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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory NSIP Masters Intern - Phys Detect Systems & Deploy in Des Moines, Iowa


Protecting U.S. residents and visitors is among our nation’s highest priorities. As adversaries gain access to sophisticated technologies and materials, the threats grow more dynamic and complex—from cyber and nuclear to chemical and biological weapons of mass effect and other forms of terrorism. The PNNL national security mission employs our researchers, tools, and technologies to play a key role in advancing the ability to identify and secure nuclear materials, detect weapons of mass effect, manage nonproliferation treaties, secure our nation's borders, and protect critical infrastructures. PNNL’s scientific discovery and capabilities—rooted in innovative theory, methods, algorithms, and tools—are enabling stronger, more resilient technologies and systems to safeguard national security. Coupled with decades of radiological and nuclear materials expertise, advanced computing and threat analysis capabilities, and a broad fundamental science base, we are identifying and countering emerging threats that have significant impact at home and around the globe.

NOTE: Several documents are strictly required to submit with the application to be eligible for this position. Please read the entire job posting for detailed instructions.


PNNL’s Physical Detection Systems and Deployment Division is focused on discovering, developing and deploying physical detection systems. We are seeking Masters students for assignments within the National Security Internship Program (NSIP).

Do you want to be challenged with hard problems in national security, energy, and science and apply cutting-edge research to make our nation safer and stronger? Do you want to perform research and development critical to prevent and counter terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? Are you interested in physics, material science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, project management or instructional design?

If you answered yes, please join us as an intern in the Physical Detection Systems and Deployment Division.

Positions are available in Richland, WA and Seattle, WA, based on business need. Positions may also be performed remotely or on campus at PNNL based on business need.

Participants will be starting in cohort sessions and must be available to start in May or June 2024 [Summer cohort].

Your internship will land you in one of the following focus areas:

Advanced Engineered Systems

We are a group of passionate makers who have a long history of building and deploying embedded sensor systems for a wide variety of sponsors and applications. We are 50+ electronics engineers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, physicists, etc.; all sharing the DNA and desire to deploy solutions for our sponsors that help the mission of national security. We focus on emerging technologies by integrating capability across electromagnetics, systems modeling, communications, analytics development, and systems design to serve as a flywheel for feeding technology advancements across the division and laboratory. Projects within the group range from mission focused, highly applied projects in support of national security to fundamental science projects.

Detection Physics

We represent PNNL’s ultra-low background capability and develop some of the world’s most sensitive radiation detection systems; driving solutions that span fundamental physics to treaty verification by integrating modeling, experimentation, data science, and support staff.

Disruptive Technology

We focus on the development of detection systems and data analysis techniques for a variety of missions ranging from fundamental physics to national security. Projects within the research group range from highly applied projects to fundamental science projects in the areas of nuclear/particle physics, electromagnetics, and novel sensor technology development.

Engineered Materials

We work on the design, synthesis, implementation, characterization, and monitoring of functional materials for national security missions leveraging chemistry, computations and models, data science, characterization tools, and non-destructive evaluation methods.

Operational Readiness

We steward capabilities associated with the mission assurance and operations and maintenance stage of the systems engineering lifecycle. Operational sustainment is achieved and transitioned through instructional systems, credibility assessment, logistics innovation, reliability and field engineering, and complex supply chain and interdependency analysis.

Systems and Technology Integration

We lead the Lab in bringing the most technology aligned, diverse, talented, and skilled project management and systems engineering staff who will do what it takes to expertly deliver on the national security detection requirements of our sponsors.


To have a complete application package, the (2) listed items below are required and must be uploaded correctly per the steps below for consideration:

Step 1: Upload Resume or CV in “Resume” section only (note: If applying to multiple positions, the most recent resume uploaded will be used for all positions an applicant applies to).

Step 2: Upload a Cover Letter separately in “Additional Documents” section of the application titled “PDSD - Summer 2024 NSIP Cover Letter”.

  • Cover letter should include: Statement of interest, reference relevant college courses, and relevant experience that may include extracurricular activities that have prepared you for this career.

If any of the components (resume and cover letter) are not uploaded per the instructions above, applications will be rejected and will no longer be considered. Electronic applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (PST) on the posting close date.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must be matriculated/enrolled in a Master's program at an accredited college or university.

  • Minimum GPA of 3.3 is required.

Preferred Qualifications:

Disciplines of interest: additive manufacturing, computational modeling, eLearning design and development, electrical engineering, electromagnetics, embedded systems, instructional design, law enforcement, material science, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, nuclear proliferation, nuclear security and risk analysis, project coordination, project management, physics, quantum information systems, radio frequency engineering, software engineering, systems engineering, training program management, and usability testing.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not applicable.

Additional Information

Candidates must have the ability to obtain and maintain a future security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship.

Testing Designated Position

This is not a Testing Designated Position (TDP).

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

Mandatory Requirements

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Regular Hourly :

Employees are offered an employee assistance program and business travel insurance. Employees are eligible for the company funded pension plan and 401k savings plan, once eligibility requirements are met.

Temporary Hourly :

Employees are offered an employee assistance program and business travel insurance.

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