Summer Exchange 2021 Internship Information

Update: As of May 14, 2021, the application and placement process for this year has concluded.

We are preparing to conduct summer 2021 internships virtually with the hope that in some cases on-campus activities may ultimately be incorporated.

MDSGC’s 2021 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 engineering internship experience. Interested students should contact the faculty coordinator (see below) at their home institution for more information.

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 Friday, March 12, 2021. After that offers will be made on a rolling basis until all positions are filled or May 14, whichever is first.


Applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens.
  • Rising sophomore, junior, 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: CTU students should not apply for an internship offered at CTU through this program.
  • Available to commit for at least 10 weeks during the summer of 2021.


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, Mentor, Project Description, and Status
CTU-1Title: High-speed HAB and UAV Communications

Location: Capitol Technology University (CTU)

Status: Position filled

Faculty Mentor: Professor Richard Hansen

Project Description: The goal is to provide an encrypted communications link at high data rates over a line-of-site path of at least 30km using a small form factor device suitable for remote-sensing platforms such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and High-Altitude Balloons (HABs). Experimentation will include the use of Amateur Radio links to provide geolocation data, which will be used to point directional antennas at platforms in motion. Remote sensing using UAVs and other platforms will require secure communications and operate at high altitudes, and satellite solutions are not cost-effective for low-cost platforms. NASA's Solar-Powered Pathfinder and Pathfinder-Plus ( are examples of sensor platforms that can attain high altitudes that would require reliable high-speed data communications provided by a lightweight and robust system.

The intern will assist with developing system specifications, PDR and CDR documents, and test plans. They will specify equipment, parts for 3D printing and assist with assembly and operation for experiments and testing. The intern will integrate the packages for terrestrial and HAB platforms, and the intern will assist with launch, tracking and recovery.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
CTU-2Title: Cybersecurity Requirements and Testing for CubeSats & HAB Communications


Location: Capitol Technology University (CTU)

Faculty Mentor: Professor Richard Hansen

Project Description: Cybersecurity requirements for CubeSats and High-Altitude Balloons (HABs) will be developed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of communications with these platforms at a reasonable price. Industry partners APS Global llc and The Aerospace Village will assist in developing draft requirements and a gateway to facilitate hacking experiments as part of a larger cyber competition (DEF CON, Gray Hat, etc.). Amateur radio gateways to the satellite will be designed to support access from a larger community of researchers and provide maximum access time for the satellite when visible. This project builds on earlier Aerospace Village work in their “Hack the Satellite” competition ( The Cactus-1 CubeSat team has offered access to their platform for this activity.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
MSU-1Title: Critical Design Analysis of Airframe / Fabrication, Integration and Testing for a Liquid-Fuel Rocket

Status: Position filled

Location: Morgan State University (MSU)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Guangming Chen

Project Description: The preliminary design of a single-stage liquid-propellant rocket (LPR), aimed at an apogee of 13,000 feet, has been completed, and the critical design is under way. The airframe includes a nosecone with a GPS device in it, a main airframe and a boattail. The main airframe houses a recovery parachute system, altimeter, sensors and DAQ device, as well as a helium tank, oxygen tank, propellant tank, the piping and valves. The boattail houses the propulsion engine and provides an installation platform for the fins. In the past several months, the students involved in this rocketry project at Morgan State University have practiced the operation procedure of Integration and Testing (I&T) and launching on a solid–propellant rocket. The solid-fuel rocket was successfully launched on October 18, 2020. It is expected that the critical design review (CDR) for the LPR will be completed in spring 2021. Following the CDR, fabrication and testing will start.

The summer intern will participate in the further analysis of CDR results and necessary modification of the airframe design as well as the modification of coupler design, in fabrication of the airframe (with possible assistance from Army Research Lab), and in integration and testing of the airframe for launch readiness. This summer intern project will be conducted in a hybrid mode: design and analysis can be conducted virtually, integration and testing must be done on campus.

