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2014 SPS Summer Internship Positions

Applying for a 2014 SPS internship?
Check out the weekly journals and see presentations from the 2013 interns!

Education & Outreach Positions
Science Policy Positions
Science Research Positions

NEW! NASA Goddard Positions

Education & Outreach Positions

AAPT/PTRA Teacher Professional Development Intern
Host: American Association of Physics Teachers (1 available)

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the AAPT Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) program seek an SPS intern to help design and revise materials for AAPT’s high school teacher professional development program. AAPT/PTRA has the mission of improving the teaching and learning of physics and physical science for all teachers and students in the United States. It provides professional development on physics content, teaching techniques based on research in physics education, and integration of technology into curriculum. The program maintains a nationwide cadre of more than 150 accomplished high school teacher-leaders who are trained and continually involved in professional development. These teacher-leaders are certified as PTRAs by AAPT to lead workshops throughout the country. See for more information.

Working with PTRA teacher-leaders and AAPT staff, the intern will revise and develop materials for the PTRA workshops. The intern will also work on developing and testing classroom activities that involve technology and engineering design activities, to accompany workshop materials. The intern will have the opportunity to attend the 2014 AAPT Summer Meeting in Minneapolis as well as the PTRA Summer Institute to be offered in conjunction with the Summer Meeting.


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Demonstrated writing skills
  • Interest in teaching, particularly at the high school level
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Some experience as a teaching or learning assistant or other classroom teaching, experience using technology in physics education, and familiarity with the Next Generation Science Standards preferred. Experience with engineering or project-based learning will be a plus.

AIP History of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy Intern
Host: Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics (2 available)

The American Institute of Physics' (AIP) Center for History of Physics seeks two undergraduate physics students with an interest in the history of physics to contribute to a historical web resource like those at The resource for 2014 is a "Teachers Guide to the History of African-Americans in Physics and Astronomy," similar to the "Teachers Guide to the History of Women in Physics and Astronomy" produced in 2013. The interns will identify materials in the collections of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives at AIP related to the designated topic--oral histories, autobiographies, photos, etc. The interns will work with the director of the Center for History of Physics, graduate research assistants, and library specialists to weave these materials into a historical narrative and to design the web resource. The interns will also use this project for outreach to young science students.

The American Institute of Physics' Center for History of Physics works to preserve and make known the historical record of modern physics and allied sciences. Through documentation, archival collections and educational initiatives, the Center ensures that the heritage of modern physics is safeguarded and its story accurately told.


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in public outreach and informal education
  • Ability to effectively communicate scientific topics to pre-college students
  • Strong writing skills
  • Experience with HTML a plus

APS Public Outreach Intern
Host: American Physical Society (1 available)

Are you interested in Public Outreach?  The American Physical Society (APS) is looking for a creative and fun SPS summer intern to develop and complete a large-scale informal education project. He or she will work alongside APS Outreach, Art, and Media Relations departments to come up with a unique outreach idea, define an audience and develop strategy to carry it out. Interns are encouraged to think beyond the "regular" demo shows and classroom activities to design a project that effectively communicates physics concepts to the general public. Fun, creative ideas encouraged!  APS Outreach, at, communicates the importance and excitement of physics to everyone.


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Demonstrated writing skills
  • Interest in public outreach and informal education
  • Excellent communication skills

SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kit Intern
Host: Society of Physics Students, American Institute of Physics (2 available)

SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kits, or SOCKs, contain hands-on exploratory physics and science activities specifically designed for SPS Chapters to use in outreach presentations to local elementary, middle and high school students. The interns hired for this position are responsible for creating and testing a set of core activities for the 2014 SOCK and writing instructions for lessons and demonstrations. The science theme for the SOCK has not been chosen yet, but may be focused on light in celebration of the International Year of Light 2015.


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in public outreach and education
  • Ability to work well with pre-college students
  • Ability to effectively communicate scientific topics to non-scientists
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Experience with science outreach or education preferred
Science Policy Positions

AIP Mather Policy Intern*

Host: American Institute of Physics and Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill (2 available)
*US citizenship required

The primary purpose of the AIP Mather policy internship program (supported by the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts) is to promote awareness of and interaction with the policy process in Washington DC for undergraduate physics students. This is accomplished through direct engagement in science policy issues and efforts in the nation's capital, as AIP Mather policy interns work in Congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Previous AIP Mather policy interns have worked in member offices and committee offices. Specific placements are arranged on an individual basis after the AIP Mather policy interns are selected.

As part of the larger SPS Internship program, the AIP Mather policy interns will introduce other SPS interns to the public policy process through one or more field trips to appropriate science policy events or locales--Congressional hearings, governmental agencies and/or facilities, for example.


