The primary goal of the summer internship program is to encourage promising young minority students to pursue careers in scientific research by providing them with an introduction to graduate level laboratory research and the opportunity to perform “hands-on” work at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC. The interdisciplinary research performed at NRL gives interns exposure to a variety of fields including materials science and engineering, chemical and biochemical engineering, aerospace engineering, physics, synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, computer science, mathematics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.

Research topics - Past projects completed within this program include three-dimensional analysis of materials, biosensor design and engineering, organic/inorganic molecular imprinting, bio-fuels and alternative energy materials, laser fabrication of living tissue for biosensing applications, nanoparticle characterization and synthesis, meta-Proteomics and mass spectral-based proteome profiling, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis, solar energy harvesting, graphical user interface for robotics engineering, and nanocrystalline magnetic materials for power electronics applications.

Student Profile - Undergraduate students are primarily recruited from the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI). The student interns have come from Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Hampton University, Spelman College, North Carolina A&T University, Universities of Puerto Rico, Bowie State University, University of New Mexico, Florida Memorial University, Virginia State University, Florida International University, Bethune Cookman University, and others. Two-hundred thirty-six minority students have completed research internships at NRL during the twenty summers of this program's existence, 1992-2012. This has included 133 women and 103 men from a variety of scientific disciplines: Chemistry, Biology, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

Students chosen to participate in this program are expected to be motivated towards STEM and/or teaching careers. Preference is given to students to students whose objectives include an advanced degree in STEM disciplines, as opposed to a medical degree. The average grade point average for selected interns is typically 3.4 out of 4.0. A sampling of recent student projects can be sampled through the links in the left hand navigation.