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CTL - 2018 SURF Gaithersburg Program

The Wireless Networks Division (WND) of the Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) at the National 

2017 CTL SURF Gaithersburg Students
2017 CTL SURF Students with Dr. David Griffith, CTL SURF Gaithersburg Director
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors to apply for the 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the NIST laboratories in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The program is designed to provide hands-on research experience using commercial-grade modeling and simulation tools for public safety communications, spectrum sharing architectures and technologies, millimeter wave communications at (30–300) GHz, channel modeling, phased array antenna design and antenna beam forming algorithms, and modeling and simulation of next generation networking protocols.

2018 SURF Program Dates:

Anticipated Application Deadline: February 12, 2018

Anticipated Gaithersburg Program Dates: May 29, 2018 - August 10, 2018

Specific CTL research opportunities include the following (click the links to learn more about our work and see some of our recent published research papers):

Public safety communications:

  • Develop network simulation tools that model cellular communications protocols
  • Study Quality of Service (QoS) metrics for Mission-Critical Voice (MCV) communications
  • Develop mathematical models of the behavior of cellular communications protocols

Millimeter wave communications:

  • Perform statistical analysis of communications channel measurements
  • Simulate new communications protocols, including algorithms to control new types of high-gain antennas

Spectrum sharing:

  • Use mathematical skills to do signal processing analysis of various types radio signals
  • Use programming skills to develop models of various spectrum sharing architectures and technologies.
  • Use analytical skills to model various dynamic spectrum access schemes and algorithms.

The Fellowship will include a stipend of $5,500 for the 11-week period ($4,500 for the 9-week program), in addition to travel and housing allowances.

Student Eligibility Criteria

  • Students must be undergraduates at a U.S. university or college with a scientific major;
  • Students must have a G.P.A. of 3.0/4.0 or better (recommended), and are considering pursuing a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.); 
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • Students will need two letters of recommendation into the program by science and engineering professors/department chairs, a student transcript, and a letter of intent/personal statement; and 
  • Students with applied mathematics, statistics, computer science, or engineering majors are always encouraged to apply. There may be research opportunities for students with other majors.  

Plan of Operation

  • SURFers work directly with CTL Research Advisors and other members of the Wireless Networks Division on their projects.
  • SURFers participate in a weekly research seminar program and in extramural group activities intended to enrich the fellowship experience.
  • In addition to the required presentation during the SURF Colloquium at the end of the session, SURFers are encouraged to present their research results at national meetings, or to work with their advisors to submit technical papers reporting their work to peer-reviewed research journals.  
  • SURFers are encouraged to pursue graduate work after they finish their undergraduate studies, up to the Ph.D. degree.
  • For more information and to apply, go to the related links.


CTL SURF Gaithersburg Director

Created January 12, 2018, Updated November 15, 2019