Summer 2024 Internship Information

Summer 2024 Internship Information

MDSGC’s 2024 Summer Exchange program invites qualified students to apply for hands-on summer internships at any of the participating universities other than their home institution. The program will exchange successful applicants among participating universities for a 10-week paid internship experience. Interested students should contact the faculty coordinator (see below) at their home institution for more information and to obtain the application password.

The link to the application is at the bottom of this page. Please read this page carefully before applying!

For full consideration, applications must be received by March 15, 2024. After that offers will be made on a rolling basis until all positions are filled or mid-May, whichever is first.

We are preparing for summer 2024 internships with the intent that activities will largely occur on campus unless explicitly stated to the contrary in the project description.

Eligibility

Applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens.
  • Rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors majoring in engineering, computer science, or another STEM area relevant to the project topics. Note: some projects have prerequisites that may require particular experience.
  • Currently enrolled at one of the following institutions: Capitol Technology University (CTU), Hagerstown Community College (HCC), Morgan State University (MSU), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), or University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).
  • Interested in working at one of the participating universities other than their home institution. Example: UMCP students should not apply for an internship offered at UMCP through this program.
  • Available to commit for at least 10 weeks during the summer of 2024.

Projects

On the application, students will be asked to rank their top three project choices, specified by “Project ID”, listed in the table below.

Project IDTitle, Location, Mentor, Project Description, Prerequisites (if any) and Status
CTU-1Title: ALPHA Observatory Astro-imaging and Near Earth Object Tracking

Location: Capitol Technology University (CTU)

Status: AVAILABLE

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Emily Tyler

Project Description: The Asteroid Large Aperture PHotometry ExoplAnet Transit Observatory (ALPHA), located at Capitol Technology University provides positional and light-curve measurements of asteroids and comets, and has recently been upgraded to perform astro imaging and optimize Near Earth Object (NEO) tracking and processing. Prospective intern(s) will provide support in generating observation plans to execute at the observatory site and perform required submission of object information to target databases. The intern will also work with the mentor in researching the potential development of ALPHA-2 at a remote site location.

Work will include:
--Perform Target Scheduling and monitor observatory performance.
--Perform routine and emergency maintenance/repairs to the observatory.
--Perform image processing and submit asteroid / comet positional measurements to MPC.
--Perform image processing for generating color images using LRGB filters.
--Work with university marketing to publish ALPHA updates.
--Operate ALPHA remotely during observation periods.
--Become acquainted with the astro imaging technology.
--Deploy upgraded Control PC
--Monitor remote weather
--Develop procedures to astro-imaging processing

Prerequisites and Desired Qualifications: General grasp of astronomy topics. Basic understanding of observatories. At least 1 completed year of university in a STEM field.

Work location and hours: Capitol Technology University, with potential for remote observations. Some night operations are required for the observatory, the mentor will provide updated schedules

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
MSU-1Title: A Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Approach and In-Depth Analysis of a Liquid Propellant Rocket’s Nose Cone and Airframe: Bridging Theory and Application

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: Morgan State University (MSU)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Guangming Chen
Additional Research Mentor: Mr. Marc J. Louise Caballes

Project Description: The project delves into the integration of Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Rocket Simulation Analysis, and Statistical Analysis (using Minitab) to conduct a comprehensive study on the nosecone and airframe of a liquid propellant rocket. The objective is to bridge theoretical concepts with practical applications, providing valuable insights into advanced rocket design and engineering. The intern will actively engage and collaborate in the development of the MBSE framework of MSU's Liquid Propellant Rocket, focusing on the nose cone and airframe while using Rocket Simulation Analysis tools to perform simulations and evaluate responses and applying statistical analysis tools (Minitab) to create factorial designs or Design of Experiments (DoE) for identifying significant factors. The intern must have a basic understanding of the rocket's critical components and systems (specifically in nosecone and airframe components) and familiarity in creating engineering drawings.

Additional Desired Skills: AutoDesk AutoCAD (2D Software), Inventor or OnShape (3D Software), Systems Engineering Principles and Data Reading.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
MSU-2Title: CFD modeling of nasal drug spray under zero gravity condition

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: Morgan State University (MSU)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Zheng Li

Project Description: Long duration space missions will cause many upper airway problems for astronauts, while nasal drug spray can be a solution. In this project, we will investigate whether over the counter drug spray will be proper to be used in space. The student intern will work in the mentor’s group on the CFD modeling for the droplet transportation of drug spray under zero gravity conditions. The student intern will gain hands on experience for CFD modeling.

Prerequisite: An A in a college-level fluid dynamics course.

