A One-stop Shop for NASA Internships

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The Accelerator has featured a number of internships with NASA, and the administration has made it easier than ever to find student internships, fellowships, and other projects through their One Stop Shopping Initiative website. The website lists all internships, fellowships, and other student opportunities that NASA has to offer, including non-technical roles, and also allows users to create one universal profile for applying to multiple opportunities.

NASA internships can be full or part-time, conducted at a NASA facility, contractor facility, or anywhere activities are ongoing to advance NASA’s missions. Mentors can be civil servants, contractors, or faculty conducting activities directly related to NASA’s unique assets and ongoing mission activities.

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Presidential Innovation Fellows

white house logoSince the initiative launched two years ago, the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program has been funding students to use the power of open government data to spur the creation of new products and jobs. The White House recently launched round three of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, and is looking around the nation for for those who can contribute to the areas of data innovation, crowd-sourcing, and modernizing the veterans’ experience. Fellowship applications are open until April 7.

Fellows serve limited-term “tours of duty,” during which they team up with innovators in government on projects aimed at saving lives, saving taxpayer money, fueling job creation, and building a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within government.The first program launched in August 2012 with five projects. The second class of fellows has broken new ground and expanded upon the work of the inaugural class to deliver results — from increasing consumers’ access to their own personal healthcare information, to designing and launching pilot projects to improve federal procurement, to using open government data to spur new products and services.

Spotlight: The Benefits of Biomimicry

Millions of years of evolution have shaped organisms to survive and adapt to Earth in remarkable ways, and engineers have been taking note for centuries. Birds inspired human flight, and supercomputers are often tested against the power of brains, for instance.

Mother Nature continues to make her mark on modern engineering, and some researchers are looking to the smallest creatures, like insects, amoebas, and small sea creatures, to solve big problems. Read about a Harvard group that runs an army of termite-inspired robots, a University of Maryland lab interested in tiny, insect-like drones, and a Cornell researcher trying to understand how living creatures can create incredibly strong crystals.

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Spotlight: Manufacturing, for Students

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Since the advent of low-cost 3-D printers, prototyping and manufacturing have never been the same. Now it’s engineering students’ turn. University engineering schools are making such resources, along with other more traditional manufacturing tools, more available to students by creating special facilities and labs for students to make their projects come to life. Such manufacturing centers were once only available to faculty, but student-focused centers are the new hotbeds for projects both in and out of the classroom – and sometimes, students become entrepreneurs and turn their projects into profitable ventures.

According to Gerry Fine, all engineering students need manufacturing as part of their curriculum. Fine is the director of Boston University’s brand new Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), an 18,000-foot, $9 million facility that has all the tools and “toys” a student would need to make prototypes, such as 3-D printers, mills, lathes, woodworking stations, robotics, and a small metals foundry.

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NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program

nih-logo-blueThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer scholarship programs each year for undergraduates coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. The NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) pays up to $20,000 per year for tuition and educational expenses, an award that can be renewed for up to four years. Additionally, the program allows undergraduates to spend 10 weeks in the summer researching at an NIH laboratory, and guaranteed employment at NIH after graduation for at least one year.

The main eligibility requirements include exceptional financial need. Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are due on March 3, and selection will happen in late July. Apply through the NIH Application Center.