seeking summer Internships

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) is pleased to announce the 2021 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), data analysis and market/scientific research. To be considered for the 2021 IALR Internship Program, candidates must be: a High School graduate with plans to attend college in fall 2021; an undergraduate or graduate level college student; OR a recent college graduate, within the last 12 months.

IALR is offering eight potential projects for up to eleven interns. Each internship requires 224 hours*, representing an eight (8) week commitment. This is a paid experience with professional expectations. Interns will receive a total of $2,925, paid semimonthly. The weekly time commitment is 28 hours. The IALR Mentor will set the work schedule during the intern orientation. 

* Due to current uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, IALR reserves the right to modify and/or cancel the internship program. Modifications could include a shortened timeframe with a pro-rated adjustment to the paid compensation, alternate assignments, and/or adjustments to work-site location. The internship opportunities are primarily face-to-face with the option for some telework assignments (hybrid).  

Meet our

Director of Advanced Learning

Julie Brown, PhD

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Office: 434.766.6711
Meet The Team

Project Descriptions:

1.  SMART Table 2.0 Controller Development
(224 hours over 8 weeks; up to two positions)
Mentor: Scott Lowman, Ph.D., Director of Research

 IALR’s SMART tables are designed to monitor plant growth at 30-minute intervals. Experiments are set up on the tables, up to 50 plants at a time, and the gantry moves above each plant and captures an image. Because of their precision, the resulting images can be time-lapsed and mined for growth data related to prescribed treatments.

The internship position will focus on taking a new, open-sourced controller and GUI (Black Box) and using it to control IALR’s newly developed SMART table. The primary goal will be to program the controller using Python, G code, or other acceptable code to:

  • to move the head to a specified position above a plant
  • trigger a mounted camera to capture an image of the plant
  • store that image in a folder that is connected to that position / plant for later analysis
  • this should be expandable to approximately 100 plants on the table

The GUI is an open-sourced platform and code can be entered from any location. The process of creating an experimental path and naming folders should also be user friendly. If this is accomplished in a reasonable amount of time, the remaining time can be focused on developing image analysis programs to extract data from plants.

 2. Controlled Environment Agriculture
(224 hours over 8 weeks; up to two positions)
Mentor: Scott Lowman, Ph.D., Director of Research           

This internship will be focused on various aspects of indoor agriculture including vertical racks, nutrient film technique hydroponics, and beto bucket systems. The student will develop and run an experiment while also helping to maintain systems, participate in other experiments, learn to do scientific presentations, and more.

 3. 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.  

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

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
  • Assisting with photography and videography of summer STEM-related events
  • Supporting graphic design projects
  • Helping produce social media editorial content
  • Supporting facility tours – specializing in a knowledge of STEM-related activities and labs
  • Assisting with technical writing
  • Providing research on technical journals and publications for IALR
  • Collecting and analyzing analytics from website and social media platforms

5. Informal STEM Learning Programs
(224 hours over 8 weeks; up to two positions)
Mentor:  Julie Brown, Ph.D., Director of Advanced Learning

The Advanced Learning Intern(s) will research and recommend informal STEM learning experiences that strengthen IALR’s offerings in computer science and engineering, to include development of mathematics competencies.  The intern will design a program(s) to be delivered in:

– December as part of the national Hour of Code and/or Computer Science Education Week with potential for extensions in the summer.

– February as part of Engineers Week and/or Technology and Engineering month with potential for extensions in the summer.

The intern will need experience in using the Microsoft Office suite and in conducting Internet Research.  The Intern(s) will need to be self-motivated, as there will be independent tasks as well as meetings with external stakeholders.

6. Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline Research and Marketing for the Southern Virginia Region
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Troy Simpson, Advanced Manufacturing Director

IALR’s Advanced Manufacturing division works to support manufacturing innovation and collaboration in Southern Virginia. The advanced manufacturing division is an integral element in a multitude of transformative efforts, including the future Center for Manufacturing Advancement, a forthcoming collaborative space for technology companies and manufacturers to optimize processes, integrate emerging technologies and discover next-generation capabilities. The advanced manufacturing intern will conduct research and analysis of workforce pipeline assets, needs and opportunities, regional workforce impacts and aide in marketing the information.  This will involve both the mentor and interns working in collaboration with key individuals and organizations to include Troy Simpson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at IALR; Dr. Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning at IALR; Dr. Tammy Hurt from GO TEC; as well as working in collaboration with public schools and colleges in the region and other key stakeholders.  As an integral part of the advanced manufacturing 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, an engineering or STEM background and experience with collecting and disseminating data would prove beneficial. Specific task assignments could entail:

  • Develop asset maps of programs and services that support the Advanced Manufacturing workforce pipeline in our area specific to identified sectors;
  • Analyze identified Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline resources and needs in our region and potential regional impacts;
  • Provide materials for brochures, videos, photographs, text and information to add to marketing material;
  • Analyze and market efforts noting the collaboration between GO TEC, the public school systems and the community college as well as IALR and Economic Development efforts;
  • Assess ways to expand the pipeline by targeting nontraditional workers inclusive of opportunities such as the #womanfacturer project and others;
  • Develop metrics/dashboard on programs included in the pipeline; and
  • Provide benchmarks or a case study on the impact of a large-scale employer locating in a region (use Greenville, SC as a model) on the pipeline, identifying potential strategies to address capacity needs.

7. Human Resources Management
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Elaine Ratcliffe, Manager of Human Resources

The HR Intern will work on three deliverables:

  • Develop a performance evaluation system related to goal-driven accomplishments and providing employees with performance-based bonuses;
  • Develop a presentation covering new hire orientation to provide new employees with a comprehensive overview of benefits, policy and etc.; and
  • Develop sound organizational charts for each department and for the organization.

A student of human resource, business administration or marketing preferred.  The Intern will need MS Office experience with the ability to create PowerPoints along with knowledge of software applications to create organizational charts.

8. Information Technology
(224 hours over 8 weeks)
Mentor:  Tim Kruggel, Information Technology Manager

The IT Intern will support several projects:

  • Updating room port documentation
  • Conversions of patch panels in the IT equipment closets
  • Updating the STEM Mobile Lab Surface tables and laptops
  • Updating the laptops in the mobile carts

Individuals should have an interest in IT hardware and software applications, along with the ability to work independently and as part of a team. 


The application must be submitted online along with one reference. Please submit all other documents by email attachment to  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.)


Deadline for completed application packet:  March 22, 2021 at 4:00pm (EST)
Candidate interviews (via Zoom):  April 1-2, 2021 (please mark on your calendar)
Intern notification of selection:  April 9, 2021
Mandatory orientation dates (ALL interns):  June 7, 2021 OR June 14, 2021