The goal of the National Astronomy Consortium (NAC) is to increase the number of students, often under-served by the traditional academic pipeline, in STEM and STEM careers by placing them in a cooperative, diverse team over the summer and beyond.
NAC is a competitive program for undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents, and are enrolled in an accredited U.S. undergraduate program, including community college programs. Any college student from first to final year can apply, but students in their 2nd or 3rd year will likely be the most prepared, and benefit the most from the experience.
Once NAC students complete their summer internship, they are eligible for further NAC activities as NAC alumni. Relationships begun undergrad can continue through to graduate school and career.
In a program year, NAC students participate in the following activities*:
- Spring- Winter: Regular face-to-face and/or Zoom meetings with their NAC cohort and class
- Summer 8-12 week research projects
- Conversations and activities in support of social justice
- Professional development and preparation for graduate school and career
- Fall semester continuation of research project in collaboration with their home faculty member and NAC mentor
- October NAC workshop in Washington, DC, to meet with peers, and develop their poster proposal to AAS
- January AAS poster presentation
*Dates/location may change due to the status of COVID mitigation efforts.
- Access to research opportunities
- Mentor/mentee relationships with scientists and ODI staff
- Peer support network
- Poster presentation at AAS
- Financial support including internship stipend, fee waivers, and travel expenses
- Professional development and paid opportunities
- Long term access to alumni benefits
NAC students receive a great many benefits from the program including peer relationships, long-term mentoring, professional development, and financial support.
NAC is open to students who might be wrongfully overlooked using the standard qualifications. You should apply if you any of the following is true about you.
- You are excited about exploring astronomy and STEM research and careers
- You are part of a demographic underrepresented in astronomy and STEM
- You are attending a school without many research opportunities
- You are the first member of your family to attend college
- You have exhibited grit and perseverance
This program is built for you to succeed and to further your educational and career opportunities.
Once you’re accepted, you will:
in the Spring
- Communicate with your NAC mentor
- Participate in weekly orientation and prep meet ups with your NAC site cohort and NAC class
- Secure housing (if needed)
in the Summer
- Conduct research at your cohort site with support from your NAC mentor
- Participate in weekly NAC group meetings
in the Fall
- Attend the NAC workshop in Washington, DC in October
- Continue your research with your home faculty member and NAC mentor
- Prepare a poster for the winter AAS meeting
- Participate in month NAC group meetings
in the Winter
- Present your poster at AAS
We recognize that an exciting aspect of summer research experiences is the opportunity to visit the research site and to interact with the other students.
The NAC program will continue operating remotely in Summer 2021.
About the NAC Application and Selection Process
- Typically applications are open from early December to early February
- Applicants can ask to be placed at a particular NAC site, but they are not guaranteed that placement
- Selected NAC interns are typically notified by early March
Potential Partner Sites include:
- NRAO-Charlottesville and the NRAO Central Development Lab
- Michigan State University
- Princeton University
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
NAC Workshops Archive
Since 2013, NAC holds annual workshops for students, scientists, and the supportive NRAO ODI community at the AAS conference. View the archive websites of 2013 to 2020 here: https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/student-programs/nac/workshops
Since 2015, NAC holds fall workshops in Washington DC for students to prepare for the AAS conference. View the archive websites here: https://info.nrao.edu/do/odi/do/odi/meetings/
NAC Alum Support
NAC Alum! Lyndele, CORE, and the rest of the ODI team are here to support your progress through coursework to career. This page will be landing site for useful resources– from poster printing, to study programs, and to job opportunities.