JPL Student Independent Research Intern Program

The Student Independent Research Intern, or SIRI, program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., gives students real-life research experiences as a component of their academic program. The internship experience is designed to help students make clear career choices and chart their future educational steps.

  • Program Requirements

    • -- Participation is limited to students from local accredited colleges. (See list below.) Students must have a faculty sponsor at one of the participating colleges who can, a) recommend the student for the program and, b) approve academic credit for the internship. The program is designed for a one-semester/quarter experience only.
      -- Students must have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA
      -- Students must be over the age of 18, and must be U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents.
      -- Students must receive independent study credit for this experience from their college sponsor.
      -- Students must be able to provide 10 to 15 hours per week regularly for the period of the program (approximately one semester).
      -- Periodic training sessions are required.
      -- Project plans, progress reports and final presentations are required assignments.

  • Program Guidelines and Procedures

    • Announcements of Opportunity will be distributed to faculty sponsors at participating colleges. Sponsors will share these opportunities with students that they have approved to participate in the SIRI program.

      After viewing the Announcements of Opportunity, students should discuss these with their faculty sponsor to determine the best match for the student. Following this, students may create a one-page resume with a filename that has the Announcement of Opportunity number and the student's last name. Students can submit resumes for two opportunities to the SIRI faculty sponsor.

      Students must be fully aware that the program is competitive, and students who elect to participate in the application process must expect that there may be more applicants than internships available.

      JPL mentors may contact students for an interview by telephone or in person. Students must be fully aware that several JPL mentors may view students' personal resumes, and therefore, there is no expectation of confidentiality. Students must be willing to contact JPL mentors at short notice for interviews. For this purpose, students must have an active email account and be willing to check it daily.

  • Resume Guidelines

    • The information submitted in this resume is intended to be viewed only by faculty sponsors at the college, JPL Education Office administrators, and JPL mentors. Students should gather the following information before creating a resume:

      Personal Information:
      -- Name
      -- Address
      -- Telephone number
      -- Email address

      Educational Background:
      -- Current GPA
      -- Classes relevant to the Announcement of Opportunity to which the student is applying
      -- Current standing
      -- Expected completion date
      -- Schools attended

      Work Experience
      -- Company
      -- Job description

      Goals and activities
      -- Long-term career goals
      -- Near-term academic plans
      -- Goals and/or objectives that the student would like to accomplish through the SIRI program
      -- Computer, language, organizations or other skills
      -- Anything else the student would like us to know

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Q: When will I be notified of my placement?
      A: The JPL Education Office will notify the student when a placement has been made, typically about three weeks before the program is scheduled to start.

      Q: How do I go about contacting a mentor?

      A: Prior to selection, mentors will review the applications of students interested in their Announcement of Opportunity, and will contact candidates that seem to fit their requirements and preferences best.

      Q: What if I am not a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident?
      A: NASA is a civilian space agency, and almost all the work done at JPL is unclassified. However, government security requirements apply at the Lab, so it is not feasible for the SIRI program to accommodate students who are non-citizens or do not hold a "green card." (Proof of status will be required to get onto the Lab.)

      Q: Is the requirement of 10 to 15 hours per week negotiable?
      A: A SIRI internship is an independent research course. It takes a commitment of at least 10 to 15 hours per week, typical of other courses, to experience the research environment, which is the primary goal of the program.

      Q: What if I don't meet all the requirements on the Announcement of Opportunity?
      A: Being selected for any SIRI research opportunity is based primarily on an agreement between the student and the JPL mentor, with the concurrence of the college faculty sponsor. So the specific requirements may be negotiated. Strong interest in participating and a willingness to learn will often make the difference in being selected for a SIRI opportunity (as it does in having a successful research career). Also, SIRI is an ongoing program, and students who are not selected in one semester are encouraged to apply again.

  • Participating Colleges (currently being updated)

  • Program History

    • Ralph Kahn (lead scientist, Earth and Planetary Atmospheres, division 32), Richard Alvidrez and William Whitney (JPL Education Office, section 185) created and developed the Student Independent Research Internship, or SIRI, program during late spring and early summer 2003.

      It aims at addressing several interests:
      -- Local college students' desires, with strong support from their faculty advisors, to gain hands-on experience in scientific research and engineering while they are still completing their higher-education.
      -- JPL scientists' desire to have more interaction with students.
      -- JPL and NASA education offices' interests in providing more help to college students in preparing for careers in science and engineering.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory wants your experience as an intern to be a successful enhancement of your academic program. Should you have any questions, please send an email to