Application window open for summer undergraduate internship with NASA

Dec. 14, 2022

Deadline for submission is January 30, 2023

students and faculty looking at instrument panel on grass outside

NASA has collaborated with Rice Rivers Center and Hampton University to bring their Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) to the east coast. Current undergraduate juniors (i.e., rising seniors) throughout the mid-Atlantic are invited to apply to participate in a paid eight-week summer 2023 internship program that will run June through August. The VCU Rice Rivers Center will be one of the regional locations for site operations.

The program will focus on Earth Systems Science using research aircraft, drones, and satellites to collect environmental data for remote sensing analyses. Participants will acquire hands-on research experience in all aspects of a scientific field campaign, including flying onboard a research aircraft and participating in with ground-based observations of water, land, and atmosphere. Faculty and NASA research scientists will guide participants through instrument operation, sample analysis, and data reduction and synthesis. Each student will develop an individual research project from the data collected and will deliver final presentations on their results and gain valuable research experience.

The deadline for applications is January 30, 2023, and can be submitted at Questions can be emailed to

Applicants are expected to have a strong academic background in any of the physical, chemical, or biological sciences, or engineering, and an interest in applying their background to the study of Earth Systems Science and remote sensing technologies.. All participants will receive a generous stipend, travel costs, as well as housing and transportation during the summer 2023 program. 

Participants will work in one of four interdisciplinary teams to study land, atmospheric, or oceanographic processes. Participants will have access to multiple different research platforms and assist in the operation of instruments to sample and measure atmospheric gases and aerosols and image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands. Students will be mentored through the analysis of the data and the development of a research idea.

Applicants will be selected based on:

  • Evidence of interest in Earth System Science research
  • Leadership qualities and ability to perform in teams
  • Particular focus will be on students from a STEM background
  • Academic achievement

VCU students who have additional questions about the program can reach out to one of the SARP faculty coordinators:
Dr. Greg Garman, Director of the Rice Rivers Center, VCU Life Sciences,
Dr. Chris Gough, Associate Professor of Biology, College of Humanities and Sciences,

The video below filmed during the 2021 SARP program, highlights the experiences of 53 students from various universities across the United States who majored in sciences, mathematics, and engineering and were selected to fly on NASA Armstrong’s DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory.