layout University Affiliated Research Center - UC Santa Cruz - NASA Ames Research Center
Summer 2008 Graduate Student Internship Program

Systems Teaching Institute

Summer 2010 Graduate Student Internship Program

The Program

The Systems Teaching Institute (STI) is offering a 10-12 week summer research program for graduate students in fields relevant to NASA Ames research. Selected students will gain hands-on experience working with cutting-edge research and development teams, an increased understanding of the NASA mission, and mentoring in research management skills. Besides working closely with Ames scientists and engineers, students will have the opportunity to attend seminars tailored to their level of expertise, career development workshops, and an end-of-summer symposium where they can share their results with other student interns. Awards (in the form of travel support to a national conference) will be given for the best symposium poster presentations.

This summer, the STI will be hosting 10-20 students from colleges and universities across the United States. Students will be selected based on their research interests and career goals and how well they complement existing NASA projects. A list of potential projects is listed below. Additional information about UARC research at NASA Ames can be obtained here.


Basic Requirements:
To be eligible, students must be enrolled in (or accepted into) a Masterís or Doctoral program. Students must demonstrate their potential to contribute to Ames research via enrollment in a highly relevant degree program (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) and/or articulation of:

  • Acquired skills that might be of special interest
  • Prior educational background that shows interdisciplinary knowledge
  • Specialized career goals directly related to NASA’s mission

For Foreign Nationals:
Students who have F-1 status may work under certain circumstances while they are in the United States. There are two major categories of work for which an international student may qualify: employment on campus and employment off campus. Working as a UARC/STI Graduate Student Intern would constitute employment off campus, for which there are two categories:

  • Curricular Practical Training: Internship authorized by International Student Advisor
  • Optional Practical Training: 12 months authorized by USCIS per degree level

The Curricular Practical Training requires that you receive academic credit for your internship at your home institution. More detailed information can be found at the San Jose State University International Programs and Services department.
We highly recommend that all foreign nationals speak with their respective university organizations about the feasibility of obtaining the appropriate work permit. Please note the earlier application deadline for foreign nationals (below).

Students will receive $19- $25 an hour, commensurate with tasks and experience. Starting and ending dates are flexible to allow for varying institutional academic calendars. However, students are expected to work a minimum of 10 weeks between May 1 and September 30, 2010.

The STI offers a stipend which covers 50 – 100% of the lodging expenses for up to 12 weeks; please let us know via your application materials if you will have a need for housing over the period of your internship.

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A completed application consists of:

  • Resume or CV,
  • Official academic transcripts or letter of acceptance from your graduate institution,
  • Official academic transcripts from your undergraduate institution (for students beginning their graduate studies in the fall of 2010),
  • A completed application form.
  • One letter of recommendation from a professor or research advisor, and
  • A cover letter that includes a description of your career goals, interests, and/or special skills. 

**Foreign National on F-1 Visa must include a copy of their I-20 with application materials. (PLEASE DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS).

**Download Application Form**

Application Deadline:
US Citizens:
All materials should be postmarked on or before March 20, 2010. However, in order to receive the best consideration possible, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all materials by the deadline given to foreign nationals (December 31, 2009). The STI will accept unofficial transcripts for the March 20th deadline. However, official transcripts must be received by March 31, 2010. The Systems Teaching Institute will make selections and send out notification letters to all applicants on or before April 30, 2010.

Foreign Nationals:
To ensure full consideration all materials (except transcripts) should be postmarked on or before December 31, 2009. Official transcripts must be received by March 31, 2010. The Systems Teaching Institute will make selections and send out notification letters to all applicants on or before April 30, 2010.

Please note that students with F-1 status will be required to furnish an I-20 form signed by your home institution before employment can be secured. Please be prepared to furnish this paperwork immediately after submission of your application. Contact the International services department at your home institution for more information.

**Note to Foreign National Applicants**

NASA requires a very extensive background check for all incoming foreign national interns/employees. This process takes 4 - 6 months to complete; longer if you are not able to visit Ames for fingerprinting prior to your internship activities. Even in the best case there is always the possibility that you will not receive computer access and that you will need to be escorted for the duration of your internship.

