Dr. Hicks received this note from a former student:
My reason for contacting you is to make you aware of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offered here at NIST and to kindly ask if you would share this information with the physics professors in your department as well as any students you know of that may be interested. There is such a wide array of research topics available for students to experience that it would be impossible to list them all here. Just a few examples of research areas available to students considering graduate work in physics or engineering include: atomic, molecular and optical physics, neutron physics (at our own nuclear reactor), laser cooling and trapping, helio- and astrophysics, electronic materials metrology, smart manufacturing, robotics, energy storage, transport and conversion, and nanofabrication.
The program is open to undergraduate science majors considering the pursuit of a graduate degree in the sciences, who have a GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher, and are either US citizens or permanent residents. The application process is competitive; awardees receive a $5,500 stipend (issued as a federal grant to the school for disbursement to the student) plus travel costs and housing. Internships are available at our main campus in Gaithersburg, MD, as well as our campus in Boulder, CO (home to the atomic clock that serves as the US civilian time and frequency standard as well as our newest Nobel laureate David Wineland). Note that there are separate applications for the two campuses, so if a student is interested in applying to both locations he or she must submit two separate applications. The Gaithersburg program runs from May 26 through August 9; and the Boulder program is from May 18 through July 31 (accommodations may be made for conflicts with academic schedules). The application deadline for universities to submit their student packages is February 13.
It is important to note that students do not apply independently for this program. Although each student is responsible for collecting the required recommendations and transcripts, preparing a personal statement and required forms, they do not submit these directly to the SURF program coordinators at NIST. Instead, the school must submit a single package comprising applications from all students applying from the university along with one short grant proposal nominating the students for participation. The students are, of course, evaluated as individuals for acceptance into the program. This single application model requires that one faculty or staff member be designated to coordinate the institutional submission package for students applying from across all the science, math and computer science departments (I am also contacting the chairs of these departments regarding the internship program). For example, this responsibility could be handled by someone from the Career Services Office.
I was fortunate to participate in two summer internship programs at large state universities while an undergraduate at UD and know that the experience is highly valuable in so many ways. Further, I also know that the typical UD student would be well-equipped for success in a program such as this. I would strongly encourage any student considering graduate studies in math or science to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for the program.
Links for further information on the programs at NIST Gaithersburg and Boulder campuses as well as the application process are below. The websites include contact information for the program coordinators at NIST who can answer questions on further details, but I am also happy to answer any questions you or your students may have.