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Student Training in Applied Research (STAR) Program Undergraduate Internship - Hydrogen Plasma Reduction of Iron Ore

🚀 Off-cycle Internship


🤑 $34K - $54.4K
⌛ Closed
Applications are closed

Off-cycle Internship



  • NREL’s STAR undergraduate internship program aims to bridge gaps in education, research, and public service to create career pathways for undergraduate students and build long-term partnerships with minority-serving institutions (MSI) to deliver collaborative research and educational opportunities. This is a yearlong program that provides undergraduate students from MSIs a unique introduction to hands-on research in the clean energy industry.


  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student
  • Must have completed one year of course work towards a bachelor’s degree by the beginning of this internship
  • Must attend one of the STAR program affiliated minority-serving institutions:
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Southern University and A&M College
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Texas El Paso
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Howard University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Florida International University
  • Spellman College
  • Must have identified a committed faculty mentor at university who will offer support and guidance for the entirety of this year-long program
  • Must submit with this application a cover letter and faculty letter of recommendations following the guidelines included in this job description
  • Must commit to the year-long STAR program (10 week summer internship at NREL and 8 months of follow-on work during the academic year).* Must meet educational requirements prior to employment start date.
  • Additional Required Qualifications:
  • Applicant must have demonstrated interest in research, clean energy technology and collaborative work.
  • One university faculty member per student applicant is invited to support the year-long program through mentorship (specifically during the follow-on work period). Through this program, faculty mentors gain unique connections to NREL that can act as a pathway to sustained research engagement and their universities will be part of a distinguished cohort of schools who are building bridges to NREL for their students and faculty.
  • Preferred Qualifications:
  • Basic knowledge of arc discharges and plasma; and have a curious mindset.

Education requirements


Area of Responsibilities



  • The student will work on experimentation related to fundamental science principles underlying plasma smelting of iron ore with the goal of decarbonizing the steel sector.
  • Experimentally, the student will perform measurements of representative iron ore samples placed in a hydrogen-rich non-thermal plasma environment. The student will change relevant plasma parameters, including the dilution media (hydrogen diluted in argon, or in nitrogen), the partial pressure, and the applied voltage. Using optical emission spectroscopy, the student will analyze the plasma discharge and work with the team at NREL and Arizona State who will analyze samples before and after certain plasma treatments.
  • The students will participate in group meetings and will be encouraged to present their research in a group meeting.

Application process

  • Cover Letter (Student):
  • The student cover letter should outline:
  • Any relevant work or research experience.
  • Any coursework related to the specific research project.
  • The student's interest and reasoning for applying to this internship.
  • A brief paragraph explaining (i) how they intend to apply this research experience to the follow-on work during the academic year alongside their faculty mentor and (ii) the relationship they intend to build with the faculty and NREL mentors with respect to the research interests related to this internship. Please consult your committed faculty mentor on this piece.
  • For students who have a GPA under a 3.0 at the time of application, we offer them the space to provide context around their academic journey (for example, highlighting extraneous personal circumstances or insight into additional makers of academic success/growth).
  • Letter of Recommendation (Faculty):
  • The faculty recommendation letter should outline:
  • Any strengths or potential they identify in the student.
  • Their approach to mentorship and the role they intend to fill as a faculty mentor in the STAR program.
  • A paragraph outlining how their research interests align with specific internship their student is applying to.
  • A brief paragraph explaining (i) how they intend to apply this research experience to the student’s follow-on work during the academic year and (ii) the relationship they intend to build with the student and NREL mentor with respect to the research interests related to this internship. Please consult your committed student mentee on this piece.


Work type

Full time

Work mode





34000 - 54400 USD