2021 Summer NAC Application


The National Astronomy Consortium (NAC) is a competitive program for undergraduate students (1st-beginning 4th year) who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and are enrolled in an accredited U.S. undergraduate program (including community college).

The NAC program is intended to increase the number of underrepresented minority students and women entering, and remaining in, STEM areas that support the field of astronomy (e.g., science, engineering, computing, EPO, and more), by providing research experiences, long-term mentoring, and cohort support. Summer research experiences range from 8-12 weeks, and take place at one of the NAC partner sites. For more information, see go.nrao.edu/nac.

About the 2021 Summer Program

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 do not yet know if in-person research experiences will be possible in Summer 2021, but we do expect to be able to offer virtual experiences again. Hopefully, we will be able to inform selected students about the nature of the summer program (in person or virtual) when decisions are made in March, 2021.

About the NAC Application and Selection Process

Interested students should follow these steps to apply for a 2021 NAC Internship:

  1. Apply through the NRAO Summer Student Application Portal as soon as possible after December 8, 2020, but no later than February 1, 2021.
  2. Important: The application form asks you to select a site for the internship; please choose "Charlottesville, VA." If you have a preference for one of the partner sites (see #3), please let us know in the Essay portion of the application package.
  3. In 2021, the NAC sites will be:
    • NRAO-Charlottesville and the NRAO Central Development Lab
    • NRAO-Socorro
    • Michigan State University
    • Princeton University (for more information contact )
    • Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  4. If your application is selected for final review, you will be contacted with a request for more information in early/mid-February.
  5. Selected NAC interns will be notified by March 1, 2021.

Ready to apply? Please re-read the instructions above, then click here:


Information about the 2021 NAC Program:

  • NAC cohorts consist of 2-4 students, at each site, who are paired with individual mentors. NAC students are typically also an integral part of their research site's REU programs.
  • NAC students are paid a competitive stipend for the summer research experience (the exact amount will vary by site but it is comparable to the site's REU program.)
  • The NAC experience includes a summer research project for the students but also engages the students over the entire academic year as follows:
    • Once selected for the program, the students will meet and interact with their NAC cohort and the entire NAC 2021 class virtually (using Zoom), and prepare for the summer research. This orientation will take place about 8 weeks before arrival at the cohort site.
    • While at the cohort sites, students will participate in the weekly NAC group meetings and NAC events.¬†
    • Following the summer experience, the students will be invited to the NAC workshop (hopefully, to take place in October, 2021, in Washington DC). Expenses are covered by the NAC program.
    • Over the fall semester, the students are expected to continue their research at their home institution in collaboration with their home faculty member and the NAC mentor, and prepare a poster for presentation at the winter AAS meeting.
    • 2021 NAC students will present their research posters at the winter 2022 AAS meeting. Expenses will be covered by the NAC program.
    • NAC students are expected to remain actively involved with the NAC via regular monthly Zoom meetings.