NSF-DOE INTERN Opportunity

With funding support from the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), the National Science Foundation (NSF) INTERN program is accepting applications for the Geothermal INTERN opportunity.

Under this opportunity, graduate students can acquire core professional competencies and skills by working within the geothermal industry.

Apply today!

 

NSF administers the main INTERN program and its three subprograms, including the Geothermal INTERN opportunity on which NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) partner. 

Graduate students must be funded on active NSF grants to apply. It is expected that the graduate student and the Principal Investigator (PI) on the NSF grant will work together to identify innovative experiences that add the most educational value for the graduate student through activities that are not already available at the student's academic institution. It is also expected that the internship will be focused on a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field or in STEM education research. 

To be eligible, graduate students must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate program (master's or doctoral) and be making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degrees. Geothermal INTERN applications require the following: 

  • A two-page summary that describes the internship 
  • The graduate student’s resume 
  • A letter of collaboration from an authorized official at the host organization that describes the internship opportunity and mentoring the student will experience during the internship 
  • A letter from the PI that confirms the student meets the eligibility requirements specified in NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter about the opportunity 
  • Agreement between the NSF awardee and the organization hosting the graduate student regarding how intellectual property rights will be handled  
  • A budget and a clear justification for all requested costs 

The NSF INTERN program, established in 2017, provides non-academic research internships to graduate students for the purpose of acquiring core professional competencies and skills in a wide range of sectors in the U.S. economy. Each year, NSF administers internships for nearly 300 graduate students. 

In 2022, DOE and NSF announced their partnership on the Geothermal INTERN opportunity, a new component of the INTERN program. This NSF-DOE collaboration coordinated under the NSF-DOE Memorandum of Understanding supports 10 to 20 research internships per year to work in the geothermal industry on projects that advance geothermal technologies.  

Participants in the NSF INTERN program are empowered to proactively expand their technical expertise and increase their career opportunities. In contrast to a traditional internship scenario, the INTERN program enables the Principal Investigator (PI) and student to identify the research opportunities that are most synergistic and beneficial to the student, in collaboration with the host. The student remains a university employee and works at the host organization as a collaborator would on a research project, building skills not only in their chosen field but also in communication, innovation, leadership, and more.  

NSF considers supplemental funding requests for up to an additional six months of graduate student support to provide non-academic training for graduate students and professional development experience in preparation for multiple career pathways. INTERN supplements also provide up to $55,000 to support travel, tuition and fees, health insurance, additional stipend, and other costs.  

The INTERN program especially encourages the participation of graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM. Graduate students supported in INTERN awards have gone on to secure strong placements in industry and government sectors. 

Watch NSF’s video of students sharing what they gained from the program to learn more. 

 

Geothermal INTERN Cohorts 

The students selected for the first Geothermal INTERN cohort represent 11 colleges and universities nationwide, including two Hispanic-serving institutions, as well as an array of ethnic or cultural backgrounds and academic disciplines. Meet members of the cohort below, and learn more about them in our blog series!

 

John Acevedo

John Acevedo 

University: University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley 

Host Organization: Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

Research Field: Well Structure Integrity of Geothermal Systems 

“It was inspiring to learn how other countries shared information to improve current geothermal energy resources and technology so that we, as a collective whole, can make renewable energy more readily and easily available.” 

 

 

Prabhav Borate

Prabhav Borate 

University: The Pennsylvania State University 

Host Organization: Argonne National Laboratory   

Research Field: Physics-Informed Machine Learning (ML) 

“The real-world implications of researching laboratory earthquake forecasts using ML are immense. By offering warnings to at-risk communities, accurate and timely earthquake prediction can save lives and limit damage.” 

 

 

Asenath Kwagalakwe

Asenath Kwagalakwe

University: Virginia Tech 

Host Organization: Minaean SP Construction Corp. 

Research Field: Geodesy and Tectonophysics 

“I love the idea of studying the Earth, and the processes that formed it and are still shaping the landscape today.” 

 

 

 

Shashwat Maharjan

Shashwat Maharjan 

University: Central Michigan University 

Host Organization: Geologica Geothermal Group 

Research Field: Machine Learning (ML) 

“I am fascinated by the potential of utilizing synthetic data to harness the power of ML algorithms—there remains a vast unexplored territory in this area. Witnessing how artificial intelligence can positively impact people's lives and enhance safety is truly remarkable.” 

 

 

Lindsey Patterson

Lindsey Patterson 

University: Colorado School of Mines 

Host Organization: Coso Operating Company 

Research Field: Economic Geology 

“I am very much looking forward to working on the Coso geothermal project, as it will allow me to gain and refine more diversified research skills and help advance the green energy transition more holistically.” 

 

 

Kaushik Pradhan

Kaushik Pradhan 

University: University of Texas at El Paso  

Host Organization: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 

Research Field: Seismology  

“Working with professors who are experts in seismology, I realized how much we still do not know about the Earth's internal structure and the processes that shape it. It is a challenge that is exciting and worth diving into.” 

 

 

Santiago Rabade

Santiago Rabade 

University: University of Utah 

Host Organization: Zanskar Geothermal & Minerals, Inc. 

Research Field: Seismology 

“Zanskar has been a great place to work and learn, to use and adapt our methodologies to geothermal exploration. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work in such a dynamic startup.” 

 

 

Matthew Rile

Matthew Riley 

University: Colorado School of Mines 

Host Organization: Atlantica Energy 

Research Field: Economic Geology 

“Understanding and investigating alternative forms of energy production, how they’re generated and how they function as a system, is a fascinating and important subject.” 

 

 

Anjali Thota

Anjali Thota

University: Northwestern University 

Host Organization: Illinois State Geological Survey 

Research Field: Geotechnical Engineering 

“I am captivated by the prospect of unraveling the complex interplay between heat distribution, soil behavior, and infrastructure performance within the urban subsurface.” 

 

 

Ahmad Tourei

Ahmad Tourei

University: Colorado School of Mines 

Host Organization: Fervo Energy 

Research Field: Fiber-optic Sensing 

“The novelty of using fiber-optic sensing technology for understanding and characterizing subsurface drew me to this field of research.” 

 

 

Justin Tully

Justin Tully 

University: University of Utah 

Host Organization: Utah Geological Survey 

Research Field: Structural Geology and Tectonics 

“From the onset of my geoscience pursuits, my love of high-country activities and curiosity of how the world's great mountain belts came to be funneled me into structure and tectonic disciplines.” 

 

 

Yi-Yung Yang

Yi-Yung Yang 

University: Florida State University 

Host Organization: Sandia National Laboratories  

Research Field: Applications of Classical Numerical Methods  

“My research uses classical numerical methods to solve real-world engineering and scientific problems. One of the main applications we are particularly interested in is enhanced geothermal energy systems.”