About our Internships

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce the 2019 Summer Internship Program. The goal is to provide meaningful on-the-job training and real-world leadership development experiences in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and data analysis/research. Funding for the program is provided by the IALR Foundation. To be considered for the 2019 STEM Internship Program, candidates must be: a High School graduate with plans to attend college in fall 2019; an undergraduate or graduate level college student; OR a recent college graduate, within the last 12 months.

IALR is offering NINE potential projects. Each internship requires 224 hours, representing an eight (8) week commitment. While an IALR internship is NOT an employment situation, the professional expectations are the same.  This is a paid experience; interns will receive a stipend of $2,750, paid in two equal installments ($1,375) after four weeks of demonstrated success. The anticipated weekly time commitment is 28 hours. The IALR Mentor will set the work schedule during the intern orientation. 

Project Descriptions 

Biotechnology to Develop Natural Plant Biostimulants
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor: Chuansheng Mei, Ph.D.

Want to find alternatives to the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers? This intern will focus on plant growth promotion and productivity by improving nutrient uptake and enhancing tolerance of stresses like salt and drought by bacterial endophytes. Intern will first learn various techniques to characterize bacterial endophytes from our endophyte library, such as plant hormone IAA quantification, phosphate solubilization, nitrogen fixation, siderophore production, ACC deaminase activity, and biofilm formation. Then intern will then learn how to inoculate plants with bacterial endophytes under in vitro and greenhouse conditions and measure plant growth parameters.

Biotechnology to Develop Natural Plant Pesticides
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor: Chuansheng Mei, Ph.D.

Want to find an alternative to harmful chemical pesticide use? This internship will focus on inhibition of pathogen growth on crops, such as rice, wheat, soybean, strawberry and tobacco by bacterial endophytes. First intern will screen our bacterial endophytes against plant pathogens in vitro, then will test them in greenhouse using promising bacteria. Intern will learn how to screen antifungal producing bacteria in vitro, to inoculate plants with beneficial bacteria, and to infect plants with pathogens.

Precision Agriculture
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Samantha Smith-Herndon

Join the IALR Research team as a crew member and learn about Unmanned Aerial Vehicle piloting and licensing. This program strives to incorporate UAV technology into farming practices and data collection techniques in southern Virginia through education, outreach and research. Duties include: following FAA Section 107 operating procedures, remote sensor calibration, image acquisition and analysis, meticulous record keeping, data logging, generating KML files, and lifting up to 40 lbs.

Agricultural Technology Internship – SMART Table (2 positions)
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Daniel Caccavelli

The intern will determine the effect of beneficial plant bacteria on plant growth and motion with IALR’s SMART Table. Tasks will include: coding using computer vision to determine the rate of growth and motion of the plants; translating the data into a readable format for comparison with physical measurements; upgrading the system with new types of cameras including multispectral images and 3D point clouds from combinations of 2D images; and managing the upkeep and of the mechanics of the SMART Tables and the plants growing upon it.

Research and data analysis for the Southern Virginia region
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Linda Hutson Green, Executive Director, SVRA

Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA) is housed at IALR and works with the City of Danville and the counties of Halifax, Patrick and Pittsylvania to create a strong economy that benefits the citizens of Southern Virginia by promoting the region through marketing and public relations efforts.  The SVRA intern will conduct research and analysis for the region and aide in communications of the information through social media and other methods.  As an integral part of the economic development team, the intern would need experience utilizing Excel, Word, and PowerPoint and enjoy collecting and analyzing data.  The intern needs to be sensitive with the use of confidential information.  While there is not a specific age or educational requirement, experience with collecting and disseminating data or utilizing social medial and Microsoft Office would prove beneficial. Specific tasks could entail:

  • assisting with research on demographics, industry sectors, and locality profiles;
  • maintaining a database of information for review and analysis;
  • cataloging news articles, including clipping, organizing and scanning into the computer distribution system, and collecting news feeds and search information;
  • researching regional, local and industry issues;
  • helping to maintain regional profiles of demographics and econometric information;
  • assisting with meetings and events; and 
  • completing other projects as assigned.  

Marketing and Communications
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Allison Moore, Public Relations and Communications Manager, IALR 

The IALR Marketing and Communications intern will work to assist with marketing and communications of technical and scientific information for the IALR.  Responsibilities may include:

  • Reporting on activities and events at the IALR involving STEM, Camps, Research Projects, and other areas that cross scientific, technical and STEM fields
  • Assist with photography and videography of summer STEM related events
  • Assist with data base of industries involved with research or in technical fields that align with IALR research needs
  • Assist with facility tours – specializing in a knowledge of STEM related activities and labs
  • Assist with technical writing
  • Provide research on technical journals and publications for the IALR
  • Collecting and analyzing analytics from website and social media platforms

Talent Development and Career Pathways in Manufacturing and Engineering (2 positions)
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Julie Brown, Ph.D., Director of Advanced Learning, IALR

IALR is interested in designing talent development strategies aligned with economic development interests and existing business needs particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.  The two interns will work as a team to: conduct asset mapping of formal and informal educational opportunities in manufacturing and/or engineering, identify state/national programs that we could replicate in southern Virginia, and conduct interviews with targeted stakeholders. The interns will design promotional materials for the career pathways that address targeted audiences.  Interns must be self-motivated and be able to work in a team environment.  It is expected that the interns have experience with Internet searches and the Microsoft Office suite. 


The application must be submitted online along with one reference recommendation. Please submit all other documents by email attachment to hr@ialr.org.  Include “Your Name – Summer Internship” in the subject line.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: As part of the process, each individual is asked to submit a short personal essay (approximately 300 words). The essay should discuss your academic and career plans, STEM/research/marketing interests (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics), motives for applying for the IALR Internship Program, and how you feel this experience will further your intellectual, educational, and career goals.

FINANCIAL NEED STATEMENT (OPTIONAL): This is a short statement (200-300 words) that explains why you would benefit from receiving a paid internship. How are you currently financing your education? What difficulties have you faced when paying for your education? What other forms of financial assistance have you applied for and/or received? Are you having difficulty securing FT employment? (Please note that ALL applicants are welcome to complete this part.)


  • Biological Sciences (molecular, cellular, and organismal biology, environmental science, health) 
  • Computer and Information Science and Engineering (fundamental computer science, computer and networking systems, security, programming/coding and artificial intelligence)
  • Engineering (bioengineering, environmental systems, civil and mechanical systems, chemical and transport systems, electrical and communications systems, and design and manufacturing)
  • Geosciences (geological, atmospheric and ocean sciences)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and materials science; accounting)
  • Education and Human Resources (science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at every level, pre-K to lifelong learning)


Deadline for completed application packet:  March 15, 2019 at 4:00pm (EST)
Candidate interviews (face to face or via Skype):  April 1 – 3, 2019 
Intern notification of selection:  April 5, 2019
Mandatory orientation dates (ALL interns):  June 3, 2019 OR June 10, 2019


Meet our

Director of Advanced Learning

Julie Brown, PhD

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Office: 434.766.6711
Meet The Team

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