College Student Summer Internships

Photograph of three student interns lying on the ground underneath some solar panels that are placed on sawhorses.

Sandia interns mounting photovoltaic modules onto a sun tracker at the Crownpoint Institute of Technology.

Student Internship Program, 2002-2014

  • 31 undergraduate and graduate interns have participated in the Tribal Energy Program Student Internship Program (29 sponsored by the Tribal Energy Program; 2 sponsored by the DOE Office of Indian Energy)
  • 18 different tribal affiliations have been represented
  • 15 different student majors have been represented
  • 29% of interns were converted to year-round status (9 of 31)
  • 13% of interns were hired as full-time employees or Sandia contractors (4 of 31)
  • 55% of interns were female students hired based on merit and competitive selection process (17 out of 31)
Photograph of four student interns standing on a ridge with wind turbines in the background.

Field visit to New Mexico Wind Center — 2004 interns (pictured left to right): Benjamin Mar, Colin Ben, Deborah Tewa, and Jennifer Coots.

Current full-time technical undergraduates and graduate students—who are familiar with Native American culture and tribal issues—are needed to support projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. As student interns, they'll assist a cross-disciplinary team to perform specific technical tasks in the field and at Sandia National Laboratories.

Interns will interact with Sandia's renewable energy staff, Native American tribes interested in renewable systems, and Sandia's American Indian Outreach Committee. The program offers interns the opportunity for instant immersion in project planning and development activities working directly with experienced, internationally recognized energy experts. The work requires travel, including field visits to renewable energy project sites.


Current full-time technical undergraduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and graduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.5 are eligible to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, and Sandia National Laboratories will give preference to American Indian applicants who are members of a federally recognized Tribe, Alaska Native village, or Alaska Corporation (excludes state-recognized tribes; bands or groups; and first peoples of Guam or Hawaii). Specific interest in renewable energy is required.

Applicants must pass a pre-employment security check (local and federal law enforcement, driver's history, personal references, and education, credit, and employment checks).

Application Process

From 2015 forward, the internship program is being sponsored by the DOE Office of Indian Energy. For information on the internship application process, see the 2015 Summer Internship Program announcement or contact Sandra Begay-Campbell at 505-844-5418 or

Hands-On Experience

Over the course of the 12-week internship, interns will gain experience with some or all of the following renewable energy systems:

  • On-grid photovoltaic (PV) installations — New Mexico
  • Off-grid PV electricity system — Arizona and New Mexico
  • Off-grid PV/small wind hybrid system — Arizona, Utah (Navajo), and California (Ramona)
  • Large-scale commercial wind farm — New Mexico (Taiban Mesa)
  • Solar power tower — New Mexico (Sandia Labs)
  • Distributed energy resource systems: large PV array, microturbine, fuel cell, large battery bank — New Mexico (Sandia Labs).

Distributed energy resource systems: large PV array, microturbine, fuel cell, large battery bank — New Mexico (Sandia Labs).

See past student intern research reports.

Past Interns

Learn more about the college student interns from past summers, including their research papers, educational backgrounds, testimonials, and photos.

  • 2012: Nora Cata, Chelsea Chee, Colleen Cooley
  • 2011: Tammie Allen, Gepetta Billie, Chelsea Chee, and Devin Dick
  • 2010: Gepetta Billie, Joni Fuenmayor, Prestene Garnerez, and Logan Slock
  • 2009: Gepetta Billie, Prestene Garnerez, and Suzanne Singer
  • 2008: Gepetta Billie, Amanda Montoya, Carson Pete, and Suzanne Singer
  • 2007: Terry Battiest, Nick Johnson and Cherylin Wilson
  • 2006: Terry Battiest, Jonathan Biron, and Lani Tsinnajinnie
  • 2005: Jennifer Coots, Tanya Martinez, and Deborah Tewa
  • 2004: Colin Ben, Jennifer Coots, Benjamin Mar, and Deborah Tewa
  • 2003: Keith Candelaria, Velissa Sandoval, and Shaun Tsabetsaye
  • 2002: Deborah Tewa