Research Opportunities and Internships

Note: Some research opportunities overlap with internship or field work opportunities.  Some internships are paid or associated with scholarships, while others are not.  Additionally, some of the opportunities listed here are scholarship award programs where, upon graduation, you will work for the organization for a period of time.  Research these opportunities carefully and talk to your advisors before applying.  You can learn about these opportunities by clicking their titles, which will take you to the main website for each.

Being Involved in Research

Research should be an important part of the education of every student in The Honors College. Through research, you learn how knowledge is created, use your creativity to address new questions, and move your learning beyond the classroom. While you are a research assistant, you can also develop a connection with a professor. This connection can lead to a long-lasting mentoring relationship and it can enable the professor to write detailed letters of recommendation on your behalf.

Being involved in research strengthens many of your academic skills. As you work with a professor on his or her research and deepen your knowledge of the research topic, you will improve your ability to understand research methods, formulate research questions, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions from that data. Being involved in research can also develop your critical-thinking and time-management skills.

Involvement in research can also help you prepare for the future. It can help you clarify academic and career goals, either by solidifying your passion for a long-standing academic interest or by developing a new interest. It can also make you more attractive to graduate schools, professional schools, and employers. Undergraduates who are involved in research are more likely to be accepted into graduate or professional programs than are undergraduates with no research experience.

NSF - Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal agency that encourages and facilitates the research of many scientific fields.  NSF attempts to keep abreast of the scientific endeavors across the country through close contact with the researchers NSF funds from over 2,000 colleges, universities, school systems, businesses, informational, and other science organizations.

NSF offers undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research projects in a wide range of sciences, including chemistry, social sciences, earth sciences, and many more through their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Students can apply to be a part of research teams for REU sites around the country at various colleges and universities.

See the REU site database for a complete listing of fields covered, and to search for specific projects at particular institutions.  The program affords students the opportunity to learn from, and work alongside, researchers in the field, get highly sought-after research experience at the undergraduate level, and travel somewhere new for the summer.

Homeland Security Internship

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors a 10-week summer internship program for rising juniors and seniors majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. The DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in DHS mission-relevant research areas at federal research facilities located across the country.

The goal of this program is to engage a diverse, educated, and skilled pool of scientists and engineers in HS-STEM issues and to promote long-term relationships between student researchers, the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, and federal research facilities to enhance the HS-STEM workforce.

DHS has partnered with Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to manage the application and review process, notification, and implementation of the Program. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate reviews applications and makes the final award selections.

The internship includes a stipend of $500 each week and transportation expenses for one round trip between the student’s current or home address and the assigned federal research facility, with some limitations.

Field Experience: Internships

Internships have become an increasingly important, and sometimes necessary, aspect of students' educational experiences. In addition to providing students with invaluable hands-on experience, internships allow for the application of classwork to fieldwork, intense learning and skill development, as well as the opportunity to work directly under leaders in the field.

Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health

This is a 10-week summer environmental internship for undergraduate students majoring in Environmental Studies, Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, or related fields who are passionate about the environment, interested in human health, and curious about how they are linked.

Interns will be placed in environmental health programs at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) at CDC's Chambell Campus.  Over the course of the summer, interns will be exposed to a broad overview of environmental health projects, interact with federal officials and scientists, and visit important environmental health sites in Atlanta.

The internship program will provide a stipend for living expenses ($500 per week).  Travel to Atlanta will be the student's responsibility.  Potential housing options will be provided in advance; however, interns will be expected to make their own arrangements.

Deadline: Early February

Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service (SFS)

The SFS program seeks to increase the number of qualified students entering the fields of information assurance and computer security and to increase the capacity of the United States higher education enterprise to continue to produce professionals in these fields to meet the needs of our increasingly technological society.

The Scholarship Track provides funding to colleges and universities to award scholarships to students in the information assurance and computer security fields. Scholarship recipients shall pursue academic programs in information assurance for the final two years of undergraduate study. These students will participate as a cohort, including a summer internship in the Federal Government. The recipients of the scholarships will become part of the Federal Cyber Service of Information Technology Specialists whose responsibility is to ensure the protection of the United States Government's information infrastructure. Upon graduation, after their two-year scholarships, recipients will be required to work for two years in the Federal Government.

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships

This program places students in paid internships in science and engineering at any of several Department of Energy facilities. Students work with scientists or engineers on projects related to the laboratories' research programs. The different laboratories each offer different research opportunities; see the website for a list of the labs.

An internship is for 10 weeks. The summer programs run from late May to mid-August, fall programs run from August through December, and spring programs from January through May. The exact start date will depend on the laboratory and will be given to participants who have been accepted at that specific laboratory. Students are required to participate for the full term of the program.

Environmental Protection Agency Student Summer Employment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking for energetic and highly motivated students for summer employment. Numerous opportunities are available within EPA for students to gain valuable work experience while contributing to the mission of protecting human health and safeguarding the environment. Student summer employment opportunities are available at EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and at regional office and laboratory locations nationwide. Most summer positions have salaries ranging from the GS-2 to GS-7 level (a base hourly rate of $9.59 to $16.28, excluding locality pay).

National Institute of Health Internship in Biomedical Research

Summer programs at the National Institute of Health (NIH) provide an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical researchThe NIH consists of the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1200 laboratories/ research projects located in various areas of the U.S.

Awards cover a minimum of eight weeks, with students generally arriving at the NIH in May or June.  The NIH Institutes and Office of Intramural Training and Education sponsor a wide range of summer activities including lectures featuring distinguished investigators, career/ professional development workshops, and Summer Poster Day.

Deadline: Early March