Smithsonian Science Education Center Internship Program

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) works to improve the teaching and learning of science for K-12 students throughout the United States, and ultimately, throughout the world.  It develops innovative new curriculum, conducts Summer Science Academies for Teachers at the Smithsonian museums and labs, and fosters science education leadership among school and community leaders.

*We encourage you to look through our website and learn more about us before you apply. The SSEC is not a physical laboratory and we do not provide any scientific research or museum education internships.


SSEC Summer 2019 Interns!

See what some of our amazing interns had to say about working with SSEC this summer. 


Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education

Image of Douglas M. Lapp, the first Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center, now named the Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education is funded through an endowed fund in honor of Douglas M. Lapp, the first Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), now named the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). 

Awardees of the Lapp Endowment Internship are appointed based on a demonstrated interest in the field of science education.                              

Internships are available for graduate students only who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, marketing, or public relations fields.

For more information about this internship, click here.


Smithsonian Science Education Center Internships


Eligibility for Interns

As there are a wide range of opportunities for learning, SSEC accepts applications from students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, as well as high school students (at least 16 years old).  The SSEC is actively seeking a diverse applicant pool.  The internship lasts for 10 weeks, which is flexible on the start and end dates determined by the student.  All interns must successfully complete a Federal background check before their internship begins.  We are located in a secured office building which is handicap accessible.

Application Deadline

SSEC will start accepting applications for the summer 2020 internship class on January 1, 2020. The deadline for all applications is March 15, 2020. 

Your application must include:
1. Resume or CV
2. Writing Sample
3. Three references from supervisors, teachers, or professors who have observed you in the classroom or workplace.

Application and Selection Process

To apply, go to the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).  You will create an account at this site. After you have created an account, you can begin your application and select your first, second and third choice of program areas of your interest (see program descriptions below).  Your application will be automatically submitted from the SOLAA site to SSEC for consideration.  Do not send any application materials directly to SSEC! 

Your application will be reviewed by the staff at SSEC.  You can view your application status in SOLAA at any time.  After complete applications have been reviewed, only selected candidates will be contacted by telephone for a phone interview.  Please submit your best work for a complete application!

Science Education Program Areas for Interns

1. Professional Services Division

2. Curriculum and Communications Division

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for SSEC internships?

What is the deadline for applications?

How many internship positions are available?

Is there a stipend?

Where will the internship be located?

Will interns be allowed to telecommute?

What are the work hours?

What should I include in my writing sample?

My school requires me to do an internship for graduation. Can I do an internship for credit?

I am an international student, can I still apply?

How can I learn more about all Smithsonian Institution internships?

For questions about SSEC internship opportunities, please contact Angela Pritchett, Internship Coordinator, at 202-633-2284 or

Typical Assignment for Interns at SSEC

Professional Services

The Professional Services Division of the SSEC works to transform science education by building partnerships with community stakeholders and assisting regions, districts, and schools as they plan for and implement comprehensive inquiry-based science programs. This division designs and implements courses for K-12 science teachers and teacher leaders, and engages educators at all levels from classroom teachers to superintendents, as well as academic institutions, corporations, and foundations. Student interns will learn by participating with the Professional Services staff to:

  • prepare materials for workshops, institutes and events
  • organize courses for teachers at Smithsonian Institution museums
  • attend and facilitate courses, institutes and events
  • conduct online research
  • research and assist with grant writing
  • prepare mailings and marketing materials

Experience in science, science education, or teaching is an advantage.  Interest in science is essential.  Internet and Microsoft Office skills required, as well as a willingness to perform a wide range of tasks.  

Sample Summer Opportunities (May–September; Students must intern for 10 weeks):

  • Assist with the revision and updating of materials for professional and leadership development events promoting science education reform
  • Attend and assist with the facilitation of Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
  • Assist in the planning of logistics for upcoming events
  • Research new resources (articles, books, reports, etc.) in science education
  • Organize and assemble participant materials for events
  • Interact with teachers to provide course information
  • Interact with scientists, researchers, and experts in science education to research, plan and support summer programming
  • Attend and provide on-site support as needed at local events and events across the country (for age 18+ only)
  • Digitize and analyze participant evaluations from summer programming
  • Other opportunities as they arise

