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A compilation of stories, telescopes, internship resources, and other things radio astronomy.


Graduate Opportunities


NRAO Summer Student Research Assistantships

Students have the opportunity to work for 10-12 weeks at one of the three NRAO facilities: Charlottesville, VA (NRAO headquarters onsite at the University of Virginia); Socorro, NM (home of the Very Large Array); Green Bank, WV (home of the Green Bank Telescope). Research experiences at the NRAO are either supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) or by the observatory itself. Unlike many research opportunities for university students, the NRAO is open to international students and graduated seniors in addition to U.S. citizens.

Research topics range from engineering (including building telescope hardware) to astrophysics. In addition to research, students are often invited/encouraged to attend lectures by visiting scientists, tour research facilities, and participate in other observatory activities. Examples from Green Bank (2013) include lectures during summer schools, presentations to the West Virginia Governor's School for Math & Science, tours of onsite workshops and engineering facilties, visit to the top of the Green Bank Telescope, visit to and tour of Charlottesville site, making a mountain biking trail, volunteering for the Space Race Rumpus cycling and music festival, and a company picnic.

Applicants must be eligble to work in the U.S., but are not required to be U.S. citizens. Students with backgrounds in astronomy, physics, engineering, computer science, or mathematics, as well as an interest in astronomy research, are preferred. Applications typically open in November.

Application Materials

  • Online application form *
  • Unofficial transcript(s) in PDF format to be uploaded at end of application form
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • *Applicants are unable to save and return to application at later time, therefore be sure to have your unofficial transcript(s) at the time of application.

Deadline (for summer 2016): February 1, 2016

For more information about how to apply, stipend benefits, and housing, visit the NRAO Summer Student Research Assistantships website.

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NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Graduating undergraduate seniors and new graduate students have the opportunity to apply for one of approximately 2,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) aims to ensure "the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the U.S. and [reinforce] its diversity." Through the NSF GRFP, outstanding graduate students are recognized and supported to do their own research that demonstrates intellectual merit and broader impacts.


Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program in an NSF-supported STEM field at the beginning of the grant but have not completed more than 12 months of graduate study. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.


The NSF GRFP is a five-year program consisting of three years "active" status and two years "reserve" status. During active years, fellows are supported through a $34,000 annual stipend. During reserve years, fellows still receive career and academic support. All fellows also have special opportunities for internships (GRIP) and abroad experiences (GROW).


An institutional nomination is not required.

Application Materials

  • Personal information
  • Education and relevant experience
  • Electronic transcripts
  • Proposed field(s) of study
  • Proposed graduate school information
  • Reference letters (3-5)
  • Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement
  • Graduate Research Plan Statement

Application timeline

  • late July/early August: Program Solicitation released
  • early August: FastLane application opens
  • late October/early November: application deadlines (varies by discipline)
    • October 24, 2016: geosciences; life sciences
    • October 25, 2016: computer and information science and engineering; engineering; materials research
    • October 27, 2016: psychology; social sciences; STEM education and learning
    • October 28, 2016: chemistry; mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy
    • November 3, 2016: all reference letters must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET
  • early April: awards announced
  • early May: fellows' acceptance deadline

For tips on applying and example essays, see The Professional Student: Applying to the NSF GRFP.

For more information and to apply, visit the NSF GRFP website.

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JPL Graduate Fellowship Program

Graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields can apply for research opportunities at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. As JPL Graduate Fellows, students gain experience in their field while contributing to NASA missions and science. Both full- and part-time opportunities are available, and fellowships, which last for a minimum of 10 weeks, can be extended based on performance and availability of funds.




Application Materials

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