Internship Overview

The UArizona NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Internship Program is just one of the many programs that AZSGC offers. The goals of the Internship Program are to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to work alongside a mentor on a research, research & development, science writing, science policy, or science education experience.  In addition, the Internship Program provides UArizona undergraduates who are exploring career options the opportunity to broaden their education with rich, hands-on experience and the full process of inquiry and discovery. Space Grant internships integrate research with education to help build our future NASA workforce by creating a diverse, scientifically literate, and well-prepared STEM community.


We are seeking student applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. Citizenship per NASA (federal) funding requirements.
  • Enrolled in 9 units or more at the University of Arizona during the Fall and Spring semester of the award year.
    • While there is no limit on the maximum number of academic credit hours you may take during the award year, we strongly recommend against taking more than 12 units per semester during the time of your internship. Participation in the program can be rigorous and time management is key to a successful internship.
  • Undergraduate Sophomore, Junior, or Senior academic standing at the start of the award year.
  • Enrolled in any STEM major, or has an interest in pursuing a STEM career.
  • We especially encourage applications from those traditionally underrepresented in STEM.
  • Prior research experience is not required, nor is it required to have a mentor at the time of application. If you are selected for the program and did not indicate a mentor match on your application, the committee will match you with the best possible project based on your interests, skills, needs, and more. 
  • Effective July 1, 2023: Space Grant interns are hired as UArizona student employees and are placed in various research positions. Student employees in a Security- or Safety-Sensitive position, or who disclose a felony conviction, will be subject to a fingerprint-based criminal record background check per UArizona HR policy.

Duration & Award

The internship is for one academic year and runs from the first week of September to the first week of May. Upon acceptance of the program, interns are hired as University of Arizona student employees. Interns may work up to 20 hours per week, but must work a minimum of 160 hours during the academic year (a minimum of 5 hours per week). Interns' weekly hours may fluctuate and work schedules can be built around their class schedule and the needs of the project/mentor. Interns are paid $15.50 per hour for the academic year 2024-25, thus award totals vary depending on how many hours the intern commits to the program. 

What to Expect

Once applications are received and reviewed, all intern applicants will be contacted in late July / early August to inform them if they were awarded an internship or not. Awardees must accept their internship by the given deadline. Internships may take place with a faculty mentor on campus or with a professional/program affiliate in government, industry, or non-profit sectors on or off-campus. Interns are matched with mentors and research projects that relate to one or more NASA Mission Directorates (MDs). Mentors will provide interns with 5-20 hours per week of meaningful internship work which must include a specific project or problem for the intern to solve. Projects do not have to be completed by the end of the program year, but interns must have a tangible "piece of the project puzzle" that they can actively work on throughout their internship, and then present on that work during the Symposium. Internship work hours may include background reading, attendance at team/relevant meetings, field work, and especially data collection, processing, and analysis. Additional goals and requirements will be defined and agreed upon by intern/mentor matches when they establish a working relationship at the beginning of the academic year.

Internships begin with an orientation at the start of the Fall semester and culminate with a statewide Student Research Symposium at the end of the Spring semester. These two meetings are mandatory for Space Grant interns, and interns must attend and present a formal abstract and PowerPoint presentation at the Symposium. During the academic year, interns will be asked to participate in a mid-semester check-in, complete evaluations, and will be invited to monthly Space Grant events. These requirements and events are in addition to the research that you and your mentor conduct, which will be defined by intern and mentor and the needs of the research project.

This program's success largely depends on an intern and mentor working together to build a clear outline of responsibilities, setting up consistent forms of communication and regular meeting times, and setting weekly goals that are then followed up on each week. While the research project and the intern's responsibilities may change over time, it is important to have both short and long-term goals clearly defined and written down.

This internship is a challenging work experience. It is a firm commitment by both the intern and mentor for the student's research and education. A Space Grant internship will involve these phases:

  • The learning curve: learning new equipment, software, and perhaps even the topic itself
  • Defining the context: stating the problem, posing the hypothesis, and setting the educational objective(s)
  • Determining the methodology: defining your experimental design, data collection, etc.
  • Conducting the work: this may include data collection, analysis, fabrication, application development, testing, teaching, reporting, and writing
  • Compiling the results: your data synthesis, code implementation, evaluations, and more
  • Interpretation: reviewing what happened and determining what it may mean
  • Formal presentation: all students conclude their internship by presenting at our statewide Student Research Symposium

Timeline of Program Year

June 30, 2024: Intern & Mentor applications due at midnight (MST).

Late July - August: Interns notified of selection for the program; must respond to confirm their participation by given deadline. 

September: Intern orientation; internship begins.

December: Mid-year evaluation due from interns and mentors.

March: Interns must submit a 150-word abstract for the AZSGC student research Symposium; mentors must review/approve this abstract.

April: Interns must attend and present a PowerPoint presentation for the AZSGC statewide Student Research Symposium. 

May: Conclusion of internship.

Is this program virtual or in person?

Internships may be virtual, in person, or a combination of both. On the mentor application, mentors are asked to describe research tasks and location of work so that the Space Grant Committee may match an intern to those needs and requirements. Once matched, interns and mentors may work together to come up with a schedule that works for them and the research project requirements during the program year. Please note, most Space grant monthly events are in person, and the statewide Student Research Symposium is in person with no virtual component. Interns must attend the Symposium event.

Apply by June 30th, 2024!

Intern Application