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SURF Application Q & A Sessions Scheduled February 5th  and February 10th (@ Noon E.T.)

The SURF vacancy announcement closes soon. If you wish to attend a virtual virtual session to learn more about the SURF Program and get answers to your questions, send an e-mail to brandi.toliver [at] for details. Your e-mail must be received 24 hours before the scheduled session. 

All application materials must be submitted on USAJOBS.Gov no later than February 19, 2021.   Also, check out the FAQ's.

 If you have questions, send an e-mail to Dr. Brandi Toliver at brandi.toliver [at]

This webinar is for students to learn more about the National Institute Standards and Technology (NIST) and provide tips to submit a competitive application to the SURF Program.

The application process for the SURF Program has changed this year. Students must apply on USAJobs.Gov to be considered for acceptance into the program. To apply to the SURF Program, a USAJOBS profile is required. If you do not have a profile, please create it here . To learn more information about NIST,  the SURF Program, and the revamped application process, you are encouraged to view a recently recorded webinar

A complete submission (via USAJOBS.GOV) contains the following:

  1. Responses to the questionnaire (includes eligibility and vacancy questions). Note: You may preview the eligibility and vacancy questions here
  2. Two (2) letters of recommendation - Please request and enter the contact information on USAJOBS.Gov from individuals who are knowledgeable about your academic achievements and research experience. Feel free to ask your professors (current and past), research mentors, or internship supervisors. NOTE: You must submit your application for the letter writer to receive the request to provide a recommendation. The request for a recommendation letter will come from the e-mail msghelp [at] Additionally, it is the applicants responsibility to provide the correct information and make sure the letters are completed by the deadline.  NIST will not accept hard copies or submissions not uploaded in the portal. 
  3. Personal statement-  The personal statement is the opportunity for NIST staff to learn more about the student and why he/she should be selected for a fellowship in the SURF Program. Students are encouraged to compose a personal statement which includes the following:
    • Commitment to participate in the program and work in a laboratory environment;
    • Description of relevent research experience;
    • Description of prioritized research interests;
    • How you expect to personally benefit from participating in the program;
    • Career goals.

  4.  A brief (two pages or less) resume which includes name, e-mail, school name, G.P.A., research experience, technical skills, extracurricular activities, and graduation date (example resume)

  5.  Transcript(s) from your current undergraduate institution only (unofficial is acceptable). Note: The transcript must confirm your current enrollment status.

  6. Two (2) letters of recommendation - Please request the letters from individuals who are knowledgeable about your academic achievements and research experience. Feel free to ask your professors (current and past), research mentors, or internship supervisors. 

  7. Verification of U.S. citizenship: Demonstrated by submitting a copy of an unexpired U.S. Passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate.
Verification of U.S. permanent residency: Demonstrated by submitting a copy an unexpired green card. NOTE: Driver license and social security card are not adequate forms of proof of U.S. citizenship.

  8. Verification of health insurance (copy of insurance card)

The SURF Program is anticipated to run between May 24 – August 6, 2021 on behalf of the Boulder days ; adjustments may be made to accommodate specific academic schedules . Students are expected to participate in the program until August 6, 2021. 


NIST SURF Program Contact 

Created October 19, 2009, Updated February 5, 2021