Required skills and availability for the intern: knowledge and skill with SolidWorks or CAD software. Basic knowledge about manufacturing processes will be helpful. Since MSU campus and student housing status in summer 2021 is not clear at this time, the ability to drive to MSU campus several times, though not every day in the summer, is expected.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
MSU-2Title: Data Acquisition System Integration & Evaluation for the Liquid-Fuel Rocket

Status: Position filled

Location: Morgan State University (MSU)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Seong W. Lee & Dr. Xuejun Qian

Project Description: The Morgan State University Rocketry Program liquid-propellant rocket (LPR) is aimed at an apogee of 13,000 feet with a single-stage rocket. Data acquisition system (DAQ) is critical to measure the temperature and pressure changes during the launching process of LPR. The intern may perform the following tasks, but not limited to: (1) assemble and program the Arduino board to obtain readings from thermocouples and pressure transducers with data logging capacity, (2) assemble the tested sensors with the connecting cables into the payload system, (3) test all components and analyze the obtained data from the SD card. This summer intern training would be in a hybrid format: DAQ programming can be conducted in the intern’s residence and discussed virtually in the weekly meeting; components integration and testing could be conducted in the Campus Laboratory.

Desired skills and availability for the intern: Skills related to programming, data analysis, and hands-on experience on the control board assembly, modeling (e.g., SolidWorks, CAD software), and basic knowledge of instrumentation of DAQ components including temperature sensors and pressure transducers, etc. Since MSU campus and student housing status in summer 2021 is not clear at this time, the ability to drive to MSU campus several times, though not every day in the summer, is expected.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
MSU-3Title: Development of Scooping System for NASA Robot

Status: Position filled

Location: Morgan State University (MSU)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Richard Pitts, Jr.

Project Description: For this project, the prospective summer intern will work on mobile robotics research related to work performed at the Industrial Robotics and Automated Manufacturing (IRAM) Laboratory established in 2009 at MSU. The research development of prototype robots and their sub-systems can be helpful for NASA with future Artemis space mission applications. NASA hosts a Lunabotics Robotic Mining Competition (which has been in existence for over a decade now) annually and it has been a major student-driven impetus to help foster ideas for NASA. MSU teams have been involved in the development of several NASA lunar robotic excavators since 2012.

The mining robots are designed to excavate and collect ice simulant (i.e. lunar regolith) on the moon and possibly Mars in the future. The Lunabot is comprised of three subsystems: a mobility system, a scooping system, and a dumping system. This summer's research project would involve the development of a new scooping system for the next generation Lunabot robot. The ideal candidate must have some experience with 3D solid modeling using CAD software. Preferably, experience with 3D printers would also complement the required skillset.

The project may be either virtual or hybrid depending on the campus status.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMBC-1Title: Design and Construction of Hardware for the Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment (CMFX)

Status: Position filled

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carlos Romero-Talamas

Project Description: This collaboration between UMBC and the University of Maryland, College Park, involves the design and construction of a large magnetized plasma experiment to demonstrate stable confinement that could confine thermonuclear plasmas. We expect to receive two large 3T superconducting magnets for this experiment during the summer, which will require alignment and validation of field precision using precision gaussmeter. A translatable mount for the meter probe will have to be designed and constructed, with the constraint to be non-magnetic as it will operate near very strong magnetic fields. In parallel to the magnet work, we will be assembling a 100 kV power system to sustain the magnetized plasma, as well as a RF antenna to initiate the plasma.

Desired student skills: basic knowledge of electrical circuits, and ideally also familiarity with RF design and equipment.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMBC-2Title: Design and Construction of Magnets and Supports for a Novel Fusion Rocket Engine

Status: Position filled

Location: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carlos Romero-Talamas

Project Description: UMBC's plasma research group is participating in the engineering design and construction of a novel propulsion concept that will use nuclear fusion as its energy source. The work is a collaboration between HelicitySpace (sponsor), Caltech, and UMBC. At present, a table top version of the hardware is being designed, but we expect to start work this summer on a larger version that will be designed for high magnetic field compression inside a large vacuum chamber. The project involves CAD (SolidWorks) design of Bitter-type magnets and FEA (ANSYS) calculations of magnetic forces and stresses that will result from large pulsed currents through electromagnets that will generate strong magnetic fields that in turn will compress and heat a traveling plasma through a magnetic nozzle. The design will be constrained by requirements of ultrahigh vacuum compatibility of materials, as well as high voltage shielding, among other constraints. The ultimate goal of this project is to demonstrate compression, heating, and thrust using magnetized plasma at thermonuclear fusion temperatures and densities.

