Summer Research Scholarship

Application deadline is April 1, 2024

Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Summer Research Internships

Students may apply for summer internships, paid at an hourly rate over 9 weeks totaling up to $6570 for undergraduate researchers and $8100 for a graduate researcher, to pursue guided research in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) or STEM education. Mentor faculty will receive an award of $750 to cover incidental expenses. Up to six internships will be awarded for summer 2024, including a maximum of 1 graduate researcher. Note: Awards are pending funding from the UW NASA Consortium. Once awarded, funds will only be guaranteed for research ending by August 31, 2024.


The awards are open to undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or graduate students in good academic standing who are enrolled in, or plan to pursue, one of the following:

  • A major in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM)-related field with applications to space/aerospace science or engineering, and/or:
  • A teacher preparation program (elementary or secondary) with a STEM teaching specialty

To be eligible for either, applicants must be a U.S. Resident, continuing student in the fall of 2024 and must express an interest in a STEM major or teacher preparation program but need not be enrolled in a specific program at the time of application. Students must propose a basic or applied STEM or STEM education research project that addresses one or more of NASA’s research priorities, and must have a plan to carry out research plans under close guidance of a WWU faculty member. No previous research experience is necessary, and students proposing new research projects are encouraged to apply, under the guidance of a faculty mentor.


Successful applicants will be expected to: (1) carry out their research over summer quarter 2024 (6/17-8/31 2024, with extensions possible but not guaranteed), and (2) present their research during Scholars Week in spring 2024. Questions regarding eligibility of student research projects should be directed to Dr. Emily Borda,, SL 250D, 360-650-3637.

Application Details

Students must apply to either the STEM major track or preservice teacher track. Up to three internships will be awarded for each track. The following materials should be sent to by April 1, 2024:

  • An application form (included in this announcement) along with an unofficial transcript.
  • A 2-page (references excluded) essay that includes: (1) a description of the research goals and significance of the research, (2) a research plan, (3) a justification for how the proposed work directly supports one or more of NASA’s research priorities (listed below), either through basic or applied research, or through education research aimed at improving student understanding of those priorities, and (4) a summary of the student’s interest in either pursuing a STEM-related career (STEM major track) or pursuing a teaching career with a STEM specialization (preservice teacher track).
  • A letter of recommendation from the WWU faculty member who will serve as the mentor for the research project. This letter should contain a statement about the student’s potential to make progress on and to learn from their research, as well as a statement of the faculty member’s availability for mentoring during Summer 2024 and a description of resources available to support the project

Application Review

A committee will review each application, examining the student’s essay for evidence of the nature, extent and quality of the proposed research, the role the student plays in the research, the benefits that he or she will gain from this research experience, the student’s ability to carry out the project with faculty supervision and the available resources, alignment of the research with one or more of NASA’s research priorities, and the student’s interest in/commitment to a future STEM career or future teaching career with a specialization in STEM. Awards will be announced by March 22, 2024. All applicants will be notified by email.

NASA research priorities

Students must link their research project to one or more of NASA’s Mission Directorates, either through direct or applied research, or through education research intended to improve students’ understanding of concepts related to NASA’s priorities. Descriptions of NASA’s Mission Directorates are provided below.



Additional information found on Summer Research Application:

Image of Melissa Swift

I had a great experience with my summer research grant. I would definitely recommend others apply. It was a new thing for me to basically get paid for "time spent thinking deeply" and it is only now in hindsight that I can truly appreciate how luxurious that was. That ability to dive deep and stay focused without the distractions of classes or other paid work was very valuable. I got thoroughly acquainted with my particular research question and ended up building something that felt significant and worthwhile. I am continuing to work on the project, and my summer experience has solidified my commitment to finding a career (after graduation) that allows me to do research on an ongoing basis

Melissa Swift
Melissa's research focused on finding computationally efficient methods for isolating and visualizing events in videos that happen over longer timescales.

Image of Ariana Flournoy

I had an amazing experience doing the NASA Space Grant. I would definitely recommend others to apply, especially if you want to earn opportunities to do your own research before going to Graduate school. I think my biggest advice to future applicants is set up a timeline before you start working on your research so you're able to map out what is most important in the research and how much time you should spend on a certain piece, especially the writing portion. I finished my project at a reasonable time before the deadline and I think I got a good taste for research; enough for me to want to apply to Graduate school while taking a gap year.

Ariana Flournoy
Ariana used a large wave tank in the Environmental Science building to create deltas and test paleoclimate hypotheses.

Image of Brittany Mureno

Conducting summer research under the NASA SpaceGrant was one of the most formative experiences of my undergraduate education. The funding allowed me to continue with a science education research project I had been working on for two years. My group studied student reasoning modes in the sciences. The grant allowed us to complete our work on the project. We hope to publish a manuscript soon in the International Journal of STEM Education. 

Having my research professor, Dr. Bourdreaux, as a mentor was invaluable. Although I learned much from his experience, I also felt like I had things to contribute. I had a lot of freedom in steering the project and investigating the things I was interested in. Being a part of the project steered me towards the field of education and education research. It helped me solidify my decision to pursue getting my teaching endorsement after graduating. 

I believe undergraduate research experiences could be meaningful to any student, no matter their field of study. I would encourage students who are interested in applying for the NASA SpaceGrant to pursue it!

Brittany Mureno
Brittany studied the ways in which students transfer science concepts across disciplinary boundaries, particularly the concept of energy.