Interested in applying?
Applications are now closed for the 2023 N3 Summer Internships. Applications will reopen in early January 2024 for internships in the Summer of 2024.
Download the 2023 internship flyer here: Flyer
Each year through 2025, NASA's Neurodiversity Network will accept applications for summer interns to work on projects with NASA scientists. The goal of the N3 program is to provide experiences for neurodiverse students, specifically those on the autism spectrum, that will spark their interest in careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
All interns will be paired with a Subject Matter Expert (SME) from NASA’s network. Individual SMEs will have expertise in at least one of the following areas:
- Astrobiology and Exoplanets
- Earth and Environmental Science
- Planetary Science and Exploration
The work schedule will be mutually agreed upon by the intern and the SME. Internships will be completed remotely during Summer 2023 and N3 interns will receive a $1,000 stipend upon completion of their internship.
Information for Students
Please review the internship requirements below to see if you qualify. In order to apply, we must receive your application and a letter of recommendation from a teacher who can speak to your skills and interests in specific areas related to NASA subjects. A recommendation letter from a teacher or another professional is required of all applicants. Full applications are due by March 6, 2023. Our guidelines for high school interns are as follows: Prospective interns must be current high school students 16 years of age or older. Preference will be given to students who are rising juniors or older but rising sophomores are invited to apply. Prospective interns must identify as autistic in order to align with N3’s mission. Prospective interns must have completed algebra, and at least one year of a physical science (e.g. earth science, chemistry or physics). Note that in the past, applicants who have completed at least pre-calculus have been most likely to be selected. If you have not yet taken pre-calculus, consider reapplying at a later date.
The application asks students to complete open-response questions. First, applicants will be asked to explain why they would like to have an internship with a NASA scientist and describe any previous experiences they have had with NASA topics. Applicants will also be asked to describe their strengths, interests, and hobbies and to describe settings where they work best and any accommodations they may need to help them be successful N3 interns. Prospective interns can submit their responses using recorded audio, written text, video, or submit written answers transcribed by a scribe. If there are other accommodations that would assist with your internship application process, please contact our N3 team at email@example.com . We hope to learn from our N3 interns to build our understanding about the best ways to work with neurodiverse youth. The application will also ask:
- Subjects completed in math/science
- Interest in specific NASA subject areas
- Choice of open-response question (voice, video, written, scribe)
- Access to/experience with technology
We encourage all interested high school students to inquire about internship requirements if they are uncertain if they qualify.
Please read this material carefully if you have a question about your eligibility for the N3 Internship Program. If your question is not answered here, you may contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can a high school student apply if they are currently a freshman in high school?
A: We welcome applications from high school freshmen if they are at least 16 years old and have completed algebra and at least one year of a physical science (e.g. earth science, chemistry or physics).
Q: Is the internship only for autistic students? Does the student require an official diagnosis?
A: N3’s focus is on students who identify as autistic but you do not need an official diagnosis in order to apply. The requirement is that you identify as autistic.
Q: Is completion of algebra and physical science required for applicant/internship requirements?
A: Applicants must have completed algebra and at least one year of any physical science. This includes subjects such as earth science, chemistry or physics.
Q: Are students who are 18+ and high school graduates, but are currently taking time off from being fully enrolled in college, still eligible to apply?
A: As they are not yet in college and are older than 16, we encourage them to apply to our internship program. The only additional requirement is that the student has completed algebra and at least one year of a physical science course at the high school level.
Q: Is 16 years old the minimum age for the internship?
A: Yes, the minimum age for an intern to participate in our program is 16 years old. Prospective interns must turn 16 by June 1, 2023. If your student is not eligible this year, we will be hosting this program next year and applications will be advertised on our website at n3.sonoma.edu.
Q: Is this opportunity open to students in countries outside of the United States?
A: Only students located in the United States of America are eligible to apply.
Q: Does the required recommendation letter need to be from a school teacher or can it be from staff in an out-of-school time program?
A: Recommendation letters from staff at an out-of-school-time program are acceptable in lieu of a letter from a classroom teacher. This staff member should know the student well and be able to answer the questions listed in our teacher recommendation instructions. Please see the guidelines for these letters in “Information for Teachers” section of the webpage at https://n3.sonoma.edu/resources
Information for Recommenders
Please review the internship details and list of requirements below to determine if any of your students may be a candidate. In order for an application to be complete, we must receive a teacher recommendation letter which speaks to the student’s skills and interests in specific NASA subject areas. Because this will be a virtual internship, we also ask that the letter describe the student’s ability to accomplish work through remote learning. We encourage recommenders to share each applicant’s strengths and challenges with us so that the best possible internship placement can be achieved.
