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Summer Undergraduate
Research Fellowship Program

SURFing the Engineering Laboratory

Application Deadline: February 12, 2016

(Applications will be accepted pending availabilities of funds)

The Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a 11-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF).

The SURF program is designed to provide hands-on research experience in building and fire research technologies. This program builds on the phenomenal success of the three other SURF programs at NIST. NIST is located just outside Washington, DC. [directions...]

Research Opportunities in EL

NIST's Engineering Laboratory (EL) supplies critical enabling solutions to U.S. manufacturers, the con­struction industry, and the broad array of businesses and other organizations that build, own, operate, or maintain the nation's vast physical infrastructure. EL's research is closely aligned with critical national needs including energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure. Our researchers are working in areas such as fire prevention and control, earthquake hazards reduction, sustainable manufacturing and construction, manufacturing enterprise integration, and construction safety. Our researchers are recognized experts in intelligent sensing and control robotics and automation systems; systems engineering and integration;smart manufacturing processes (including additive manufacturing) and enterprise integration; energy efficient and intelligent operation of buildings with healthy indoor environments; sustainability, durability and service-life prediction of building and infrastructure materials; fire protection and fire dynamics within buildings and communities; and resilience and reliability of structures at risk to multiple hazards. Our researchers come from a broad array of backgrounds including: chemistry, physics, materials science, mathematics, computer science, intelligent systems, information technology, fire science, computer engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, fire engineering, environmental engineering, economics…. For a detailed list of current research interests, please browse the Engineering Laboratory website: www.nist.gov/el

If you are interested in interning in the Engineering Laboratory next summer, we hope to see an application from you! SURF students gain valuable hands-on experience by working one-on-one with an engineer or scientist for 11 weeks … and you get paid too. In addition to a$5500 stipend, travel and housing allowances are available for those who live outside of the NIST immediate area.  Application packages must be submitted by the student's academic institution; e.g., by a faculty member or other appropriate administrative staff. Complete information about the program and application process is available on the SURF Application page. When applying, indicate you first- and second-choice programs from among the six possible choices. Applications may be considered by any of the programs, with preference given to those indicated on the application.  The essay within your application is extremely important. Use this opportunity to tell the reviewers about yourself, indicate the type of research you are interested in, and why you think that SURF will have an impact on you. All of this information is helpful to find the best match with our mentors/projects.


There are SURF opportunities throughout NIST's technical research areas – including opportunities at NIST's other campuses. Check out their web pages as well!



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More Information about the SURF Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

SURF Application

Download an application and information packet then print out the required forms or call Brandi Toliver at (301) 975-2371, e-mail: brandi.toliver@nist.gov.

Student Eligibility Criteria

  • GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or better (recommended)

  • Must be U. S. citizen or permanent resident

  • Two letters of recommendation into the program by physics, chemistry or engineering professors/department chairs, or research advisors; copy of student transcript; and letter of intent/personal statement

Plan of Operation

  • SURFers work directly with NIST Research Advisors in ongoing research activities

  • SURFers participate in weekly seminar program and the end-of-the summer Colloquium for student presentations; SURFers are encouraged to participate in extra mural group activities intended to enrich the fellowship experience

  • Fellows are encouraged to present their research results at national meetings

  • Research advisors will be encouraged to visit the host colleges to discuss NIST research 



For more information contact:

Lisa Fronczek
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8200
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8200
Phone: (301) 975-6633