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K-12 Students and Teachers Opportunities at ORNL

K-12 students at ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s K-12 education programs help foster an early interest in science by providing scholarly competitions, summer education workshops, science camps, and various research participation opportunities. All of the programs involving students under the age of 18 have been moved to the K-12 Education Programs. The K-12 programs at ORNL include the following:

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)/Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High School Summer Math Science Technology Institute has occurred annually at ORNL for many years. The ARC/ORNL Summer Institute is a two-week program that provides a short-term, hands-on research experience for small groups of high school students and STEM teachers from the 13-state Appalachian Region. The students and teachers are nominated by State ARC representatives and selected by the Appalachian Regional Commission. ORNL mentors are invited to work with either a team of teachers or a team of students on a short-term, hands-on project that provides opportunities for the participants to be engaged in current projects at ORNL. The program highlights the critical value of ORNL and its science resources that are available to the Appalachian Region.

High School Research Experience (HSRE) - Students who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) at Oak Ridge High School (ORHS), Hardin Valley Academy (HVA), Farragut High School (FHS), and the L&N STEM Academy may be eligible to participate in the HSRE at ORNL. 

Students must be at least 16 years of age and be selected within one of the following programs to be eligible:

  • ORHS
    • SECME – paid week summer internship (~8 weeks)
    • Business and Information Technology Program – paid summer and academic year internship
    • Math Thesis – one-year unpaid internship
  • HVA - Senior Portfolio Program – unpaid summer and academic year internship
  • FHS - Math or Science Academy – unpaid summer and academic year internship
  • L&N STEM Academy - Digital Arts Program – paid 10-week summer internship

The respective school program coordinators assist students in identifying a hosting mentor at ORNL.  The application is available by invitation-only after an ORNL mentor is secured with the school program coordinator and student. 

In addition, students who are members of the First Robotics team at their high school are also eligible to apply.  The First Robotics coordinator should assist the student in identifying a hosting mentor at ORNL.

Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) – College Entering Freshmen
Are you a graduating senior looking to jump-start your scientific and technical career with spring or summer experience? The HERE program is open to U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) who will be at least 18 years of age by January 1 if applying for spring as a high school graduate or 18 years of age by June 1 if applying for the summer appointment period and you must be 18 by the start of the appointment.  You must also have a minimum GPA of 2.5/4.0. Entering freshmen must graduate from a U.S. accredited high school in the 12 months preceding the appointment and be accepted at a U.S. accredited college or university for the term following the appointment. Applications will open each year in October and will close on July 1.

K-12 Research Program Contact Information

For the ARC/ORNL Summer Math Science Technology Institute, please contact:
Marie Westfall
(865) 576-3425
Marie.Westfall@orau.org


For all other K-12 programs, please contact:
Julie Malicoat
(865) 576-2311
Julie.Malicoat@orau.org


For the HERE - College Entering Freshman Program, please contact:
Leslie Fox
(865) 576-3427
Leslie.Fox@orau.org