Additional Desired Skills: CFD backgroud; COMSOL Multiphysics Modeling.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
UMBC-1Title: Modeling, Diagnostics, and Data Analysis at the Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland Baltimore County / University of Maryland College Park

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carlos Romero-Talamás

Project Description: The Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment (CMFX) is a magnetized plasma experiment to investigate and demonstrate high-temperature plasma confinement with the ultimate goal of enabling the commercial availability of compact thermonuclear fusion reactors. The CMFX uses superconducting magnets to provide steady and precise magnetic fields in a large volume, and it is the first rotating plasma mirror to include such technology. The program is funded by the Department of Energy's ARPA-E program. CMFX is currently operating at the University of Maryland, College Park and is producing data from high voltage discharges. Diagnostics, including an interferometer, spectrometers, and neutron detectors are being developed in order to demonstrate the density, temperature, and confinement time from this experiment. Summer interns will help with the operation and data analysis from diagnostics, including but not limited to gas puff systems, magnetic probes, spectrometry, and interferometry. Data analysis may be necessary for all diagnostics in a variety of ways, including programming in Python, MATLAB, and from proprietary software. The summer intern is expected to work alongside graduate students, researchers, engineers, and technicians.

The primary work location will be the University of Maryland, College Park. Interns are expected to be on-site every day. Remote work is possible in the event of campus closure.

Desired student skills: SolidWorks, Matlab, and ANSYS finite-element software, among others, preferred but not required. Summer interns will be required to keep laboratory notes throughout their internship, and produce a final report that will become part of the technical library. Students working near high magnetic fields, as well as accessing the electrical energy storage area, will undergo special safety training. Background in digital electronics will also be welcome but not required for successful applicants.

Special note: Applicants should disclose any medical condition or device (e.g. pacemaker) that may limit their access to high magnetic fields. We welcome all qualified applicants and will make every reasonable effort to accommodate those with particular conditions or disabilities.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
UMBC-2Title: Commissioning and Testing of the ALPHA Bitter Electromagnet

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland Baltimore County

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carlos Romero-Talamás

Project Description: UMBC's plasma research group is constructing a Bitter electromagnet for magnetized plasma research. The magnet will be capable of producing fields of up to 7 tesla in pulsed or continuous mode. The magnet core (the winding) is expected to be ready by the summer, with other subsystems under design or construction before and during the summer. Students in this project will work alongside other students and researchers to operate the experiment and diagnostics, including analyzing data from these diagnostics and comparing it with analytical and computational models. Students will also help in the design and fabrication of structural components to mount the core in its cooling tank, and to connect to the high power electrodes and switchgear.

The primary work location will be the Dusty Plasma Laboratory at UMBC. Interns are expected to be on-site every day.

Desired student skills: SolidWorks, Matlab, and ANSYS finite-element software, among others, preferred but not required. Summer interns will be required to keep laboratory notes throughout their internship, and produce a final report that will become part of the technical library. Students working near high magnetic fields, as well as accessing the electrical energy storage area, will undergo special safety training. Experience with data processing and plotting with Python, or similar software, is desired but not required for successful applicants.

Special note: Applicants should disclose any medical condition or device (e.g. pacemaker) that may limit their access to high magnetic fields. We welcome all qualified applicants and will make every reasonable effort to accommodate those with particular conditions or disabilities.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
UMCP-1Title: Application and Exploration of Geometric Focusing Heuristics to Sampling-Based Methods

Status: AVAILABLE
Location: University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Otte
Additional Research Mentor: Miles Jones

Project Description: There are real-world situations where autonomous agents may be deployed in unknown environments with very limited communication. The goal in this case is to find ways to leverage what limited information can be gained from other agents and the environment to aid in an agent's objectives. This project focuses on finding unique ways to improve performance in sampling-based motion planning methods when given very limited data. An open-ended project that explores how different types of geometry (such as an ellipse) perform on other special 2D manifolds and could even be used in graph-search methods to cover a given path effectively. The intern will study how different sampling methods perform on other 2D manifolds beyond a basic plane and program visuals showcasing the result. Additionally, the intern is encouraged to explore the use of shapes beyond an ellipse and apply them through different graph-search methods to cover a given path. The main goal is to gain valuable insight from the exploration of these ideas, with the stretch goal being for interns to apply these insights and develop their own methods. Interns will develop skills in applying common motion planning methods and learn how more advanced topology applies to the field.

Pre-requisites:
- Be familiar with Python (or another programming language)
- Taken mid-level programming course (or equivalent experience)
- Experience/exposure with Linear Algebra and Calculus 3

Additional desired skills: Exposure to theory about different topological spaces.