Our guidelines for high school interns are as follows: Prospective interns must be current high school students 16 years of age or older. Preference will be given to students who are rising juniors or older but rising sophomores are invited to apply. Prospective interns must identify as autistic in order to align with N3’s mission. Prospective interns must have completed algebra, and at least one year of a physical science (e.g. earth science, chemistry or physics). Note that in the past, applicants who have completed at least pre-calculus have been most likely to be selected. If you have not yet taken pre-calculus, consider reapplying at a later date. Interns will have the opportunity to complete open-response questions using recorded audio, written text, video, or submit written answers transcribed by a scribe. We encourage all interested high school students to inquire about internship requirements if they are uncertain if they qualify.
To complete your recommendation of a student for an N3 internship, please upload it here or email it to email@example.com. Letters should answer the following questions:
- What previous experiences, personal qualities and/or interests make this applicant a good fit for an N3 internship?
- What do you think this applicant would gain from an internship with a NASA SME?
- What subjects/topic areas is the applicant interested in?
- Describe any activities or courses the applicant is involved in that demonstrate interest in these subjects/topics.
- Are there any accommodations or virtual workplace strategies that you implement to best support this student? Please share with us. This includes recommendations on meeting frequency, communication styles and preferences, executive functioning challenges and/or particular strengths in self-management. We want to support all N3 interns as completely as possible!
Information for Prospective Mentors
Interested in serving as a 2023 Mentor?
Download our recruitment flyer here .
Apply here or with the QR code below
2022 Summer Interns and Subject Matter Experts (SME)
Presley’s internship projects include:
• Simulating the formation of the four inner planets in our Solar System to understand why they formed where they are by running simulations with and without Jupiter and Saturn and analyze the results
•Simulating the formation of the inner planets to study the similarities between Venus and Earth.
Click here to see Presley's presentation.
Acxel will build a robot that is an open source version of JPL's Mars Rovers (SAWPPY the Rover.)
Click here to see Acxel's presentation.
Jake and Zeke will learn how to use SSU's GORT robotic telescopes to take data from variable objects of interest and analyze the data. Potential targets include: transiting exoplanets, Cepheid variables and near-earth Asteroids.
Click here to see Jake's presentation. Click here to see Zeke's presentation.
Keagan will be using GIS tools to do high-resolution mapping of Mars to characterize regions that are believed to be the frozen residue of a northern Mars ocean. There will be many different features to explore including faults, possible megatsunami margins, and mesas within collapse areas.
Click here to see Keagan's presentation.
William will learn about cool luminous giant stars that make new elements and throw them off into space. He will also model these dying stars using data from a variety of sources, including space telescopes and observations from the ground, as well as lab experiments. The modeling will be done using an existing program that can calculate the effects of dust on the light that the star emits.
Click here to see William's presentation.
Matthew is learning how to use GORT, SSU's Robotic telescope to take observations of exoplanet transits and contribute to NASA JPL's Exoplanet Watch.
Click here to see Matthew's presentation.
Isabelle’s internship involves two projects:
•To use Python to analyze reflectance imaging data of asteroid minerals affected by simulated micrometeorite bombardment (MB) to see if MB was the cause of the differences between c-type asteroids and carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.
•To use Python to analyze reflectance imaging data from lunar swirls on the Moon to see which of the space weathering processes was causing those lunar swirls.
Click here to see Isabelle’s presentation.
Asher will be using impact craters to look at the composition of the crust at one or more locations on the Moon. The crust is covered with a layer of "soil" that obscures the composition of the crust. The impact that creates craters blasts away most of this material, providing a "window" to see the crust. Asher and Dr. Kramer will be analyzing spectral data acquired by various NASA spacecraft orbiting the Moon to determine composition of the Moon's crust in different locations.
Click here to see Asher's presentation.
Lucas Báez Massa
Lucas will construct a do-it-yourself low-cost water quality measurement instrument that will serve as a prototype for future OCEANOS interns (who will start in summer 2023).
Click here to see Lucas' presentation.
William will use NASA Earth science satellite data to study urban heat islands or air quality.
Click here to see William's presentation.
Jose Hernandez Ayala
Jacob will use NASA Environmental data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software to study the impacts that the Northern California wildfires have had on hydrological (water) processes.
Click here to see Jacob's presentation.
Ankita will run a python program that simulates dwarf galaxies around Andromeda and compare the results to actual data from Hubble Space Telescope and other telescopes. It may also be possible to simulate dwarf galaxies around other galaxies similar to our own Milky Way.
Click here to see Ankita's presentation.
Luke will design an Astronaut Multi-Tool for field geology on the Moon or Mars. Astronauts will be limited in how many tools they can carry around to do field geology on the Moon and Mars. One way to save mass is to combine the functionalities of several tools into one or very few tools. Luke will participate in a ground-breaking study (figuratively and literally!) of the key tools needed to do fieldwork on the Moon and Mars, and help design, build, and test one or more prototype multi-tools.
Click here to see Luke's presentation.
