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Opportunity for USA Undergraduate Students to Participate in a Summer Earth Science Internship Program

The Student Airborne Research Program (SARP)

GrantWatch ID# 199952
Agency: Foundation

Funding Source
Bay Area Environmental Research Institute - NASA Airborne Science Program
Array ( )

Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Conference Date: 01/11/23
Deadline: 01/30/23 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time

Grant Description
Opportunity for USA junior undergraduate students to participate in a summer internship program related to earth sciences. Selected students will receive a cash stipend and gain first-hand research experience using a research aircraft to collect data during the eight-week program. Eligible research areas include atmospheric chemistry, air quality, forest ecology, and ocean biology.

The Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) is an eight-week summer internship program for rising senior undergraduate students. Participants will acquire hands-on research experience in all aspects of a scientific campaign using one or more NASA Airborne Science Program flying science laboratories, including flying onboard a research aircraft and engage with ground observations and satellite data.

The NASA Airborne Science Program maintains a fleet of aircraft used for studying Earth system processes, calibration/validation of space-borne observations, and prototyping instruments for possible satellite missions. SARP participants will assist in the operation of instruments onboard an aircraft to sample atmospheric gases, and/or to image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands.

Research areas include atmospheric chemistry, air quality, forest ecology, and ocean biology. Along with airborne data collection, students will participate in taking measurements at field sites. The program culminates with formal presentations of research results and conclusions.

Outstanding faculty, mentors and staff are drawn from several universities and NASA centers, as well as from NASA flight operations and engineering. Program faculty will present detailed information on their research. Faculty and mentors will then guide participants through instrument and flight preparations, data analysis, and interpretation.

Student selection process is based on the following selection criteria:

  • Evidence of interest in Earth System Science research
  • Leadership qualities and ability to perform in teams
  • Particular focus will be on students from a STEM background
  • Academic achievement


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Criteria for Eligibility
Only current Juniors (rising Seniors in Summer 2023) are eligible to apply. Applicants must be enrolled full-time at an accredited four-year U.S. college or university. Applicants must be US citizens.

Applicants must have a strong academic background in any of the physical, chemical, or biological sciences, mathematics or engineering and an interest in applying their background to the study of the Earth system. Applications are especially encouraged from students majoring in Earth, environmental or atmospheric sciences and related disciplines.

Students from academic institutions with limited research opportunities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Graduate students are not eligible for SARP.

U.S. Permanent Residents are not eligible to apply to SARP.

Pre-Proposal Conference
A virtual Q&A Informational Session will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2022 1300 MST (1500 EST/ 1200 PST). All prospective and interested applicants are welcome to join. Several SARP alumni will be presenting to speak on their experience in the program and NASA personnel will be present to answer any clarifying questions.

Join the information session:
- When: Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 1300 MST (1500 EST/1200 PST)
- Where: Hybrid (Renaissance Denver Lobby) / Virtual – Microsoft Teams meeting
- Who: All potential and interested applicants

For the virtual session, click here to open the meeting:

For information, please see the document listed (second) in Supporting Documents below.

To register:

For questions, email:

Pre-Application Information
Deadline: 5PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday January 30, 2023

Two (2) recommendation letters are required to complete your application. Please note that one of your recommendation letters must be from an academic reference at your institution. More than 2 will not be reviewed. It is your responsibility to make sure that your reference sends in their recommendation letter. All references should be emailed directly by the recommender themself before the deadline.

The selection committee may feel that it may be necessary to conduct phone interviews prior to final selection.

Please note the following:
- Students in SARP are expected to assist in the installation and operation of scientific instruments onboard a research platform (e.g. aircraft ship) as well as at remote ground field sites. Students should be willing and able to work in confined spaces, in occasionally uncomfortable situations (heat, cold, dealing with motion sickness), and lift up to 40 pounds for short durations.
- Upon acceptance into the program, SARP participants will need to complete a medical evaluation by the NASA Flight surgeon. This is required in order to fly on board NASA research aircraft. Please note that the inability to obtain flight clearance due to medical reasons will not disqualify a student from the program, nor will it affect the student’s success within the program.

Estimated Size of Grant
Participants will be awarded a stipend ($6,000) as well as funding to cover their travel. Housing and transportation will also be provided during the eight-week program.

Term of Contract
The Program will take place from June 4, 2023 through August 12, 2023.

Contact Information
To apply online:

All references should be emailed directly by the recommender to

For questions, please contact SARP Program Manager, Ryan Bennett at the above email.

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