The Community College Internship Program at NREL
The Community College Internship (CCI) program is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science undergraduate education and research programs.
Participation in the CCI program at NREL is designed to complement academic programs and provide students with valuable, hands-on technical and research experience. NREL provides the opportunity for interns to train as technicians or scientific researchers in world-class laboratory facilities under the direction of staff who serve as research advisors and mentors.
What Interns Do at NREL
NREL conducts research in about 50 areas of scientific investigation, including photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass-derived fuels and chemicals, building efficiency, advanced vehicles, industrial processes, solar thermal systems, hydrogen, fuel cells, geothermal, distributed energy resources, energy integration, measurement and testing of renewable energy systems, hybrid systems, basic energy research, scientific computing, and energy analysis.
Interns spend their term engaged in a research project focused in these areas under the guidance of a laboratory scientist or engineer. Interns attend enriching professional development activities such as laboratory tours, speakers on scientific developments at NREL, and workshops that provide guidance and development of professional skills in writing technical research papers, oral presentations, and posters.
There are two types of CCI interns; CCI participants who are pursuing certification programs in specific technician areas such as HVAC, solar installer, etc. and CCI students who are getting an Associate's degree with the intention of pursuing a four-year degree. Both work on technologies, instrumentation projects, or in major research facilities supporting DOE's mission, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers.
Watch this video to learn what interns do at NREL.
CCI Start Dates and Terms
Fall term (August-December): 3rd Monday in August for 10-16 weeks or 400 hours
Spring term (January-May): 3rd Monday in January, for 10-16 weeks or 400 hours
Summer term (June-August): 1st Monday in June, for 10 weeks
Tips for CCI Program Participants
In addition to the participant obligations listed through the Office of Science, all selected NREL CCI and SULI participants should consider the following before arriving at NREL.
All flight arrangements will be made for you. Selected students are provided one round trip domestic travel to and from NREL, if permanent address is more than 50 miles from the laboratory.
Travel by a private automobile will be reimbursed at the current government rate up to a maximum of $500 or the cost of the lowest commercial airfare, whichever is lower.
Casual dress code is permitted at NREL, however when working in any laboratories, interns must wear long pants, shirts that cover the shoulders, and wear closed-toed shoes. High heels cannot be worn in the labs.
Interns must wear business attire for the poster session.
Men: dress slacks and button down shirt.
Women: dress slacks or dresses. Please, no jeans or flip-flops.
Poster Presentation, Reports, and Research Papers– research interns only
Research Papers: Optimizing growth conditions for 2D MoS2