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 internships, they are eligible for further NAC activities as NAC alumni. Relationships that began as an 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.

Benefits include:

  • 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 Application

NAC students receive a great many benefits from the program including peer relationships, long-term mentoring, professional development, and financial support.

The application portal will be open between ~November 1, 2022 and ~January 31, 2023.  Offers will be made ~March 2, 2023 for summer, 2023 research opportunities.

Important Notes for Application:

  • If students wish to express a site preference order, within the NRAO application linked below, please do so within the text box under “If you have any special instructions or comments, please enter them here.” Stated preferences will be used when possible but will not exclude applicants from consideration for other sites
  • Please also submit applications to UW-Madison, STScI, and MSU. The NAC application submitted to the NRAO portal is the one used to determine acceptance into the NAC program, however applying to these partner sites ensure that if selected for the NAC program, students are already established within their systems.
Link to Application Portal
Apply Now!

The NAC program is designed to welcome and support students typically underrepresented in STEM fields and who may be overlooked by programs with traditional standards for admission. You should apply if 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
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 orientation and prep meetups 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 virtual weekly NAC group meetings for professional development and cohort building activities
  • Participate in on-site weekly NAC group meeting with your site cohort and NAC site lead

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 monthly NAC group meetings

In the Winter

  • Present your poster at AAS or SACNAS

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. 

We plan for most NAC sites to host in-person programs, but non-NRAO sites will make individual decisions based on their location. We will be prepared for a remote research experience if necessary.

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
  • Finalists may be contacted via email for an interview and/or recorded video introduction 
  • Selected NAC interns are typically notified by early March

Potential Partner Sites include:

  • NRAO-Charlottesville and the NRAO Central Development Lab
  • NRAO-Socorro
  • Michigan State University
  • Princeton University 
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Space Telescope Science Institute
NAC Alum Support

NAC Alum(!) Danielle, the NAC grad alums, and the rest of the ODI team are here to support your progress from coursework to your career. This page will be a landing site for useful resources– from poster printing to study programs, and to job opportunities.

NAC Site Information

These pages include information for all summer NRAO REU students. Some information on these pages is NOT applicable to NAC students, particularly the information about housing and payment.