Work location and schedule: Primarily working on campus (UMD College Park) but some time will be allowed for remote work. Must be on campus to meet with Miles and Dr. Otte regularly.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMCP-2Title: Development and Testing of Inflatable Wheels for Lunar and Mars Rovers

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Akin

Project Description: Roving vehicles on the Moon or Mars represent the ultimate extreme of "off-roading". These vehicles can traverse the surface for years, exploring the planet and learning critical information for human exploration in the near future. However, one critical problem is with the design of wheels. The perfect wheel design changes depending on the type and texture of the surface. Mars rovers have been driven into sand fields to avoid sharp rocks, and wound up getting irrevocably stuck. The next rover was directed to drive on rocks instead of sandy regions, and has sliced its wheels almost to shreds. For the Maryland Space Grant Summer Internship of 2024, students will work in the UMCP Space Systems Laboratory on an innovative idea for rover wheels which can change shape to fit the local conditions. The nominal wheel will be rigid, ideal for traveling on tightly packed surfaces. If the rover needs to travel over loose sand, an auxiliary wheel will inflate from the wheel hub to lower the contact pressure and allow the rover to "float" across the sandy soil. The inflatable wheel will then deflate and stow itself back in the rigid wheel hub, to be used again upon need. Critical design issues include the size and shape of the inflatable wheel, as well as approaches using springs or bungees for it to autonomously stow itself when deflated. Interns will help with fabricating test wheels with inflatable components, testing them on a wheel test fixture in a large sand box, and (hopefully) creating four wheels and testing them in the field on an SSL rover.

Desired student skills: The only hard requirement is for energy and enthusiasm, but it might be helpful to have experience in computer-aided design, hardware fabrication, 3D printing, and/or sewing.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
UMES-1Title: Robotics and Embedded Systems Applications

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. A. Nagchaudhuri

Project Description: The broad goal of the internship would be to familiarize the student with a variety of robotics of embedded systems applications that are ongoing in the UMES robotics laboratory using platforms such as Sphero RVR, Go Pi Go3, and Agilex LIMO. These platforms are integrated with a variety of sensors and can be programmed using several programming languages. Based on the interest and experience of the student appropriate project will be assigned that will provide an engaging and challenging internship experience.

While students with an interest in robotics and mechatronics are encouraged to apply, students who are familiar with Ubuntu Operating System, XML, XACRO, Python, as well as ROS and Gazebo open-source software environments will be preferred. Exchange student interns are expected to work as part of a team with other undergraduate students involved with the AIRSPACES (Autonomous Instrumented Robotic Sensory Platforms to Advance Creativity and Engage Students) supported by Maryland Space Grant and contribute to the DREAM (Developing Robotic Exploration using Agrobots and Moobots) project supported by NASA MSTAR program.

If logistics permit the intern will also be exposed to a variety of other ongoing efforts at UMES in the areas of unmanned autonomous systems on land, air, and water largely pertaining to agricultural automation and environmental stewardship, as well as, robotic arms (Adept Industrial Robotic Arms and FarmBot), solid modeling, and 3D printing capabilities available in the Robotics, Automation, and Manufacturing (RAM) laboratory at University of Maryland Eastern Shore(UMES).

UMES faculty will engage the intern in oral and written communication skill development and facilitate the poster and/or Powerpoint presentation development that will be presented at the research symposium towards the end of the 10-week internship.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMES-2Title: Lunar Agriculture Study: Assessing the Impacts of Two Different Types of Lunar Regoliths on Crop Growth

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. M. Mitra

Project Description: As humanity embarks on the ambitious journey of lunar exploration and envisions the establishment of sustainable habitats on the Moon, delving into the potential for agriculture in lunar regolith emerges as a pivotal facet for ensuring the success of long-term lunar habitation. This project endeavors to study the effects of two distinct lunar regolith types, namely LHS-IE (Engineering Grade Lunar Highlands Simulant) and LHS-1 (High Fidelity Moon Dirt Simulant), on the growth of two food crops—spinach and lettuce. By conducting controlled experiments on an indoor farmbot (a robotic system designed and utilized for indoor farming or controlled-environment agriculture), this study seeks to monitor germination, growth, and yield, shedding light on the viability of lunar regolith as a growth medium for crops in a lunar environment.

The primary objectives of this study are threefold. Firstly, to establish controlled experiments with each lunar regolith type, observing the germination, growth, and yield of spinach and lettuce. Secondly, to systematically explore potential challenges and advantages associated with each lunar regolith type, aiming to decipher the nuanced interactions between regolith composition and crop cultivation. Lastly, to contribute valuable data and insights essential for the development of lunar agriculture systems, providing a scientific foundation for future lunar habitation endeavors.

