option, there is invaluable work alongside DoD problem sponsors.

About NSIN

NSIN changes the way the Department of Defense solves problems. NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture

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