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NIST Postdoctoral Research Associateships Program

The NIST Postdoctoral Research Associateships Program supports a nationwide competitive postdoctoral program administered in cooperation with the National Academy of Science (NAS)/National Research Council (NRC). The NRC, through its Associateship Programs office, conducts a national competition on NIST's behalf to recommend outstanding scientists and engineers at the postdoctoral level for a two-year excepted term appointment at NIST.

photo of David Hanneke

NIST postdoctoral researcher David Hanneke at the laser table used to demonstrate the first universal programmable processor for a potential quantum computer. A pair of beryllium ions (charged atoms) that hold information in the processor are trapped inside the cylinder at the lower right. A colorized image of the two ions is displayed on the monitor in the background.

Credit: J. Burrus/NIST
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Other Postdoctoral Opportunities

General Programs with Connections to Education Programs

NIST Student Tours
Due to security concerns, NIST no longer offers tours for the general public. NIST offers a limited number of guided tours for college and university students, and for students in grades 8 through 12. Tours are tailored for the visiting group and priority is given to those with educational interests in science and engineering.

Guide to NIST's STEM Education Activities

IAAO/AA is a point of contact for dispersing information regarding NIST's education programs, although not all of these are directly administered by IAAO.

NIST Graduate Student Measurement Science and Engineering (GMSE) Fellowship Program

The NIST GMSE fellowship program provides doctoral-level graduate students with opportunities and financial assistance to obtain laboratory experience within the NIST laboratories in the Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines related to NIST mission-research. The program is administered through the National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC).

Sam Evans
During the summer of 2012, SURF participant and MIT student Sam Evans studied the magnetic susceptibility of certain nanoparticles at low temperature.
Credit: NIST
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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program

The NIST SURF program is an 11-week fellowship program that provides undergraduate students the opportunity for hands-on experience in the science and engineering research areas at NIST. It is open to undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in physics, materials science, engineering, computer science, chemistry, applied mathematics or related areas. The program offers fellowships in all of NIST's Laboratories, and at both the main Gaithersburg campus and the Boulder campus.

Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)

PREP provides valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students. Fellowships are awarded to assure continued growth and progress of science and engineering in the U.S.

Teacher Programs

  • NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers
    The NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers is a combination of hands-on activities, lectures, tours, and visits with scientists in their laboratories. Designed to coordinate with the middle school curriculum, the teachers are provided with resources and instructional tools for teaching science, with an emphasis on measurement science and engineering research done at NIST. Led entirely by NIST scientists, the Summer Institute translates the cutting-edge research done in the laboratory to activities designed to be carried out in the classroom. Networking among the scientist and teachers provides long-term resources through the on-going relationships for the teachers and their students.
  • NIST Research Experience for Teachers

Other NIST-Sponsored or Hosted Programs

  • 4-H Adventure in Science, Inc.
    This hands-on science program for children ages eleven through fifteen years consists of classes in physics, chemistry, computers, biology, astronomy, and other disciplines taught by scientists and engineers. Classes meet for two hours on Saturday mornings from October through March at NIST, Lockheed-Martin Corporation, Urbana Middle School, and the National Institutes of Health. Visit the AIS website for registration and contact details.
  • Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
    This one-day annual activity, sponsored by IAAO and CRDO, is open to children of NIST employees (ages nine through fourteen). Science demonstrations, and hands-on experiments are included in the day's activities. The event date coincides with that of the national organization, the fourth Thursday in April.
    • Sigma Xi Postdoctoral Poster Presentation
    • Measurement Science Award for High School Students' Science Fair Projects
    • Teacher Award (Montgomery County Public Schools)

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Summer High School Intern Program (SHIP)

The NIST SHIP is an eight-week summer program for high school students. Students selected for this competitive volunteer program participate in cutting–edge research at NIST, and work closely with NIST staff scientists on a specific research problem. SHIP is aimed at students who will have finished their junior or senior year of high school by the start of the program. During their tenure at the NIST Gaithersburg and NIST Boulder campuses, the SHIP students are unpaid volunteers, but receive student service learning hours (for those enrolled in Montgomery County, MD, public schools). This program is open only to U.S. citizens.

plastic beads
High school student Jessica Young checking the packing density of random aggregates of plastic spheres in a cylinder. Young's work as a summer intern at NIST contributed to a paper arguing that rigid aggregates like those she's testing tend to clump together at roughly the same density regardless of scale, from microscopic soot to large comets.
Credit: Baum/NIST
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NIST Student Volunteer Program (SVP)

The NIST SVP is for students to gain exposure to fields such as physical science, mathematics, engineering, computer science, and administration. Participants must be enrolled at least half-time in school, and a formal agreement is signed between student, school, and NIST. The position is non-paid.


NIST employs students and recent graduates of all ages and backgrounds through the Pathways Program. The Pathways Program offers clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates, and to provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service.

The Pathways Program consists of three components: the Internship Program, the Recent Graduate Program and the Presidential Management Fellow Program. For more information about each of these programs, please click on one of the links below.