Student qualifications: basic knowledge of E&M required. Experience with Solidworks and finite element simulations desired.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMBC-3Title: Reduced-order Modeling of Complex Fluid Flow


Location: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Meilin Yu

Project Description: This project will involve students in leading-edge reduced-order fluid flow modeling research at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of UMBC. The students will have access to big fluid flow simulation data from Large Eddy Simulation (LES), and use modal analysis and machine learning methods to conduct reduced-order modeling of complex fluid flows. The students will work with the faculty mentor and graduate students in his research lab, the Computational Mechanics Lab at UMBC, together on this topic. All the practices will be hosted online. A final report and presentation will be required from each intern towards the end of the internship period.

This project aims to recruit one or two interns.
UMCP-1Title: Kilobot Robotics

Status: Position filled

Location: University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Otte

Project Description: The summer research will involve implementation of a distributed emergent behavior on a swarm of small and relatively simple to use Kilobot robots. Emergent behavior is the idea that a simple behavior, when run across many robots in a swarm, can often cause the swarm as a whole to produce a higher-level behavior that is surprisingly complex. The mentor will provide guidelines regarding the scientific question that the research will investigate, and will work with the student to brainstorm the particular emergent behavior(s) the student will investigate. The student will be responsible for implementing the behavior on the robots or on a simulator provided by the advisor.

This year's internship will be virtual, with a possible transition to an in-person setting by the end of the summer depending on the state of the pandemic and while following all UMD policies. The student will be expected to actively participate in a distributed virtual work environment, meeting virtually three times a week with the mentor, and participating in additional virtual interaction with other summer interns who will be working on related but distinct projects.

The student is expected to be motivated and comfortable working independently. Previous experience with a coding language is a prerequisite. The language of previous experience does not matter (e.g., Python, Java, C++, Matlab, are all ok as are others), but our project will involve the C language.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMES-1Title: Robotics and Embedded Systems Applications with Arduino UNO and Raspberry Pi

Status: Position filled

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. A. Nagchaudhuri and I. Mamoun

Project Description: The intern will become familiar with the use of Arduino UNO and Raspberry Pi boards. They will be provided with a Grove Starter Kit for Arduino and a GoPiGo 3 Raspberry Pi based mobile robotic kit. They will learn to integrate various sensors and actuators with these boards, as well as learn to program them using Sketch (C++), Scratch, Bloxter, and Python. Interns will also become familiar with Arduino IDE, the basics of the Linux operating system, in addition to Nano and IDLE text editors. Significant effort will be devoted to implementing proportional integral and derivative (PID) control on the GoPiGo 3 robot for path following application using sensor feedback. Appropriate sensor and motor speed data will be recorded to evaluate control performance and conduct error analyses. Data analysis tools integral to EXCEL and MATLAB software platforms will be utilized. Advanced control strategies will be explored to improve performance and adaptation to a variety of dynamic configurations. 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, other robotic devices, solid modeling, and 3D printing capabilities available in the Robotics, Automation, and Manufacturing(RAM) laboratory at University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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 symposium towards the end of the 10-week internship.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
UMES-2Title: Impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on the air quality for selected populated cities across the globe

