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Summer Research Internships on the Mainland


Due to insufficient funds we will not be accepting applications for new 2008 or 2009 Mainland Internship cohort.
We will continue to be available to work with past interns.


What is Adaptive Optics?
Adaptive Optics (AO) is a method to sharpen the images produced by optical systems such as telescopes, cameras and the human eye. AO works by removing the distortions that blur these images. With AO, ground based telescopes can produce images that are as sharp as those produced from space and images of the eye can be produced that are sharper than any seen before.

Adaptive optics senses and corrects for distortions that produce the blurring seen in images. This blurring is due to distortions in the optical beam that are produced by the optics, and by the environment the optical system is in. In the case of astronomical telescopes, these distortions are produced by turbulence in the atmosphere and in the case of the human eye, they are produced by imperfections in the lens and fluid of the eye. While we can create perfect optical systems, we have not been able to compensate for distortions produced by the environment until the advent of adaptive optics.

What is the Center for Adaptive Optics?
The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) is one of the Science and Technology Centers funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The center is comprised of 11 institutions across the U.S. and its mission is to bring adaptive optics to maturity. Some scientists within the CfAO develop new astronomical techniques and instruments such as actuators and spectrographs, other focus on adaptive optics applications in vision science.

What is the Summer Research Internship Program?
The CfAO Research Internship Program offers community college students and undergraduates from four-year universities an opportunity to get involved in CfAO research. Each student is matched with a research advisor and is employed as a member of the advisor’s research group with daily guidance by a research supervisor. Every effort is made to match each student with a compatible research group, based on the student’s interest.

This program is an intensive eight-week research experience with an emphasis on adaptive optics science. The program provides opportunities at various CfAO sites over the summer. Additional activities and resources will be available to provide support during the academic year. The interns will start with a 5-day Short Course at UC Santa Cruz, then go to work at their internship site, and finally present their summer project at a student symposium held at UC Santa Cruz. Participants will also be eligible to apply to present their summer research at a national conference in the fall. Upon completion of the internship program, participants will be better prepared to pursue their educational and research career goals.

Where is it?                                        
Past internship opportunities have been available at:                                                  
California Institute of Technology, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories**, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Rochester.

**Security Clearance
Due to the confidential nature of the research done at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, interns will be subject to a security clearance including a background check on immigration status and criminal record. Interns who are placed at this sites will be asked to fill out specific security questionnaires prior to the summer of the internship.

*2007 Intern Profiles and Projects*

Will I get paid?
The CfAO will pay interns a $3000 stipend, plus housing, roundtrip travel from your home to the internship site, and travel for other scheduled activities.

Who is eligible?
This program is designed to target students who are interested in pursuing a career in science, engineering or technical fields. All students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and be at least 18 years old on 06-01-07. The CfAO is committed to increasing diversity in the sciences. Underrepresented groups (African American, Native American, Hispanics, Pacific Islander, women and persons with disabilities) are strongly encouraged to apply.

What is the program expectation?
Participants are expected to commit the entire eight weeks to the program. Students who are accepted are not permitted to work additional outside jobs, take classes or otherwise. Interns are expected to attend all scheduled activities and be active participants. At the end of the program each student is required to give an oral presentation on their summer research.

How can I apply?
Due to insufficient funds we will not be accepting applications for a new 2008 Mainland Internship cohort.

If you have questions please contact Hilary O'Bryan, 831-459-2676, hilary@ucolick.org.

Last Modified: Nov 10, 2008 

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