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in science policy
  • Basic understanding of how Congress and the US government works
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • US Citizenship
Science Research Positions

Science Research: NASA Goddard Research Intern
Host: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2 available)

SPS interns will work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. What follows are descriptions for the anticipated research positions, but these are subject to change.

NASA Research Position 1: Following Eta Carinae across Periastron
In late July, 2014, the massive binary star, Eta Carinae, will undergo a change caused by the very close periastron passage that occurs every 5.54 years. Observations have already begun to monitor the changes in X-ray emission, ionization and excitation using CHANDRA, HST, SWIFT and a number of ground-based observatories. In parallel, three- dimensional (3D), radiative-hydrodynamic modeling is being done. Already forecasts on the behavior of the system have been made to quantify changes in the mass loss rates and velocities of the massive interacting winds associated with this binary. The student would be expected to work with a team of astronomers by helping organize data, assisting in running models on a work station, reducing and analyzing data leading to specific results that will bound the long-term behavior of this massive star system that will eventually become two supernovae. The student will have opportunities to learn about observational astronomy, massive stars and their ultimate fates, and participate in disseminating the scientific results.

NASA Research Position 2: Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry
Recent cosmological results have indicated that the universe may have undergone a period of rapid accelerated expansion within its first fraction of a second. This expansion, known as cosmic inflation, would have produced primordial gravitational waves that imprint a faint tell-tale polarized signature on the relic cosmic microwave background radiation. We are currently developing technology for two pathfinder experiments to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background to search for evidence of cosmic inflation in the early universe. The enabling technologies currently under development include highly-sensitive cryogenic detectors and quasioptical polarization modulators. We are seeking energetic and capable undergraduates to work with the team to further the detector and/or modulator development. The work will involve testing existing devices, analyzing test data, and designing laboratory test structures.


  • Must meet the eligibility requirements for the NASA internship program including US citizenship, see
  • NASA Research Position 1: Mac OS. Knowledge of spectroscopy IDL or Python experience a plus
  • NASA Research Position 2: Ability to problem solve. Experience with LabView, SolidWorks, MatLab, Python, electronics, or electromagnetics a plus.

Science Research: NIST Research Intern
Host: National Institute of Standards and Technology (2 avaliable)

SPS interns will work in the Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, NIST.  This division provides leadership in conducting research in the areas of dimensional, nanometer-scale, surface, and acoustic pressure metrology; accelerometry; silicon Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology; MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS); power electronics; nanoelectronics; and flexible/printed electronics.

NIST Research Intern Position 1: Identifying biomolecules in solution
A new sensor is being developed at NIST that will uniquely identify individual biomolecules in complex solutions. The sensor is based on a solid-state nanopore with molecular-scale features and an integrated transistor using a 2 dimensional semiconductor. This device will take advantage of the fact that every molecule has a unique electrostatic profile, arising from the unique arrangement of functional groups, ligands, and heteroatom within the molecular structure. The intern will assist in some of the nanofabrication steps, electrical testing, and fluidic testing using targeted molecules.

NIST Research Intern Position 2: Coming Soon


  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in physics research
  • Previous laboratory/measurement experience, especially in the area of electronics or materials
  • Programming skills a plus
2014 SPS Internships
and FluidReview

Apply Online Now!

SPS Internship applications are now being accepted until February 14, 2014 because of the late addition of two new positions at NASA Goddard. Students interested in the NASA positions that have already submitted an application are welcome to edit their application materials until February 14, 2014.

The application process will be managed through an online system called FluidReview. Applicants will need to create a FluidReview account, which they can use to apply for SPS internships.

Apply Now!
Mather Policy Internships

Nobel Laureate Supports Congressional Internships in Partnership with SPS

John Mather

John C. Mather, who shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for his precise measurements of the primordial heat radiation of the Big Bang, has turned his sights to a more Earthly ambition. He has spent part of his prize money to bring more physics and physicists into government.

The John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) have created the Mather Policy Intern Program, an endowed program that sends two undergraduate physics majors to Washington, DC, each summer where they will spend their break working in Congress or in other government offices where policy is formulated. AIP administers the program through two of its units, the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the Media and Government Relations (MGR) division.

"The aim of the program is to promote awareness of policy process among young scientists by directly engaging them in the work that goes on in the federal government—work that is today as exciting as in any time in the past," explained Fred Dylla, Executive Director of AIP.

Also of Interest:

Washington METRO Website

Washington Post Interns' Guide to DC

Salaries for College Interns Rise 5%

Grads With Internships Have Job Market Edge

Summer Research Opportunities on The Nucleus

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