Office of Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate Research

National Laboratories

Reserach with the Federal Government

The Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory building at WSU Tri-Cities, a partnership project between WSU and the nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

National Laboratories are centers that conduct research in a variety of fields on a national level.  Though not affliliated with colleges and universities, many offer internships to undergraduate students. 
These programs allow students to work with high-caliber professionals in their field of interest, and gain valuable, hands-on experience.  Most internships are paid, but students should be aware that they will need to commit to the entire program.
The following are a few of the most popular and prestigious national laboratories that offer internships to undergraduate students.  Admission to these programs is competitive, so applying early is a good idea.


Department of Energy Laboratories

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) operates 21 national laboratories and technology centers across the country, including two in the Pacific Northwest.  More than 30,000 scientists and engineers perform cutting-edge research at these world-class facilities.

The DOE runs the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program, which offers paid internships to undergraduate students in the spring, summer, and fall.  Interested students should be aware that they are required to participate in the 10- or 16-week program for its entirety. 

The laboratory an applicant works in will depend on their area of interest; different labs perform different types of research.


National Institute for Standards and Technology

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.  For more than a century the NIST has promoted U.S. innovation and industrial competiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology.

The NIST conducts research in a wide variety of physical and engineering sciences at its two laboratories, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado.  A ten-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program is offered at both locations for qualifying students.

Unlike most programs, a student's institution must apply of their behalf.  Therefore, interested students must decide to apply early, and contact to the Director of Undergraduate Research, Dave Bahr.


National Aeronautics and Science Administration

The National Aeronautics and Science Administration (NASA) is a federal agency that operates scientific research centers across the country.  For more 50 years NASA has worked to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.

NASA offers two prominent undergraduate research opportunities, the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars (LARSS) program, and the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP).

LARSS accepts undergraduates for summer, fall, and spring internships at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.  This program is open to students from any major that lends support to NASA's mission and special project areas; this includes business, fine arts, English, and history.

The USRP internship programs offers paid internships to undergraduates in the spring, summer, and fall at a participating NASA research center.  This opportunity is available for students with majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  Admission is highly competitive for USRP, and interested students are encouraged to apply early!

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