Status: Position filled

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Madhumi Mitra

Project Description: Air pollution is a global public health concern and has led to millions of premature deaths worldwide. In overpopulated cities, particulate matter such PM2.5 and PM10, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) in the troposphere have deleterious effects on human health leading to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The student intern will study the positive and negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic on some of the selected overpopulated cities in the world that witnessed lockdowns from March 2020 through Spring 2021. Some of the key factors such as restrictive measures (closing of schools, colleges, and universities and non-essential businesses, limitations of motorized transports) and easing of the restrictions have played pivotal roles on the air quality. On the other hand, there are also negative aspects such as the reduction in recycling and the increase in waste through disposable personal protective equipment (PPEs), which resulted in the contamination of physical spaces (water and land), in addition to air. The air quality data will be analyzed from historical and real-time data retrieved from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Now database for the selected urban regions. AirNow is a partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies. The data from NASA’s "Global Nitrogen Dioxide Monitoring Home Page" will be analyzed in this study to understand the pandemic’s impacts on NO2 levels, as well as how NO2 levels have changed since the beginning of 2020.

The student intern will learn how to analyze the real-time and historical air quality data from the EPA’s centralized data system, AirNow; gain content knowledge in atmospheric chemistry and physics of particulate matter; and also hone presentation and writing skills.

Required: Experience with Microsoft Office especially Excel; Strong quantitative skills; College-level statics/data analysis; and completion of at least two semesters of Chemistry.

Desired: Knowledge of statistical packages such as but not limited to SAS, SPSS.

This project aims to recruit one intern.
USNA-1Title: Science in Space

Status: Positions filled

Location: United States Naval Academy (USNA)

Faculty Mentor: Christine Maceo

Description: The topic of “science in space” encompasses many areas, including the study of space physics (electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, rotational motion, gyroscopic motion), instrumentation, experimentation, and design. Systems behave differently in space, and studying scientific principles within the confines of a “space” environment will not only assist in the design of equipment that travels to space for exploration and/or habitat, it will also allow that equipment and instrumentation to capitalize on those differences for efficient design, reliability and performance.

The USNA STEM Center will conduct a Summer 2021 Undergraduate Internship Program in collaboration with USNA academic departments (including Aerospace Engineering, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering). Two undergraduate interns will be selected from colleges and universities within a commutable distance of the US Naval Academy. The ideal candidate will be a rising sophomore or junior majoring in a STEM discipline from one of the MDSGC member institutions of higher learning: Johns Hopkins University, Capitol Technology University, Hagerstown Community College, Morgan State University, Towson University, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Maryland-College Park and University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. The interns will work together to produce a number of STEM-related activities focusing on emerging topics related to science in space, including (but not limited to) electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, rotational motion, gyroscopic motion, instrumentation, experimentation and structural design. The USNA STEM Center is prepared to support this internship in an in-person, virtual or hybrid mode, depending on the accessibility of the yard during Summer 2021. In addition to scalable activities for a comprehensive hands-on module, the undergraduate interns will develop short-duration K-16 activities related to science in space for less-structured events such as Space Fairs and festivals. In September 2021, the STEM Center will host a professional development STEM Educator Training (SET Sail) workshop focused on instrumentation and is offering an hour-long space science module that will highlight the instruments astronauts need to monitor their environment. In February 2022, the STEM Center will hold an additional SET Sail workshop (topic TBA). Since the STEM Center prides itself in its ability to make its activities relevant across disciplines and across themes with slight modifications to the scenarios and activities, the Spring 2022 professional development workshop will also incorporate the concepts of science in space in the context of its overarching premise, either as a stand-alone module or as part of a Space and Physics Fair.

To develop an in-depth understanding of science in outer space, the interns will conduct their own research and explore related activities previously developed at the STEM Center, including Data Science and Machine Learning, magnetism, rotational inertia, gyroscopic motion, instrumentation, experimentation and structural design. In addition, the interns will be provided with opportunities to work with civilian and military faculty and staff at the US Naval Academy. These field experts are available to help with content clarification and activity development as the modules are researched, planned and documented. A faculty member for the USNA STEM Center will mentor the interns and provide them with the necessary research and personnel resources.

This project aims to recruit two interns.

How to Apply

For full consideration, applications should be received by March 12, 2021. After that offers will be made on a rolling basis until all positions are filled or May 14, 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. Coray Davis

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 may be able to assist interns in arranging housing if needed. Interns will be responsible for paying housing and transportation costs out of their stipend.

For general questions, please contact MDSGC.