The research project involves the active participation of a student intern from one of the member institutions of Maryland Space Grant Consortium (MDSGC), specializing in chemistry, environmental sciences, bioengineering, or chemical engineering. This intern will conduct the controlled experiments outlined in the objectives, utilizing their academic background to contribute to the data collection and analysis process. The anticipated outcomes of this study extend beyond the confines of controlled experiments, envisioning a comprehensive understanding of lunar agriculture. The gathered data on soil moisture, nutrient levels, and crop development throughout the experimental period will contribute pivotal insights into the feasibility of lunar agriculture—a crucial aspect of long-term lunar habitation planning. The comparative analysis of different lunar regolith types, specifically LHS-IE and LHS-1, introduces innovation to the study. By discerning the distinct impacts of each regolith type on crop growth, the research aims to provide nuanced insights that can inform future lunar habitat design and agricultural practices.

To disseminate the findings, the research results will be presented at the summer research symposium hosted by the MD Space Grant Consortium. Furthermore, the student intern is expected to collaborate with faculty investigators to develop a full-length paper (conference proceeding) for presentation at the 2025 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) conference, thereby contributing to the wider scientific community and fostering advancements in lunar agriculture education.

This work will be carried out in-person; therefore the intern must reside on or near the UMES campus during the entire internship period.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMES-3Title: Advanced Aerogel Insulation Systems for Aerospace Applications

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kausiksankar Das

Project Description: Aerogels are one of the lightest materials on earth and possess the lowest thermal conductivity of any solid material, enabling them to act as a superior insulating barrier against extreme temperatures encountered during space missions. In this project we will try to understand and characterize the thermal, mechanical, and physical properties of aerogels, develop a prototype aerogel-based insulating tape, formulate an aerogel-based insulating paint and assess the performance and feasibility of the tape/paint. Interns will make aerogel tapes and paints using different polymers, measure their thermal conductivity and characterize their properties using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and other instruments.

Prerequisite: Eagerness to learn and a preference for hands-on activities. Working knowledge of Arduino and Matlab/python would be preferred.

Work location: onsite at UMES.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
USNA-1Title: STEM Center Internships

Status: AVAILABLE

Location: United States Naval Academy (USNA)

Faculty Mentor: Capt. Joseph McGettigan

Description: Interns will assist the USNA STEM Center with execution of its summer programs as well as conduct faculty-supervised research in an area of interest to the intern. STEM Center programs include the Summer Hero's Youth Program involving travel to local area middle schools to teach STEM modules and Set Sail, which is two weeks of teacher training. Interns will also have the opportunity to learn/practice soldering skills, work on electronics projects and gain exposure to various STEM platforms such as flight simulators and the USNA planetarium. Interns will also be guided to choose a research subject in any STEM area for an independent project under the supervision of USNA faculty and/or STEM Center personnel.

Qualifications and skills: There are no prerequisites. Interns will learn public speaking and teaching skills along with fundamentals of physics, electronics, aeronautics, chemistry and naval architecture.

Work will take place on-campus at USNA with minimum remote-work. Summer housing is not available on the USNA campus, so interns will be expected to commute to and from campus on a daily basis.

This project aims to recruit two interns.

How to Apply

For full consideration, applications should be received by March 15, 2024. After that offers will be made on a rolling basis until all positions are filled or mid-May, whichever is first.

(I) Interested students must obtain the endorsement of the faculty coordinator at their home institution or one of the internship mentors. Coordinators will help guide students toward appropriate projects and will provide the password needed to submit an application via the link below.  Contact your home institution’s coordinator to request their endorsement (and application password) and get their advice:

Capitol Technology University — Prof. Marcel Mabson

Hagerstown Community College — Prof. Ed Sigler

Morgan State University — Prof. Guangming Chen

University of Maryland, Baltimore County — Prof. Carlos Romero-Talamás

University of Maryland, College Park — Prof. Mary Bowden

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore — Prof. Abhijit Nagchaudhuri

(II) Completing the application requires (1) current student information including contact information and GPA; (2) a PDF resume or CV; (3) a PDF “statement of interest” (one page or less) that should explain your goals for the internship and your overall career; (4) contact information for one person who can provide a letter of recommendation; (5) your top three choices among the projects listed on this page.

(III) Here is the link to the password-protected application page. Contact your home institution’s coordinator to request their endorsement and the password.

Stipend and Housing

MDSGC will provide a 10-week stipend of $7300 and in some cases may be able to assist interns in arranging housing near campus. Interns will be responsible for paying housing and transportation costs out of their stipend.

For general questions, please contact MDSGC.