Internship Program

The NEON Internship Program is designed to provide qualified undergraduates with real-world summer work experience in their chosen field. Because NEON is an interdisciplinary organization, we accept students from a variety of disciplines (e.g., Science, Engineering, Computing). NEON interns are involved with a variety of projects, from helping to design sensor assemblies to testing sampling protocols and analyzing data. See our Internship Opportunities page for more information on this year's projects, and our How to Apply page when you’re ready to apply. You may also want to explore our Alumni & Projects page to see the type of work NEON interns do each summer.

Benefits of a NEON internship:

  • Real-world experience: Work on challenging projects in your chosen field
  • Mentorship: Interact one-on-one with NEON staff members
  • Networking: Join a supportive, diverse community of interns from around the country working in local scientific organizations
  • Full-time summer salary: Earn a competitive student salary for 10-12 weeks
  • Travel and lodging: Live and work in Boulder, CO (travel to Boulder and summer housing provided)
  • Making a difference: Contribute to building NEON from the ground up

NEON is committed to broadening participation in science and engineering

We strongly encourage students from historically under-represented groups in science and engineering to apply. We recruit at minority-serving institutions and organizations. Our program is designed to promote future student success through mentoring, leadership training, career explorations, and various networking activities. Click here to learn more about NSF’s 2013 report on "Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering."

Program details

During the 11-week summer program, NEON interns complete scientific research, engineering, and computing projects that help advance NEON's mission. Throughout the summer, interns work closely with NEON mentors on real world projects, and in the process begin the transition from student to professional colleague. Interns have opportunities to explore career options through a variety of avenues including weekly career seminars and informational interviews with NEON staff. Community mentors are also available to help interns adjust to living and working in Boulder. At the end of each summer, interns present their projects in a formal setting.

  • The 11-week summer program typically starts at the end of May and continues through mid-August. NOTE: schedule can be flexible for students on the quarter system calendar.
  • Interns work 40 hours a week and earn a competitive wage.
  • Furnished apartments are provided at no cost to interns. Round-trip airfare is also provided to Boulder from anywhere within the United States and Puerto Rico. Interns also receive a regional bus pass that meets most local transportation needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the frequently asked questions below to learn more about NEON's internship program.

  • What opportunities will I have to explore various career options?

    One of the goals of the NEON Internship program is to help prepare students for future STEM careers. We offer interns a weekly seminar series focused on career-related issues (e.g., Career Panels, Tips on Resume Writing and Interviewing, The Power of Networking), opportunities to conduct informational interviews with NEON employees, and one-on-one time with mentors discussing career paths. 

  • What is the scientific communication seminar and why is it useful?

    Learning to effectively communicate scientific information, to a variety of audiences, is an important skill and one that can differentiate you from other applicants in today's job market. The scientific communication seminar provides practical training on preparing a scientific or technical paper, as well as guidance on crafting an "elevator speech" aimed at capturing the interest of an uniformed audience in a short time period. The seminar meets weekly, guiding students step-by-step through the process of writing a paper on their summer project and other communication products.

  • Why do NEON Interns participate in activities with other internship and REU programs in the area?

    Boulder is home to several world-class scientific research institutions, each with established REU and Internship programs. As such, students from around the country come here every summer, from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of interests. Many of these students return for a second or third summer, and in the process serve as peer mentors to new interns. To enrich the NEON internship experience, we engage our interns in shared activities with other summer programs including leadership training, formal presentation sessions, and social events.

  • What are tips for preparing a successful application?

    Two of the most important parts of your application are your essays and your letters of recommendations. These essays and recommendations are the primary way we get to know you, and get you to the interview. Be sure to give sufficient time and attention to both, as these will be important in the selection process. Make sure your essays are well written, and reflect you. Successful applicants from the past have advised writing multiple drafts and getting feedback from trusted readers, including your professors. Be sure you understand and address the requirements for the position you choose, and if you have questions, feel free to contact NEON's internship office. You don't have to have every qualification listed in the position description, but you should be able to address many of them.

    See the FAQ on tips for getting a great recommendation.

  • How to get a great recommendation?

    Your letters of recommendation should come from a supervisor or professor who is familiar with your work. If you feel you do not know a professor well enough, take this opportutnity to get to know one or two before asking for a recommendation. This is how professional networking works! Make an appointment to talk with this person about the internship opportunity. Share your essays with her/him, as well as your understanding of NEON and the internship so that they can write a meaningful letter for you.

  • What does "real-world work experience" mean?

    Interns at NEON spend the summer working on projects that contribute to the NEON mission. In other words, their projects matter. Interns apply what they've learned in their academic courses to real problems and/or research questions, just as full-time employees do. They use critical thinking skills to answer their own questions and learn to work as part of a team to complete projects. Interns gain experience in time management and efficient communications, crucial skills in today's work place.   

  • What is mentoring and what can it do for me?

    A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. NEON mentors help interns work through the challenges of their projects, provide advice and guidance on careers, and in general help the intern transition from the role of student to professional work colleague. A good mentor helps the intern find his or her own voice. Mentoring relationships often last beyond the short period of the internship. At NEON, we provide multiple mentors to work with interns. Project mentors are focused primarily on guiding the interns with their project, and providing opportunities for them to hone the skills necessary for the tasks. They also help interns understand various career options and recommend paths to take in their career development. Communications mentors help interns with writing assignments, providing feedback and guidance on effective scientific communications. Community mentors help interns navigate life and work in Boulder. When you come to NEON, you'll meet a team of friendly, experienced folks willing to work with you, guide you, and help you grow.