Send applications to:
UARC Systems Teaching Institute
NASA Ames Research Center
MS: 19-26
Building 19 room 1085
Moffett Field, CA 94035
Attn: STI Graduate Student Program

Contact Information:
For further information about the program, contact Dr. Natalie Batalha at Or Amy Gilbert at

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Potential Research Projects


Pursuing innovative capabilities through the integration of nano-bio-information technologies including fundamental research, physical modeling and characterization, fabrication processes, and demonstration of prototype devices

  • Multifunctional Thermal Materials
    • A single shield meeting TPS, solar flare and MMOD protective requirements for Lunar/Mars return.
    • Thermal control of small satellites and electronics
  • Sensors for gas and state detection
    • Ultra-sensitive sensors for propellant leak detection and state sensors for monitoring vehicle health and performance.  Wireless mesh networked sensors for testing and monitoring.
  • Field Emission
    • Carbon Nanotube based emitter sources for ultra-miniaturized, advanced science instrumentation.
  • Biosensors
    • Carbon nanotube based biochip for rapid, automated, ultra-sensitive, label-free detection of suite of pathogens. Environmental monitoring, homeland security, clinical diagnostics

Information Technology and Computer Science:

  • Development of advanced information technology, computer science and computing technologies supporting NASA’s space exploration and aerospace missions. Emphasis on applying intelligent agent technologies to emerging missions.
  • User-Centered Technologies:  Mission Control Technologies
    • Designing and creating software out of fine-grained interoperable components rather than monolithic applications
    • Delivered prototype to Mission Control; used ethnographic techniques and collaborative user research with flight controllers to create and validate the design
  • Evolvable Systems
    • Development of artificial "evolutionary algorithms" for computer-automated design.
    • Artificial evolution of antennas and MEMS devices for space applications.
  • Human-Centered Computing
    • Human-Computer Interaction for Advanced EVA
    • XSearch knowledge management system being deployed at Mission Control Center-Houston
    • UARC researcher Dan Berrios co-authored book “The Geospatial Web”
  • Integrated Systems Health Management
    • Development of model-based diagnosis and recovery techniques to support autonomous and in some cases, automatic operation of space systems.

Aerospace Systems:

Conduct research as part of NASA’s mission to revolutionize aviation.
Meet national requirements for greater automation and autonomous reasoning in ATM systems.
Emphasis on airspace automated flight operations and management

  • Air Traffic Management (ATM) Automation Concepts in Aerospace Systems
    • Enhanced Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) – Awarded NASA Software of the Year 2006
    • Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES)
  • Air Traffic Management Software Development 
  • Traffic Flow Management, Center/TRACON Automation System
  • Flight Control System Software Development
  • Improve rotorcraft performance and noise abatement through application of advanced computation tools
  • Developed advanced design/optimization features and updated user interface to meet industry needs and standards for the integrated tool set.  

Earth Sciences:

Develop and validate theories and research plans for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Development of sensors for Unpiloted Aerial Systems (UASs) as NASA seeks to demonstrate and explore their unique capabilities.

  • Airborne Remote Sensing Program
  • Develop and operate prototype remote earth sensing instrumentation
  • Support investigators within the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Observing System program
  • Cloud And Land Surface Interaction Campaign  (CLASIC)ER-2 - MODIS Airborne Simulator
  • Sky Research J-31 - Cloud Absorption Radiometer
  • Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling (TC-4)
  • ER-2 - MODIS Airborne Simulator
  • UAS Autonomous Modular Sensor System
    • Western States Fire Missions
    • Altair and NASA Ikhana Fire Missions

Biotechnology and Fundamental Space Biology:

Development and insertion of advanced biomedical and biological technologies into NASA’s Space Exploration Programs and Missions. Investigation associated with biological characteristics and the effects of the space environment to aid understanding of fundamental biological processes.

  • Advance Prototype Lab (APL) Technology Development
    • Testing and characterization of selected illumination and detection optics for the microarray.
    • Design of custom reference standards that will occupy 11 of 49 wells located on the PharmaSat microarray fluidic card.
    • Set-up of the APL equipment as an affiliate of the Advanced Studies Laboratory.
  • PharmaSat Development, Spacecraft & Mission Development
    • Microarry growth assay that has been selected as the payload of the PharmaSat-I
    • Design, analysis, test and integration of the PharmaSat Spacecraft to support a December 2007 launch opportunity
  • Research Program Development
    • Technology assessment in the areas of lunar dust mitigation, physiological monitoring, advanced materials and medical diagnostics.
    • Project management and engineering for the development of a non-contact biomedical sensor system.
    • Provide technical expertise for the evaluation of commercially available products and emerging technologies/instrumentation that may impact future NASA flight hardware for monitoring astronaut health and ambulatory care.
  • Program/Project Formulation and Implementation, Systems Engineering Support
    • Test and validate autonomous, in-situ small satellites, payloads, and bio-analytical and sample management technologies  (Exploration Probes and Small Satellites).
    • Investigate medical requirements and technologies to ensure the safety and success of Exploration missions relative to crew health care.
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UC Santa Cruz

San Jose State University

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