Internships, Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

Sandia Labs Offer Research Opportunities in National Security Science and Engineering
By Mary Gooden
Program Advisor

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is a federally funded research and development organization (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)) that offers several excellent training opportunities that expose undergraduate and graduate students to research being conducted at SNL in national security science and engineering.  Two programs, which are open nationally to students, are the Summer Technical Internship Program (STIP) and the Cooperative Education Program (CEP). Though applications may be submitted at any time, it is best to submit them at least three months prior to the preferred assignment start date.

STIP was created to give undergraduate and graduate students majoring in science, technology, and engineering, as well as mathematical, computer, and management and information system sciences, hands-on training in their respective fields of discipline, while also exposing them to the rewarding career opportunities which may be available to them in the future at SNL.  The experience includes a competitive salary, access to advanced laboratory resources, professional development education, and beginning the process of reaching one’s full research potential through interaction with SNL’s acclaimed research and development staff.

CEP is a work-study program for undergraduate and graduate students; it provides training and course credit towards earning a degree.  Assignments can range from three to eight months in length. Students may choose to work during the summer or the fall or spring semester only, or combine the summer break with either semester.  Richard Alexander, CEP Program Manager, added that CEP students must be enrolled in their schools’ CEP program, if one exists.  “This way students can receive course credit for being out of school,” he explained.

Founded in 1949, with principal laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California, SNL is a leader in producing comprehensive, science-based technologies to aid national security research and development.  In addition to science and technology, SNL relies on innovative human resources, infrastructures, and partnerships to accomplish its goals and objectives, which are divided into five major categories:  nuclear weapons, nonproliferation and assessments, military technologies and applications, energy and infrastructure assurance, and homeland security.

The general research areas conducted at SNL include the following: Biotechnology; Chemical & Earth Sciences; Computing, Mathematics and Information Sciences; Electronics and Photonics; Microsystems and Engineering Sciences; Manufacturing Science and Technology; Materials Sciences; Pulsed Power/Directed Energy; and Robotics and Intelligent Systems.

Applicants for STIP must be U.S. citizens enrolled in a minimum 12-credit hour undergraduate or 9-credit hour graduate program, majoring in one of the SNL approved discipline areas listed above, and have a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA.  Applicants for CEP can be majors in any of those same disciplinary areas; or they can be business majors.  Students applying for either program must have a DOE security clearance and pass random drug and alcohol screening.

To apply for STIP or CEP, Alexander recommends that interested students visit SNL’s website and submit their resumes on-line.  He advises students to go to a specific discipline’s webpage, locate a contact name, if provided, and direct all correspondence to that individual.  As he put it, “We [strongly] recommend that students establish contact with a SNL staff member.  Students can do this independently or solicit the support of a faculty member in their respective departments. Quite a number of SNL staff already have contacts with students at their Alma Maters or the campuses at which they taught.”  Alexander also said that although these two programs are open to students nationwide, and SNL staff members will carefully review all submitted materials and select STIP and CEP students based on their respective areas of interest and experience, SNL has targeted 22 institutions whose students receive priority. For a listing of those targeted institutions, please contact Juan Abeyta at 505/844-7968.

For more specific information about STIP, please contact Suzanne Moya, Program Coordinator, at 505/284-3558 or by email at scmoya@sandia.gov.  CEP Program Manager Alexander may be contacted at 505/844-6823 or by email at rjalex@sandia.gov.  SNL’s link to student programs is at SNL's intern website.

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