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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Masters Intern - Computer Science in Topeka, Kansas


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.

Come work on the nation’s most pressing challenges while performing cutting edge research and development. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is seeking highly motivated interns to support its wide variety of national security projects. Our projects run the gamut, from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence to data fusion and visualization to energy and climate security. We support government sponsors across the range of the national security community.

As an intern, you will be a core member of one of our hybrid teams working on these problems. You will be expected to bring your energy, skills, experiences, and curiosity to our challenges to help devise novel solutions to the problems at hand.

We are looking for a variety of skillsets to include data engineers / scientists, software engineers, computer scientists, cybersecurity engineers, machine learning engineers, energy scientists, climate scientists, policy experts, mathematicians / statisticians, and more. If your domain is not listed, that’s okay, still reach out, let’s have a conversation, and see if there might be a good project fit.

Project Examples

We mentioned that we work a wide variety of problems for our sponsors. Below is a sampling to whet your appetite:

Detect and prevent smuggling of drugs and contraband at ports of entry https://www.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/media/file/NII%20Capabilities%20072621_0.pdf

Develop large data pipelines to thwart funding for terrorists, nuclear proliferators, drug cartels, and rogue leaders https://www.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/media/file/PNNL_Treasury_AWS%20collab 1121.pdf

Applying big data solutions to national security problems https://www.pnnl.gov/news-media/science-front-line-ralph-perko

Applying image classification for nuclear forensics analysis https://www.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/media/file/NSD_1259_FLYER_SharkzorHighlights_FINAL_0.pdf

Detect and respond to advanced cyber threats with at-edge computing https://www.pnnl.gov/labobjectives/Cybersecurity.pdf

Develop capabilities for scalable geospatial analytics https://www.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/media/file/GeoBOSS%20Open-Source%20Geospatial%20Analytics%20at%20Scale.pdf

Use remotely sensed imagery to identify and monitor the progression of wildfires https://www.pnnl.gov/projects/rapid-analytics-disaster-response

Analyze the resiliency of the electric power grid to prevent large-scale outages https://www.pnnl.gov/energy-system-modeling

Optimize building efficiency using IOT and ICS data with automated demand-response markets https://volttron.org/

Model climate change and impacts to civilization https://im3.pnnl.gov

Hunt for the existence of dark matter to understand the nature of the universe https://www.pnnl.gov/dark-matter

Perform cutting edge research in our vast climate security portfolio https://www.pnnl.gov/climate-security & https://climate.pnnl.gov/ (https://www.pnnl.gov/climate-security & https://climate.pnnl.gov/)

Additional Information

Internships and research associate roles are offered at multiple levels within our group, including undergraduate, post-bachelor, post-master, and post-doctoral levels. For each level, key qualities needed for a successful internship or research associate role include a strong academic record, a deep commitment to learning, evidence of strong team collaboration, a desire to engage and develop solutions targeted at some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, and a general curiosity about the world. We offer internships roles that can last throughout the 2023-2024 academic year and/or during the summer of 2024.


Interns will be pared with a PNNL staff member and project to assist in the research and development of PNNL capabilities. This can include programming in a variety of languages, applying basic understanding of a STEM domain, and communicating results of research to project teams.


Minimum Qualifications:

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

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.

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.

To match you with the project and mentor that fits your interest and skills, please take the time to submit a 1-page cover letter discussing a topic of interest to you and relevant to PNNL. The optional cover letter should be submitted separately after the resume upload in the 'Additional Documents' section. Review the above project examples or have a look at our webpage at https://www.pnnl.gov to help inspire your cover letter.

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 careers@pnnl.gov .

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.

Click Here For Rockstar Rewards (https://careers.pnnl.gov/rockstar-rewards)