Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) at ORNL - Summer 2020

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is suspending all new internship appointments, effective immediately, due to health and safety concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes the Lab’s summer 2020 programs.

There is a small chance that the suspension of new internship appointments could be lifted if circumstances change, but for now this move will help minimize the risk to visiting students and to the Laboratory. 

For the latest information and guidance, please visit these COVID-19 resources:

If you have any questions, please contact us at

All profile and application questions/requirements must be completed and both profile and application must be completed and submitted before application can be reviewed.

The application will require:

  1. Profile information
  2. Education information (i.e. dates of attendance/graduation, GPAs, majors, etc.)
  3. Awards and honors
  4. Internship and employment information
  5. Information on special skills, research, areas of interest and /or expertise
  6. An updated resume
  7. Contact information for recommenders, including email
  8. Unofficial academic record or official transcript showing name, school name, current classes and GPA
    • An official transcript may be required at time of selection and before starting date.
  9. Availability dates (if applicable)

For questions, contact


Application Deadline
2/28/2020 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time Zone


  • Maximize the abilities of students through cooperative nuclear research with mentors at a national laboratory
  • Increase nuclear research opportunities
  • Provide a learning environment useful to both national laboratories and students
  • Train the next generation of nuclear scientists 

Nuclear research areas of interests and projects in NESLS may include:

Nuclear Security Technologies: Material protection, control, and accounting, Radiation detection, Safeguards Transportation technologies, Arms control assessments, Fissile material, Detection Export control, Fissile material disposition, Nuclear threat reduction

Nuclear Systems Analysis, Design, and Safety: Radiation shielding, Systems analysis, Reactor physics, Facility safety, Criticality safety, Risk assessment, Thermal hydraulics, Regulatory support, Nuclear data and codes, System instrumentation and controls, Material and fuel irradiation, Enrichment technology, Advanced space reactors

Fuels, Isotopes, and Nuclear Materials: Nuclear fuels, Separations science and technology, Heavy element production, Nuclear process and equipment design, Stable and radioactive isotopes, Robotics and remote handling, Medical isotope development, Chemical engineering

While You Are Here:

  • Enrich your laboratory experience by attending lectures, seminars and other opportunities to learn more about ORNL and the research of many outstanding speakers
  • Network with laboratory research staff and with fellow students
  • Take technical tours of facilities at ORNL
  • Prepare and present your project to laboratory staff and fellow students - required for summer appointments

Selection: The award will be based on mentor's selection and project funding availability.

Duration: NESLS summer 2020 participants should plan to start by June 1, 2020 and must start no later than June 15, 2020. You must end no earlier than August 7, 2020.  The award term may vary. Participation in the summer poster session during the week of August 3 - 7, 2020 is required. Renewals/extensions are limited.

Benefits: Travel to and from up to $1000 total and housing allowance of $175/week if full-time participant at 40 hours/week and permanent address is 50 miles or more from Oak Ridge.

Health Insurance: Each participant is required to have coverage in a health insurance plan for the length of the appointment. It is the responsibility of each participant to secure insurance coverage before arriving at the appointed site.

ORCid: Each participant will be required to register for an ORCiD identifier number and provide to ORISE (instructions will be provided if selected).

All requirements to accept appointment must be met as stated in official selection notification and/or before start of appointment

NESLS Weekly Stipend Rates: Stipends are based on class status as shown below. Stipends shown are based on full-time (40 hours/week) participation; pro-rated if appointed part-time.

Class Status*

  • First Year (Freshman) - $629/wk
  • Second Year (Sophomore) - $693/wk
  • Third Year (Junior) - $753/wk
  • Fourth Year (Senior) - $826/wk
  • Masters Student - $963/wk
  • PhD Student - $1035/wk

*Denotes class status completed prior to ORNL report date and as defined by college/university. Applicants must be continuing education in an accredited degree-seeking program if graduating before or during the appointment period (i.e. seniors must have proof of continuance in a MS program or MS graduates must have proof of continuance in a PhD program in the following semester). You should not apply if you can not provide proof of current enrollment and acceptance into next academic level of courses if applicable.

Have questions on how to apply? Contact For general program questions or additional program information, contact Julie Ezold at


Eligibility: The ORNL NESLS program is open to full - or part-time students enrolled at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university in a nuclear engineering, science, or eligible related degree with a 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA at the time of appointment and an interest in nuclear science or related research areas. Community college students must be working towards an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree. Applicants must be continuing education in an accredited degree-seeking program if graduating with degree before or during appointment period and be at least 18 years of age.  All awards and active participation in the program are contingent upon security access approval to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Qualifications: Student applicants will be chosen on the basis of academic performance, class standing, career goals, recommendations, and compatibility of educational interests and abilities with the needs of ORNL.

Before you get started on your application, you should review the research areas at ORNL to assist you in determining what area might fit your career path.  You can see the six discipline areas at and begin exploring each one.

  1. For example, if you choose Nuclear Science, you will learn more about breakthrough areas, news, current research, innovative developments, and more. Exploring these areas can help you identify key words, important terminology, or areas of interest that can be used as you answer application questions.
  2. You can also type a key word into the search box at the top right corner on and explore the links that are provided to identify key researchers at ORNL or go to the webpages of the directorates or divisions (Our People - Directorate or Division Contacts - click on the Directorate links)
  3. Most of the NESLS mentors are located in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at However, any mentor in any division at ORNL can choose to use the NESLS program if they have research projects in nuclear science related areas.

After you have completed your application, you may want to reach out via email (use the Our People - Contact Us - Find People - Staff Directory links at to obtain the email address) to the researchers you identify and let them know about your interest and why you would be a good fit for their project or the research within the division. Showing initiative through this connection process and discussing your passion for science and research and how it relates to what is happening at ORNL is a great way for you to introduce yourself to potential mentors. You should reference the research you have done about them and why you are interested in learning more about their ongoing projects as well as describing your background and interest. For pool-based programs such as NESLS, this personal connection is the key to “standing out” from the hundreds of applications received each cycle.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Currently pursuing an Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree.
  • Overall GPA: 3.00
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (1 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (16 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (45 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (10 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (4 )
  • Age: Must be 18 years old by 6/12/2020

I certify that: My cumulative GPA is at least 3.0/4.0; I am at least 18 years of age; I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate nuclear engineering, science or related eligible degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university OR if enrolled in an accredited community college, I am currently enrolled in an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree program; if graduating before appointment period, I have been accepted into and will continue in the next level of studies at an accredited U.S. college or university and can provide proof of that acceptance (i.e. BS graduate accepted into MS progam or MS graduate accepted into PhD program). To the best of my knowledge all information contained in this application is accurate. I understand that any falsification will render me ineligible for participation and, if found after participation has begun, may require me to reimburse any funds received


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