Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab Project Objective:

The Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab is a publicly visible research laboratory at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, where museum visitors can see (through glass walls) astronomers and students at work, visualizations of their research, current space mission and science highlights, and state-of-the-art “fly throughs” from Earth to the visible edge of the universe. The Astronomy & Astrophysics intern will work with Dr. Rachel Smith on a combination of research on meteorites and/or spectroscopy of forming stars, plus outreach related to creating visualizations for the general public. The specific project will be tailored to the intern’s skills and interests. The intern will work in a unique and exciting museum research setting, gaining valuable experience on cutting-edge research and communicating these products to the general public.

This internship is geared toward the undergraduate who is a self-starter with an eagerness to learn, excellent problem-solving skills, a good work ethic and the ability to work well independently as well as part of a team. The position is for a 10-week period in the summer months (start date to be arranged with the successful candidate).

Visualization of Jupiter’s rotation created by a NCMNS intern.

Internship Project Description

Major Tasks to be Performed:

Final Product or Outcome Anticipated:

Knowledge Gained by Intern:

Specific Job Duties:

How periodic and final evaluations will be conducted:

Evaluations will be based on regular meetings between the intern and Dr. Smith, and discussions of progress. This will be a collaborative and iterative process.

Resources Available to Intern:

Computers and workspace, all necessary software and reduced data products will be available. The lab is primarily Mac-based, with one high-end Alienware laptop for visualization software.

Award Level

$6,000 (10-week internship)

Awards are contingent upon receipt of NASA funding

How to Apply

The portal is currently closed to new applications.

The Faculty Letter of Recommendation for in-process applications is due on Wednesday, April 17th.

Awards will be announced on or before May 5, 2019.

Interested students must complete an online application (see link below). Please read all program guidelines including applicant eligibility and reporting requirements before submitting your application. The application must be submitted online and all information must be complete or the application will not be reviewed.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and be majoring in one of the following: Astronomy/astrophysics, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or related fields. This position targets undergraduate majors.

Awardee Requirements

Selected intern must:


Project supervisor: Dr. Rachel Smith (Head, Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab/Curator of Meteorites, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Appalachian State University)

Email: /
Phone: 919-707-8239