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SHIP Application and Selection Process

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you are ready to prepare your application. 

2024 Timeline

  • February 09 — Applications are due. Late applications will not be considered.  
  • February 26 - 29 — You will be notified if your application is completed and moving forward to the next phase of consideration. If your application is disqualified, you will be notified. 
  • March 04 - April 01 — Mentors will review applications and make offers. 
  • April 09 - 12 — If you are not selected for the program, you will receive a notification email from  
  • April 01 - June 01 — Required forms are due, including: 
    • Official/final transcript 
    • AU of IT Security 
    • Work permit (if you live in Maryland and are younger than 18) 
    • Student Volunteer Agreement 
    • NIST Health Unit form
    • Photo, video, audio release form 
    • SHIP General Information Sheet 
  • June 01 - 15 — OU SHIP Admin personnel to schedule appointment with NIST Security and Badge office to bring students to campus for fingerprint and badging. Admin must add student names to the Visitor Center and Pickup student at Visitor office to Badging & Security Offices. All fingerprints will be taken by making an appointment through your OU/lab or NIST Office, NIST Office of Security, or police station. 
  • June 17 — SHIP Orientation/First Day 
    • Gaithersburg 11A - 12N ET - Bldg. 101, Lecture Room B
    • Boulder - 9A - 10A MT - Bldg. 1 1203D (Zoom link to vtc to Gaithersburg will be included in meeting invite)
  • August 06  - 07 — Poster Session
    • August 06 - Boulder SHIP Poster Session - Bldg. 1 - 1203D 11A - 12N (MT), VTC to Gaithersburg, Bldg. 101, Lecture RM B 1P - 2P ET (Judges, mentors, & presenting Students)
  • August 07 - Gaithersburg - SHIP Gaithersburg Poster Session - 10A , Bldg. 101 Poster Hallway - Posters must be displayed on wall starting from Bldg. 101 Green Auditorium to Lecture Room B. Attendance by Students, Mentors, Judges and family members (if parents desired)
  • August 08 - Judges meeting to Discuss SHIP Poster Winners, Bldg. 101 Lecture RM B 11A - 12N ET- Zoom link will be provided to judges that wants to attend virtual. 
  • August 9 — Program Ends/ SHIP Award Ceremony Room TBD - coordinating w/ Sigma Xi

What to Gather for Your Application 

  • A brief resume that should include your name, email address, high school, GPA, and graduation date.
  • An unofficial or official copy of your school transcript. 
  • Names and email addresses for two people who are willing to provide a recommendation (STEM). The First recommendation must be from a STEM teacher. The Second Recommendation can be from volunteering at events at school or elsewhere, a coach, or another teacher (who may or may not also be a STEM teacher).
  • A personal statement (up to one page).
  • Availability Form signed by you and your parents indicating your availability for the full, eight-week period during the summer if you accept the position.

Letters of Recommendation 

One of your two recommendations must be from a science, engineering, or technical education teacher. The second recommendation can be from volunteering at events at school or elsewhere, a coach, or another teacher (who may or may not also be a STEM teacher). 

Providing a letter of recommendation from your parent will disqualify your application. 

After you submit your application, your letter of recommendation writers will receive an automated email with instructions on how to submit the recommendation to us electronically. Recommendations are due two weeks from request date.

Personal Statement 

Your personal statement, which should be no more than one page, should include: 

  • Description of your interest in science.
  • Choice of organizational NIST laboratory you’d like to work in.
  • Description of future plans after graduation from high school.
  • How you will provide for your housing and transportation during the summer (if you are not from the Washington, D.C. area). 

Set Up Your USAJobs Profile 

  1. Go to USAJobs and create a profile (or sign into your existing profile). 
  2. Upload your resume to the profile. 
  3. Answer the questions to finish setting up your profile. Note: This profile can be used for any federal job. This is not specific to the SHIP program. Filling out this profile alone is not a SHIP application. 

Applying to the SHIP Program 

  1. Once your profile is complete, USAJobs will ask you if you want to continue the application. Select "Yes."  
  2. Make sure you are answering a list of 20 questions, and you see a request for your recommenders. Otherwise, you are not in the SHIP application. 
  3. Add all of the required elements and submit your application before the deadline. Only complete applications will be considered. 

After Your Application Is Submitted 

Between March 04 and April 01, you may be contacted for a phone or in-person interview. 

We encourage you to learn about what’s going on at NIST before your interview; however, please do not reach out to potential NIST mentors. 

You will know by the end of April if you’ve been accepted to the program. 

After You Accept the Offer

Once you’re accepted to the program, you will fill out the following forms: 

Forms must be returned as soon as possible but no later than June 1. Failure to return forms on time means you will be removed from the program for the summer; there are no exceptions. 

Created May 21, 2010, Updated March 4, 2024