Curriculum and Communications

The Curriculum & Communications Division produces and maintains high-quality, educational materials that include Smithsonian Science for the Classroom science curriculum units in the life, earth, and physical sciences for grades K-12 and a series of science reading resources, STC Literacy Series™, that complement our STC Program™.  We also develop, update, and maintain the SSEC website and new digital initiatives.  Interns can learn by assisting in our efforts to:

  • Write, edit, perform photo research, and/or create databases to track development and revision of our educational materials
  • Assist in work on the website, including development of new web components
  • Aid in digital asset management of photos and documents
  • Perform image and document scanning, cataloging, and metadata assignments
  • Promote SSEC through social media
  • Author blog posts about inquiry and science education
  • Write lessons plans or teaching strategies to be shared on our newly launched website
  • Conduct computer-assisted drafting of 3D models that could be used in science education (fossils, animals, airplanes, etc.,)

Experience working in an IT environment, writing, editing, proofreading, conducting photo research, computer-assisted drafting, blogging/ journalism and/or working with spreadsheets and databases is helpful, but not required.

  • Photo research
  • Media research on Smithsonian resources to be used in new and revised curriculum units
  • Research on best practices in science education
  • Research standards related to next-generation science
  • Contribute original lesson plans or teaching strategies to SSEC blog
  • Author blog posts of interest in STEM education
  • Use CAD software to design 3D models useful in science education
  • Do curriculum development and revision (write, edit, and proofread as part of a team of writers, editors, education specialists and scientists.)

How do I apply for SSEC internships? If you are interested in a position, please go to the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). You will need to create an account at this site. After you have created an account, you can begin your application, which will be automatically submitted from the SOLAA site to the SSEC for consideration. You will be able to upload the required documents (resume or CV, writing sample, three references from supervisors or teachers) to your application online.You will be notified of your status through SOLAA after your materials have been reviewed

What is the deadline for applications? Friday, March 15, 2020. Please check the SOLAA site in January 2020 to begin your application!

How many internship positions are available? We have a limited number of positions available each summer. It’s best to apply before the deadline to be considered.  

Is there a stipend? A modest stipend will be provided to interns. Let us know if you need to obtain credit or volunteer service hours. The SSEC does not support travel and housing expenses

Where will the internship be located? The Smithsonian Science Education Center is located near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station on the green/yellow and orange/blue/silver lines in Washington, DC. Our offices are at the following address:
901 D St., SW, Suite 704B
Washington DC, 20024

Will interns be allowed to telecommute? All of our internship projects require interns to work on-site at the SSEC offices.

What are the work hours? A typical work schedule at the SSEC is either from 8:30am - 5:00pm or from 9:00am - 5:30pm Monday through Friday.  Our program requires students to be here for ten weeks and require a full-time commitment of forty hours per week. We encourage full-time participation, but we will work with you to accommodate reasonable time commitments.

What should I include in my writing sample? The writing sample is a required component of this application process. We will accept writing samples ranging from personal essays to a paper you wrote in school. Feel free to expand on your previous experience, or even to use a well-thought-out cover letter as your writing sample.

If, however, you are applying for a position that involves technical writing, it might be in your best interest to demonstrate your abilities in that specific writing style. Finally, if you are interested in a graphic design or web position, feel free to request that you be able to substitute a sample of your artwork instead of a writing sample.

My school requires me to do an internship for graduation. Can I do an internship for credit? Some universities, such as The George Washington University, already have established programs with the Smithsonian. In such cases, the transition to an internship for credit should be relatively easy. Where such programs do not exist, we will work with you and your school to determine whether our internship fulfills the requirements for your specific institution.

I am international student, can I still apply? What do you receive from your school that states you have permission to take an internship?If you have an international advisor at your school, have they been notified by you that you are applying for internships?Does your school have requirements that you must follow before applying for any jobs or internships?

This information is really important and it will direct our steps in making sure that we can proceed with your application correctly.  Most schools provide students with a CPT - Curricular Practical Training, if you receive an internship. You would be considered eligible to work in the U.S. provided the internship is related to your major/minor. You would then get a letter from your academic advisor and send it to the International Center at your school. They will then process it for you and issue a CPT card to you which will be attached to your I-20 (F-1 Visa). You will only need to show your school's International Center the appointment letter from the SSEC stating you have received an internship.Speak with your international advisor and ask what you need to do before you apply.

How can I learn more about all Smithsonian internship opportunities? For more information about all Smithsonian internships, go to the Office of Fellowships and Internships home page