http://nrel.gov

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Science Undergraduate Research Intern

June - August 2022 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Overall, the best part about NREL is the community. Everyone, from your mentor to someone you will randomly meet in the hallway, is so open to providing help and answering questions. Yes, you are assigned one project for the internship period, but that doesn't mean you won't have the opportunity to learn about all the other amazing things going on at NREL. I cannot recommend this place more.

What I wish was different

Meeting other interns was sometimes difficult.

Advice

You have the opportunity to interact with and learn about some of the most cutting-edge and groundbreaking research there is. Apply no matter what background you come from. There is something at NREL for everybody.
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Mechanical Engineer Intern

June - August 2021 • Las Vegas, NV

What I liked

Collaborative and supportive environment, good work-life balance, opportunity to learn and grow, pension plan, 403b, and tuition assistance options for permanent employees.

What I wish was different

Nothing so far.

Advice

Do not be afraid to take on new tasks or projects that put you outside of your comfort zone. That is where the real learning/growth happens.
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SULI

June - August 2021 • Golden, CO

What I liked

I was given a unique opportunity to work on a very interdisciplinary project that allowed me to gain experience collaborating with many professionals. I was also given more of a sense of autonomy than I would have expected from an internship, and the extra responsibility was rewarding.

What I wish was different

I wish there was less of a focus on scientific literature, but given that it is a research internship that seems counterproductive.

Advice

Do your best to speak to people you see every day. Build a foundation for future interactions with them, because they are all highly-educated and knowledgeable.
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Student Undergraduate Labratory Intern

June 2021 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Great experience working on cutting edge technology , specifically wave energy converters. They had a great professional development program and really supported me when I was learning how to write a research paper.

What I wish was different

Advice

Do it! I know the writing and poster presentation can be intimidating, but it is worth it to work and meet such a passionate community.
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Statistics Intern

June - August 2021 • Colorado Springs, CO

What I liked

The people, the environment, my mentors, and other aspects.

What I wish was different

I wish it had been in-person.

Advice

I would recommend networking with as many people who work there as possible. They are all very inspiring.
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Summer Research Intern

June - August 2020 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Positive Respectable Mission

What I wish was different

the Virtual experience made me feel isolated and made interacting with coworkers difficult.

Advice

Your experience is what you make of it. NREL offers a lot of learning opportunities and has immense resources that should be taken advantage of.
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Computer Hardware Engineering Intern

May - August 2019 • Golden, CO

What I liked

I liked that it was a good experience learning more about circuit boards because it expanded my knowledge of microcontrollers and relays.

What I wish was different

I wish that my mentor would have taught me a little bit more about my project because I feel like I had to figure out a lot of stuff on my own based on past interns’ notes.

Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask your mentor questions and help.
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Chemistry Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Golden, CO

What I liked

It was a great place to work, and I was surrounded by amazing people.

What I wish was different

Advice

Take advantage of all the time you have, because the summer is short.
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Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Intern

June - August 2019 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Incredible National laboratory to work at, cutting edge research being conducted in every building at NREL. Amazing people, culture and atmosphere at work. Great work/life balance

What I wish was different

Better pay, longer internship, more cross-discipline collaboration

Advice

Live with other interns, explore colorado, get out of your comfort zone and have fun!
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Mechanical Engineering Intern

May 2019 • Golden, CO

What I liked

New environment. Too notch high end facility.

What I wish was different

More exposure to other lab’s research at NREL

Advice

Go to as many events hosted by NREL as you can for fun and for networking.
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Robotics Engineering Intern

June - August 2019 • Boulder, CO

What I liked

I liked that I was able to explore a new place and get more hands-on experience with a really cool project that is relevant to my career field.

What I wish was different

I wish they would have given me a project that was able to be completed within 10 weeks. I was able to reach a significant milestone, starting a project from ground zero, but was not able to get as far as I would have liked.

Advice

I would say to be familiar with CAD software, programming languages, how electronics operate, and be knowledgeable about how control systems work. Of course you will learn on the job, but having prior knowledge in the area is a significant boon to how much you can get done.
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Biochemistry Intern

July 2018 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Federally regulated research on hot research topics with inspirational, passionate, and honorable senior scientists. I am always motivated to critically think and come up with creative ways to continue research.

What I wish was different

n/a

Advice

There's always room for more knowledge, improvement, and growth.
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Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship

June - August 2018 • Golden, CO

What I liked

I enjoyed working in a professional laboratory while having one on one interaction and mentoring from an expert in the solar industry.

What I wish was different

I wish there was more opportunity to learn and work on multiple projects instead of just one for the whole internship.

Advice

I encourage everyone to talk with as many professionals in their work environment as possible. There are so many incredible experts working at NREL who have a passion for teaching and make great mentors.
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Research Intern

June - August 2018 • Golden, CO

What I liked

The atmosphere of NREL was amazing - lots of very smart people doing very cool things, but without being pretentious or overworked. There was a good work/life cultural balance. I also had a lot of independence with my project as well as a lot of support.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have had a predetermined avenue of publishing, because after I left my report was still up in the air of how/when/where it was going to get published and I was no longer there to advocate for it.

Advice

Apply, even if you're not sure you're qualified.
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Chemistry Research Intern

January - August 2018 • Golden, CO

What I liked

Clear project outline. Huge laboratory campus. The amount of insanely interesting research going on.

What I wish was different

I wish they had helped us find housing.

Advice

Reach out to lab groups/PI you're interested in, far before you plan to apply.
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Software Engineering Intern

April 2017 • Golden, CO

What I liked

I liked that I was challenged to the utmost of my abilities. Failure seemed like a real possibility at times but I managed to find a way to do what I was asked to do and it helped me grow a lot. Also I love the campus NREL has in Golden, it's really "high tech" feeling and it's a wonderful atmosphere - the people are all highly educated and passionate about finding better renewable energy sources or efficiencies. It really feels like a great mission.

What I wish was different

I would like to have had more senior software developer mentoring, and also I would like to have met more of my coworkers.

Advice

I would say that during an internship you should be enthusiastic and ready to learn. Come to the table with a "sense of ownership" on what they're entrusting you with. And have fun.
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