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    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking undergraduate students to serve as guest researchers  for the 2019 cohort of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The SURF Program is designed to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission. To learn more about the program, visit https://www.nist.gov/surf

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    The SURF Program provides research opportunities for students to work with internationally known NIST scientists, to expose them to cutting-edge research and promote the pursuit of graduate degrees in science and engineering. The program is scheduled to occur May 28, 2019 through August 9, 2019.  Duties of participants accepted into the program may include

    • Working under the guidance of a NIST Research Mentor in ongoing research topics including but not limited to biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, physics, and/or statistics.  
    • Attending a weekly technical seminar series
    • Participating in extramural group activities intended to enrich their fellowship experience
    • Composing and submitting an abstract half-way through the program summarizing research accomplishments
    • Delivering an oral presentation during the final week of the program

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


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    Conditions Of Employment

    • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident.
    • Registered with the Selective Service, if a male born after 12-31-1959
    • Subject to pre-employment and random drug tests
    • Direct Deposit is required
    • Only experience and education obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.


    MINIMUM QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants must meet the qualification requirements outlined below to be considered minimally qualified for this position. ALL QUALIFICATIONS MUST BE MET BY THE CLOSING DATE OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT.

    • Interest in conducting hands-on scientific research.
    • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident.
    • Current enrolled undergraduate (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) at a 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education in the U.S. or its territories at the time of application. Graduating seniors may apply to the program and must be a registered undergraduate at the time of application.
    • Majoring in a STEM related discipline including but not limited to biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, and/or physics.
    • Considering pursuing a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.). 
    • Commit to eleven (11) full continuous weeks, or a minimum of nine (9) full weeks  (Monday through Friday) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., during the summer of 2019, to participate in the SURF Program.  Due to the length of the program, students are not permitted to take vacation. 


    • Required to be an undergraduate majoring in a STEM discipline such as biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering (including nuclear), materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, and/or physics
    • You MUST provide transcripts or other documentation to support your educational claims. Unless otherwise stated: (1) unofficial transcripts are acceptable, or (2) you may submit a list with all of your courses, grades, semester, year, and credit for the course. All materials must be submitted by the closing date of the announcement.

    Additional information

    • If selected, you are required to complete a background investigation suitability check and pre-employment drug screening.
    • Males born after 12-31-1959 must be registered or exempt from Selective Service (see http://www.sss.gov/)

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this appointment based on how well you meet the previously indicated qualifications.

    Once the announcement has closed, your questionnaire responses and supporting documents will be used to determine if you meet the qualifications listed on this announcement. If you are minimally qualified, questionnaire responses and supporting documents will be forwarded to your first and second choice laboratories preferences for additional review. Note: The number of offers to participate in the program are contingent upon the availability of funds and projects in the host laboratories.

    Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

    • Fit of the undergraduate student’s stated interest and commitment to the program priorities of NIST  and objectives of the SURF Program.
    • Fit of the undergraduate student’s interests and abilities to the available NIST research projects and when appropriate, to the research priorities of NIST scientists and engineers in the specified laboratory program.
    • Relevance of the student’s course of study to the program objectives of the specified NIST laboratory in which that SURF Program resides
    • Evaluation of academic accomplishments. Note: A cumulative minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is recommended for all completed courses taken as a undergraduate student at the current institution and at any institutions attended as an undergraduate student during the 5 years preceding the start of the most recent enrollment. (This does not include college or university courses taken while solely a high school student.)
    • Quality of research accomplishments to date.
    • Assessment of whether the laboratory experience is an opportunity for the student which may encourage future postgraduate training.

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Not Required

    Drug test required


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    Required Documents

    In addition to the questionnaire, the following are required to be attached as supporting documents in the vacancy announcement. 

    1. Two (2) letters of recommendation from individuals (preferably professors, department heads, previous internship mentor, or academic adviser)  familiar with the applicant’s education, training, experience, aptitude, or promise relevant to the SURF Program are suggested. 

    2. Resume which includes professional and research experience. 

    3. One (1) copy of undergraduate transcript (an unofficial copies are acceptable). Submitted transcripts must have all Social Security numbers and/or dates of birth removed (blanked out, blackened out, made illegible, etc.) prior to uploading into the application system. 

    4. Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency status.  Acceptable form of proof of U.S. Citizenship includes, but is not limited to, a Certified Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Consular Report of Birth (of U.S. citizen) Abroad, or Certification of Birth. Lawful Permanent Residents must have a current United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551).

    5.Proof of health insurance coverage by including a copy of a valid insurance card. 

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    To apply for this position, you must complete the online application and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below.

    The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on the closing date of the announcement to receive consideration.

    • To begin, click Apply to access the online application. You will need to be logged into your USAJOBS account to apply. If you do not have a USAJOBS account, you will need to create one before beginning the application.
    • Follow the prompts to select your supporting documents to be included with your application package. You will have the opportunity to upload additional documents to include in your application before it is submitted. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.
    • After acknowledging you have reviewed your application package, complete the Include Personal Information section as you deem appropriate and click to continue with the application process.
    • You will be taken to the online application which you must complete in order to apply for the position. Complete the online application, verify the required documentation is included with your application package, and submit the application.

    To verify the status of your application, log into your USAJOBS account
    (https://my.usajobs.gov/Account/Login), all of your applications will appear on the Welcome screen. The Application Status will appear along with the date your application was last updated. For information on what each Application Status means, visit:https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/how-to/application/status/.

    It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that information entered and uploaded, (i.e., resume, transcript, verification of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, proof of health insurance, and completed assessment) is received and accurate. Additionally, applications must have a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

    In order to be considered, you must complete the required on-line questionnaire and submit the required documents by 11:59 PM at the close of the announcement. Applications submitted successfully will receive a control number. If you do not receive a control number, then your application was not submitted.

    Note: Paper applications will not be accepted. 

    Agency contact information

    Dr. Brandi Toliver








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    Mail Stop 1090
    Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899
    United States
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    Next steps

    An initial review of applications received by the closing date will be conducted to determine the undergraduate student's eligibility and application completeness.  Applications determined to be ineligible, incomplete, and/or non-responsive based will be eliminated from further review. 

    Applications that are determined to be eligible, complete, and responsive will proceed for reviews by NIST employees or associates who are knowledgeable in the scientific areas of the program.  

    All applicants will be notified by e-mail of their application status by April 15, 2019.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/524754700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.