SPS Internship Program Details

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2018 SPS Internship Information

The 2017 SPS Interns pictured at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD.

Meet the 2017 SPS Interns

Bios, photos, and journals | SPS Interships Flyer—Please Post

  • Program Dates: June 4 – August 10, 2018
  • Stipend: $5,700 and travel reimbursement. Housing is provided.

“It is very gratifying when you see the smiling, happy faces, and hear the shrieking. The point is, after all, to instill wonder." —2013 SPS SOCK Intern Caleb Heath

The SPS summer internship program offers 10-week positions for undergraduate physics students in science research, education and policy with various organizations in the Washington, DC area. All internships include paid housing, a competitive stipend, support to attend a national physics meeting in the year following the internship, and transportation to and from Washington, DC.

Students are placed in organizations that utilize their energy and diversity, where they engage in meaningful assignments relevant to their host organization and the advancement of physics and astronomy more generally. Participating organizations assign one or more mentors from their senior staff to guide each intern’s work and overall experience. The SPS national office administers the program, hosts joint orientation and concluding sessions, and holds many group activities throughout the summer.

The cohort of SPS summer interns share their varied experiences with each other, live in housing in the heart of Washington, DC, and participate in a number of engaging supplemental activities throughout the summer.


  • Students must be undergraduates and members of the SPS national organization
  • Students must have at least two years of college physics (or equivalent)
  • US citizenship may be required for some positions

Selection Criteria

SPS screens all applicants to find a good match between a partnering organization’s specific needs and students’ interests. Selection criteria vary by position, but general criteria include:

  1. Scholastic record and potential for future success
  2. Participation in SPS events and activities
  3. Relevant interest and experience

Program Administration

Through the SPS National Office, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) advertises the internship opportunities nationwide, and solicits and reviews all applications to find a good match for an organization's specific needs and the student's interests. The SPS National Office is responsible for fully administering the program, which involves recruiting applicants, coordinating interviews and placements, helping with travel arrangements, making housing reservations and rooming assignments, conducting an orientation session and intern symposium, arranging field trips, and serving in other roles related to the professional development and support of the interns during the internship period.

Program Structure

  • All interns attend a joint orientation hosted by SPS at the American Center for Physics on the first day of the internship.
  • Beginning the day after orientation, each intern commutes to his or her place of work daily. Interns work full time on their individual assignments at their host organizations for the duration of the internship.
  • Each intern will plan a tour of his or her host organization for the other SPS interns. These tours will take place intermittently throughout the summer.
  • The SPS National Office hosts several educational and social activities throughout the summer for the interns, to broaden their experience.
  • SPS interns write weekly journal entries highlighting their work and/or a particular experience associated with the internship. These entries are posted on the SPS website.
  • Near the end of the internship, each intern gives a 10-minute professional presentation on his or her work, accomplishments, and overall internship experience to the staff scientists of the American Institute of Physics, the intern mentors, and invited guests.
  • Interns are strongly encouraged to present their work at a national physics meeting in the academic year following their internship, and support is available for this

Internship Partners and Program Support

Each year, several organizations partner with SPS to mentor and support summer interns. A list of current partners can be found here. Many of these organizations provide financial support to help off-set program expenses. In addition, all of the awards and scholarship programs of SPS are made possible, in part, through generous contributions of Sigma Pi Sigma members and friends. Scholarships and awards are supported by income derived from designated funds that have been provided as gifts. In this way, the physics alumni, and especially the Sigma Pi Sigma members, contribute to the generations of students who follow them.


SPS Interns 2017