2017 SPS Summer Internship Positions

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Please note:

  • Additional positions may be posted as they become available.
  • While there are positions open at NASA and NIST, the project descriptions are pending. Please check back regularly, as they will be updated as soon as they become available.

Applying for a 2017 SPS internship?
Check out the weekly journals and see presentations from the 2016 interns

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Education and Outreach Positions

AIP Center for History of Physics Intern

Host: American Institute of Physics (2 available)

Are you curious about the human story behind scientific discoveries? The AIP Niels Bohr Library & Archives is looking for two interns to work with staff to create a museum-style exhibit to highlight the human side of physics using the fascinating photographs, oral history interviews, archival collections, and books from the library and archives collections. The exhibit will fill three small display cases and will have an online companion piece. Interns will research potential topics for the exhibit and work with staff to select the most appropriate topic, locate information and resources for inclusion in the exhibit, work with a web designer to wireframe the online exhibit, and create the physical exhibit and install it in the display cases. The interns will also create a social media outreach plan to promote the exhibit on various outlets, including a newsletter, blog, Facebook, and Twitter (using Hootsuite Social Media Dashboard), and will create separate outreach plans to promote the Library & Archives and the exhibit to SPS student members and more broadly, to physics departments within colleges/universities. Other creative outreach and promotion items are encouraged (i.e. bibliography for related reading and research, posters/flyers/other graphic print announcements, bookmarks and other promotional materials). We are looking for creative ideas to showcase the intersection of science with the humanities.
 
Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated writing skills
  • Interest in public outreach
  • Strong creative skills, visual presentation and/or marketing skills

APS Public Outreach Intern

Host: American Physical Society (1 available)

Are you passionate about sharing science with the public? If so, consider joining the American Physical Society’s Public Outreach Department for the summer! APS is looking for a creative and fun SPS summer intern with experience engaging the public in science to expand its outreach efforts. The APS Public Outreach intern will work with APS staff to develop and put into motion a new informational education effort.

The intern will work alongside APS Outreach, Art, and Media Relations departments to come up with an outreach idea, define an audience and develop strategy to carry it out. The intern will be encouraged to think beyond "regular" demo shows and classroom activities. For example, the project could be a video contest for middle school students, a citizen science project targeted at people in retirement communities, or a guide for bringing science to street festivals. Fun, creative ideas encouraged!  APS Outreach, at www.physicscentral.com, communicates  the importance and excitement of physics to everyone.  

Qualifications

  • 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 (1 available)

Are you passionate about sharing physics with the next generation? Do you like developing fun and educational science activities? SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kits (SOCKs)  are self-contained kits that feature creative, informative, and hands-on physics activities for SPS chapters nationwide to use in outreach programs in their communities. The SOCK intern and the SOCK/NIST intern (see below) will take the 2017-18 SOCK from inception to completion by brainstorming, testing, designing, and refining activities. The interns will participate in several physics outreach events over the course of the summer, and will write up lesson outlines and reflections on their experiences for a manual that will accompany the SOCK. The science theme for the 2016-17 SOCK has not been chosen yet.

Qualifications

  • 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

SPS SOCK & the NIST Summer Institute Intern

Host: Society of Physics Students, American Institute of Physics & National Institute for Standards and Technology (1 available)

Project description is pending and will be posted as soon as possible. (SOCKs) are self-contained kits that feature creative, informative, and hands-on physics activities for SPS chapters nationwide to use in outreach programs in their communities.

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 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers is a two-week workshop for middle school science teachers featuring hands-on activities, lectures, tours, and visits with NIST scientists and engineers in their laboratories.

The intern hired for this position is responsible for helping to create a set of core activities for the 2015 SOCK, together with the SOCK intern (see previous), during the first half of the internship. The intern will spend the second half of the internship at NIST working with the staff and teachers participating in the Summer Institute. The intern will incorporate some of the SOCK lessons into the Summer Institute, and will support the camp in other ways as needed (preparing materials for activities, helping to facilitate activities, etc.). The intern will spend the last few days back at the SPS Office putting the final touches on the SPS SOCK.

Qualifications

  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in public outreach and education
  • Ability to work well with students and teachers
  • Ability to effectively communicate scientific topics to non-scientists
  • Experience with science outreach or teaching preferred

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AAPT Teacher Professional Development Programs Intern

Host: American Association of Physics Teachers (1 available)

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) seeks an SPS intern to help design and revise resources for AAPT’s K-12 teacher professional development programs, including face-to-face and digital resources. The intern will have the opportunity to develop a suite of curricular resources, develop and moderate monthly webinars, craft blogs, learn about and contribute to federal education policy, and engage in various grant programs related to heliophysics, the integration of physics and computation, and more. The intern will have the opportunity to attend the AAPT Summer Meeting and provide hands-on programming to high school teacher attendees. The intern will also support eMentoring and online learning by assisting with pairings of mentors and mentees, program evaluation, arranging for a webinar series, and streamlining online resources.

Qualifications:

  • 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 computation, engineering, or project-based learning will be a plus.

Science Policy Positions

AIP Mather Public Policy Intern*

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

AIP Mather Public Policy interns are physics majors who spend the summer working in a congressional office on Capitol Hill. Interns provide support to representatives and staff as needed on a range of issues. While duties vary depending on assignment, previous Mather interns have attended and helped prepare for hearings and markups, written letters to constituents, gathered background materials related to votes, and provided general support to the offices.  The AIP Mather Public Policy Internship Program is supported by the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts, and aims to promote awareness of and interaction with the policy process in Washington DC for undergraduate physics students.

Specific placements for Mather interns are arranged on an individual basis after they are selected. Previous AIP Mather policy interns have worked in member offices (including Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL 11), Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ 1), and others) and committee offices (US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology).

Qualifications

  • 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

AIP Science Policy News Intern

Host: American Institute of Physics (1 available)

Are you interested in how the government sets policies that impact science and how science informs public policy? Do you want to help communicate science policy developments to scientists and policymakers? If so, consider applying for a summer internship with FYI, an objective science policy news and resource center supported by the American Institute of Physics.

The AIP Science Policy News Intern will assist the FYI team with researching, writing, and disseminating news articles about science policy developments in Washington, D.C. To enhance FYI’s awareness of science policy debates and decisions, the intern will attend and summarize a wide variety of events, including congressional hearings and briefings, think tank discussions, federal advisory committee meetings, and more. In addition, the intern will contribute to FYI’s growing suite of science policy resources, such as the Federal Science Budget Tracker, and may have the opportunity to be the lead author for one or more articles.

Qualifications

  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Interest in science policy
  • Demonstrated writing skills
  • Interest in communicating policy developments

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. Position descriptions for 2017 are pending, but position descriptions for the 2016 SPS Summer Interns are below.

2016 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.

2016 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.

Qualifications

  • Completion of at least two years of college physics
  • Previous research experience preferred
  • Must meet the eligibility requirements for the NASA internship program including US citizenship

Science Research: NIST Research Intern

Host: National Institute for Standards and Technology (2 available)

Position descriptions for 2017 are pending, but position descriptions for the 2014 SPS interns are below.

2014 NIST Research Intern Positions 1 & 2: 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.

Qualifications

  • 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