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The Shirley Ann Jackson Science Internship

To honor the achievements of DC Public high school graduate and Smithsonian Regent, Shirley Ann Jackson, the Smithsonian is accepting applications for an internship program named in her honor.  This internship is for District of Columbia public high school students entering their junior or senior year or finishing their senior year. The internship is awarded to a student interested in science. Awarded students spend eight (8) weeks with their mentors in and around the Smithsonian facilities in the Washington DC area. This internship is made possible through a generous gift from Smithsonian Regent, David Rubenstein.

Dr. Shirley Jackson Headshot
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson



This internship program was established to honor the achievements of DC Public high school graduate and Smithsonian Regent, Shirley Ann Jackson.  

Shirley Ann Jackson was born in Washington, DC to parents who valued education. Her father encouraged her interest in science and helped her with class projects. At Theodore Roosevelt High School, Jackson attended accelerated programs in both math and science. She graduated in 1964 as valedictorian. She earned a B.S. and M.S. from MIT and is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate there.

In addition to being a Smithsonian Regent, Jackson is the 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Time Magazine described her as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science.” Dr. Jackson, a theoretical physicist, has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. In 2016, she received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor in science and engineering, by U.S. President Barack Obama.


This mentor-guided learning experience allows interns to acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sciences in the dynamic atmosphere of the world’s largest museum complex. Interns gain practical skills and program development experience in offices, museums, and research facilities throughout the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. To further enrich their mentor guided learning experiences, interns also attend meetings, lectures, and public programs during their tenure.


This internship is for District of Columbia public high school students ONLY entering their junior or senior year or who have just finished their senior year.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted in the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).

Steps to Apply:

  1. Create an Account or Log In to SOLAA
  2. Click “Start Your Application”
  3. Use the dropdown menu to search for programs
    • Program Type: Internship
    • Office/Museum/Research Center: Office of Fellowships should be changing to OIP soon
    • Program Status: Currently Active
  4. Scroll down and look for The Shirley Ann Jackson Science Internship
  5. Click “Apply Now”

Files you will need to upload for your application

  • Transcripts (unofficial OK)
  • Essay:

No more than 2 pages double spaced using 12 point type

Please address the following in your essay:

1) Your academic history and any other experiences which you feel have prepared you for an internship focusing on science

2) What you hope to accomplish through this internship, and how it would relate to your academic and career goals

3) Review the Smithsonian web site or visit our museums to find out what in particular about the Smithsonian interests you and leads you to apply for an internship here

  • References

Names and email addresses of two teachers who have agreed to serve as a reference for you

Please note: Through SOLAA you will send an email to these referees so they can provide references through the web. Please encourage your references to submit by the application deadline. Reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been waived by the reference

  • Resume (optional)

Selection Criteria

The Smithsonian anticipates a large number of applications which will be reviewed by a committee of Smithsonian and education experts. Selections are based on the following criteria:

  • Academic effort and/or achievement
  • Academic and career goals and how they are relevant to Smithsonian collections and expertise related to the arts or science
  • MUST attend a District of Columbia High School

Important Dates

2022 Timeline

Application opens January 4 

Deadline for applications March 15 at 5:00ET

Selections made and all applicants informed April 15

Deadline for 8-week internship to be completed August 31

Stipend Available: $5,200 for the full 8 week tenure

Contact Information

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact: Amy Lemon

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