Since its inception in 1959, the NRAO Summer Student Research Assistantship program has engaged over 1,000 young people in scientific research, and many of our summer students have gone on to distinguished careers in astronomy, physics, and other sciences. The list of former NRAO summer students includes people who represent a wide range of careers, research interests, geographic locations, and backgrounds.

The NRAO has conducted a summer student research program since 1959, with over 1000 participants to date. Each NRAO/GBO summer student conducts research under the supervision of an NRAO or GBO staff member at one of three sites (Socorro, New Mexico; Green Bank, West Virginia; Charlottesville, Virginia), on a project in the supervisor’s area of expertise. The project may involve any aspect of astronomy, including original astronomy research, instrumentation, telescope design, astronomical site evaluation or astronomical software development. Supervisors choose their own student candidates from all applications received, and the site to which a summer student is assigned depends on the location of the supervisor who chose them. Students are encouraged to review the webpages of NRAO staff and GBO staff for an idea of the types of research being conducted. On their application, students may request to work with a specific staff member or to work on a specific scientific topic, or to work at a specific site.

The program runs from 10-12 weeks over the summer, from late May to mid-August. At the end of the summer, participants present their research results as a short talk and submit a written report. Often, these projects result in publications in scientific journals. Financial support is often available for students to present their summer research at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, generally at the winter meeting following their appointment.

Besides their research, students take part in other activities, including a number of social events and excursions, and students may attend a summer school in Green Bank at the beginning of the program. We also offer an extensive summer lecture series which covers aspects of radio astronomy and astronomical research. Students may also collaborate on their own observational projects using the VLA, VLBA and/or GBT.

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