NRL Naval Research Laboratory


Washington, DC


Natalie Sharp -

Operating Status Summer 2023:

Students will be able to participate virtually, on-site, or a hybrid of the two. Decisions for each student will be made on an individual basis at the discretion of the Mentor’s chain of command and will be based on the proposed work/project.

Student Requirements:

Students must be U.S. citizens. (Permanent residents are not eligible.)

About the Lab

The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is one of the largest scientific institutions within the US government. NRL provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country’s position of global naval leadership. Here, in an environment where the nation’s best scientists and engineers are inspired to pursue their passion, everyone is focused on research that yields immediate and long-range applications in the defense of the United States. As corporate research laboratory of the Navy, NRL conducts a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research in advanced technological development, techniques, systems, and related operational procedures.

About the Internship

Summer interns are provided with an environment that will foster their creativity, help them develop a problem-solving mindset, and give them the opportunity to participate in meaningful technical research. Additionally, they will gain experience in a professional workplace that specializes in STEM careers.

What will I do any given day as an intern at this lab?

Interns participate in lab functions in a number of ways including (but not limited to) assisting mentors with guided research projects; job and project shadowing with professional researchers; networking with STEM professionals and other interns; and attending technical meetings, seminars, and conferences.


The primary subjects of interest include:

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Marine Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Oceanography
  • Physics

What kinds of projects do interns at this lab participate in?

The Ocean Science Division conducts a research development test & evaluation (RDT&E) program in biological, chemical, dynamical, and physical processes of the open ocean; coastal and littoral areas; marine boundary layers; and marine geology, geophysics, geoacoustics, and mapping, charting and geodesy. The oceanographic research is both theoretical and experimental in nature and is focused on understanding and modeling ocean, coastal, and littoral area hydro/thermodynamics, circulation, waves, ice dynamics, air–sea exchange, optics, and small and microscale processes. Analytical methods and algorithms are developed to provide quantitative retrieval of geophysical parameters of Navy interest from state-of-the-art sensor systems. The Division work includes analysis of biological processes that mediate and control optical properties of the oceans, coastal, and littoral regions, and microbially induced corrosion. This includes investigations of basic processes within ocean basins, littoral regions and adjacent land areas, and arctic regions; development of models, sensors, and techniques; and the exploitation of this knowledge and technology to enhance Navy and Marine Corps systems, plans, and operations, and to meet national needs. As the Navy’s subject matter expert in the areas of geospatial information and services (GI&S), the Division provides technical support to the Oceanographer/Navigator of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the Tri-Service Community. NRL also contributes to the development of leading-edge geospatial technology by reviewing emerging GI&S standards and products. Transition of Division products to the Department of Defense, Navy systems developers, operational Navy, and civilian (dual use) programs is a primary goal. The Division’s programs are coordinated and interactive with other NRL programs and activities, Office of Naval Research programs, and other government agencies involved in oceanographic activities. The Division also collaborates and cooperates with scientists from the academic community and other U.S. and foreign laboratories.

There is one branch of NRL’s Acoustics Division at Stennis Space Center that conducts basic and applied research addressing the physics of acoustic signal generation, propagation, scatter, and detection with the objective of improving the strategic and tactical capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps in the ocean and land operational environment.