Undergraduate Internship Program Faculty Letter

Please consider proposing to work with a Space Grant Undergraduate Research Intern:

This memo is to solicit your participation in an undergraduate research program sponsored by the University of Arizona/NASA Space Grant. As you may know, the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is Home Department to Arizona's Space Grant Program, and each year LPL faculty and researchers comprise a core group of our "Research Mentors". Last year, funding was provided for 32 student interns; this year we plan to support about the same number.

Students will be hired to work for the academic year--10 to 20 hours per week--at a $10.50 per hour wage. The program has two objectives. The first is to support and encourage undergraduates who are interested in space science and engineering careers by giving them opportunities to earn money while gaining valuable (and hopefully inspiring) experience participating in research projects. The second is to provide opportunities for STEM majors to broaden their educations with a research experience. Feedback from previous research interns and their advisors has been extremely positive. One indication of success is the fact that many of the interns (between 30-40% who are not graduating) continue to work with their advisors after their Space Grant support expires.

Researchers with research opportunities should fill out the Mentor Application Form. We look for a "NASA connection" (interpreted broadly) to the research. In addition to providing opportunities for upper division science and engineering majors, we are particularly looking for people to mentor students who are new and "testing the waters" in STEM majors. The goal of Space Grant is ultimately to build our nation's STEM workforce and a positive and exciting internship experience can play an important role in insuring students remain in the STEM pipeline.  We also encourage you to consider working with more than one student.

Funding may be provided in two ways. For a student fully supported by NASA funds, the Space Grant Steering Committee will screen proposed projects, and match researchers with appropriate students. Student applications are being solicited separately. Alternatively, researchers may nominate a specific student whom they have selected. In this second option, if the student and the project are selected for inclusion in the Space Grant Program, then the student will be split-funded equally by the researcher and the Space Grant. In all cases, both the proposed projects and the students are selected by the Steering Committee for appropriateness to the program and to achieve overall program balance.

This is an opportunity for you to make an important contribution to encouraging UA students, and a select number of Pima College students, while at the same time benefiting your own research program. Our aim is to support high caliber research experiences; students should be active participants in significant aspects of the work. It is also important that research interns be supervised by principal researchers and not be relegated to oversight by technicians. The competition among students for internships is keen. If you participate in the program, we will make every effort to match you with a smart and motivated student.

An undergraduate research experience can be a crucial factor in encouraging future scientists and engineers. It also serves an important role in promoting a deeper understanding of what work in the various STEM fields actually entails. All interested researchers are strongly encouraged to participate. Applications are due online by the posted due date. Inquiries or ideas may be discussed on the phone (621-8556) or in person at the Space Grant Office (room 349 of the Space Sciences Building).

In addition, if you know any motivated students interested in a research experience, please encourage them to apply for internships. That application is also linked to the webpage cited above. You may direct questions to Susan Brew, the program manager at  (621-8556).