The Internship Experience
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Upon arrival at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), all interns are oriented to the NRL campus and are presented with a well-designed summer project plan from their respective mentors. Each principal investigator (PI)/mentor arranges the project plan with an emphasis on student development, growth and ownership by the end of the 10-week tenure. The principal investigator will provide a reading list of publications related to the scientific research performed during the summer.


Mentors will initially spend a minimum of 10 hours per week with their students to ensure that each student understands the overall objective, concepts and protocols. As time progresses and the intern becomes more familiar with the project, less time is required by the mentor/PI, while more time is invested by the research staff (post-docs and technicians). Mentors will work directly with interns in the laboratory, answer questions, provide training on various types of equipment and/or software, assist with report writing and support interns’ preparation for their final oral presentations. In most instances, weekly group meetings to discuss experimental results and future experiments will occur.


All interns receive formal laboratory safety training prior to conducting laboratory research. This training is required to ensure all laboratory participants understand the potential hazards and necessary safety precautions. Interns are then presented a summer schedule that will highlight events throughout the 10-week period that may include:


  • Scientific seminars
  • Discussions on ethics in science
  • U.S. Capitol/Museum tours
  • Resume writing/Job search skills workshop
  • Graduate school site visits
  • Open panel discussions w/senior scientists, post-doctoral staff and graduate students
  • Networking/Teambuilding activities
  • Technical writing
  • Scientific oral presentations

Interns are encouraged to actively participate in each of these events, which will allow them to obtain the necessary tools to continue on toward a career in science and technology.

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

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