Timothy and Dr. Burnett will investigate all-sky variability in the gamma-ray sky, using a special compact database containing the 14-year Fermi data set, some 250M photon detections. A dramatic early product will be a video. From that they will produce an interactive visualization tool to explore changes, and hopefully find some previously undetected "flares".
Click here to see Timothy's presentation.
2021 Summer Interns and Subject Matter Experts (SME)
Tony, Nyss, and Benjamin worked with Sonoma State University in building a small rocket with an Arduino payload.
Click here to see Nyss' presentation.
Click here to see Nyss' rocket launch.
Click here to see Benjamin's presentation.
Kevin John and Benjamin worked with Sonoma State University in building a small rocket with an Arduino payload.
José J. Hernández Ayala
Anthony and Dr. Hernández Ayala worked on a research project titled “Application of NASA & NOAA precipitation datasets to examine the extreme rainfall climatology of the western United States”. They explored trends in extreme rainfall patterns across the western United States and identify areas that have experienced changes in their precipitation patterns.
Click here to see Anthony's presentation.
Many star systems that emit X-rays change their brightness over days, months, and years. The X-rays come from gas falling onto a neutron star or black hole from a companion star. Sometimes these flows are unstable or change periodically. Dr. Boroson and Thomas downloaded observations from space X-ray telescopes that monitor the sky and search for and classify more of these variabilities. when they are found, follow-up observations are made.
Click here to see Thomas' presentation.
Ronald and Dr. Doty used a Raspberry Pi and an antenna analyzer to import spacecraft antenna test data into Mathematica, analyze it, and found ways to improve the antenna design for CubeSats.
Click here to see Ronald's presentation.
Earth's upper atmosphere "leaks out" and helps populate the region around Earth dominated by Earth's magnetic field - the magnetosphere. Dr. Fillingim and Zachary analyzed data from the THEMIS-ARTEMIS spacecraft which are orbiting the Moon to look for charged particles from Earth's upper atmosphere as they stream away past the Moon. These measurements helped quantify how much of Earth's atmosphere is leaking away and what paths these charged particles take as they stream away from Earth.
Click here to see Zachary's presentation.
With Dr. Jernigan, Trevor learned about mathematical tests of goodness of fit (between models and data) including the Kolmagorov-Smirnov (KS) test, wrote software to implement the KS test in one dimension, and wrote software to generate space filling curve. Finally, if possible, they then combined both concepts to generate an entirely new algorithm for multi-dimensional KS tests.
Click here to see Trevor's presentation.
Daniel and Dr. McLin used an internet-controlled robotic telescope to observe an asteroid over several weeks. These observations were used to precisely determine the position of the asteroid in the sky during each of these observations, and these positions were in turn to be used to find the orbit of the asteroid. The procedure employed can be accomplished with a minimum of three observations taken over a period of about two weeks. Daniel achieved a deeper understanding of gravity and orbital dynamics through this project, as well as learned some of the computer programming skills that are useful for such a campaign.
Click here to see Daniel's presentation.
Juan Carlos Martínez Oliveros
In this project Kian learned about the physics of solar and stellar flares, their phenomenology and their impact in everyday life. Also, Dr. Martínez Oliveros and Kian analyzed solar flare data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and RHESSI (Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager ) missions to classify white light flares according to different morphologies.
Click here to see Kian's presentation.
Charlie, Andrew, and Dr. Spear used an internet-controlled telescope to acquire images and timing information about different types of targets, including: planets orbiting other stars, supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies, and tremendous stellar explosions that can be used to measure the size of the Universe.
Click here to see Charlie's presentation.
Click here to see Andrew's presentation.
Working with Dr. Speck, Alexandra and Olivia learned about cool luminous giant stars that make new elements and throw them off into space. They modeled these dying stars using data from a variety of sources, including space telescopes and observations from the ground, as well as lab experiments. The modeling was done using an existing program that can calculate the effects of dust on the light that the star emits.
Click here to see Olivia's presentation.
Jordan and Dr. Thompson worked this summer to develop new ways to visualize the properties of neutron stars and black holes. These exotic cosmic objects are so extreme that using comparisons to known objects will help non-experts appreciate their nature.
Click here to see Jordan's presentation.
Aaron and Dr. Wiscombe worked on the multifaceted issue of geoengineering, in particular how clouds might be modified to reduce global warming, why this is a good idea (or not), the economics of the idea, and whether it could be implemented at global scale in order to have a useful effect.
Click here to see Aaron's presentation.
Noah and Dr. Wood investigated the gamma-ray excess near the Galactic Center which may be due to dark matter. They modeled the excess using simple models for dark matter and compared the results to alternative models that rely on unresolved millisecond pulsars and low-mass x-ray binaries. They then compared the predictions of the models to Galactic Center emission at other (longer) wavelengths to see which models fit best across the electromagnetic spectrum and cosmological time.