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Service Academies & ROTC Research Associates

The SARRA program brings service academy and ROTC students to the Lab for summer internships. Interns alongside the world’s best scientists and engineers to help solve national security challenges.
October 9, 2015
West Point cadets at the National Security Science Building at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

West Point cadets at the National Security Science Building at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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SARRA interns use science and engineering to meet challenges to national security.

Important mission-oriented work

Each summer, the Laboratory’s Service Academies & ROTC Research Associates (SARRA) Program, brings approximately 30 students from across the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and ROTC programs to Los Alamos.

SARRA students—who are funded by DTRA and are Q-cleared—spend four to eight weeks working with a Lab mentor on a project that has real national security implications. The program provides these future military officers with their first exposure to innovative scientific, engineering, and computational tools—and to the people who allow the Laboratory to answer the most difficult national security problems.

"We believe it’s important for these students to understand the science, engineering, and technology available at the Lab because these are the tools that can help them deal with problems they’ll face as military officers,” Michael Port said. “Our program also provides each of these cadets and midshipmen with future reach-back capability, if and when they need assistance resolving issues encountered while on active duty.”

Testimonials

“My interest in computer science and cyber has been renewed, and it’s good to see the applications of computer science in the real world. I’m so thankful to have had this experience and to have had my curiosity ignited thanks to LANL staff.” – Claire Badger, Air Force Academy Cadet

"Overall, my visit at the Lab was a highly educational experience. I was able to greatly broaden my understanding of the processes involved in scientific research and even dip my toe in the application to contribute to our nation’s defense and the essential missions here at LANL. I hope to one day continue my contribution to this field, perhaps returning to the Lab one day, myself." – Corban Barstow, West Point Cadet

“I learned new approaches and techniques and increased my ability to tackle difficult problems. Solutions to national security challenges need to be functional. It’s important that military leaders convey functionality when presenting the Lab with problems. It is equally as important that scientists try to understand that constraint when supporting the military.” – Mary Clare Cassidy, Army Cadet 

"My internship experience has been fascinating and exciting every single day. There is always something new to explore or learn about. My curiosity has no limits at the Lab and, with the help of my mentor, I have been able to find many avenues where I can ask questions and expand my knowledge. I am even able to draw parallels to what I learned at the Lab to some of the academic research I am doing as a member of the USNA Political Science Department." – Adam Ibrahim, USNA Midshipman

“The perspective I gained as a LANL student helped guide my actions as a B-52 weapons squadron commander in 2015.” – Erik Johnson, Air Force Lt. Col. (SARRA student in 1999)

Learn more about SARRA students who spent a summer at the Laboratory. (In fall 2019, SARA was expanded to SARRA to include ROTC students.)

How to apply

The application deadline is January 15, 2022 by 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

Potential SARRA students are encouraged to apply here. The majority of SARRA students plan to major in STEM fields, but liberal arts majors will also find meaningful work at the Laboratory.

Questions?

Want to know more? Email program director Tammy Milligan.

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A SARRA intern from West Point (left) and a  Los Alamos researcher in the Bioscience Division work on ways to measure the lipids harvested from algal cells. (Photo: Los Alamos)

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A West Point cadet, his LANL mentor, and a LANL staff member stand at the Sedan Crater at the Nevada National Security Site. The Sedan Crater, the largest man-made crater in the United States, is the result of the July 6, 1962, Sedan nuclear test. The crater is over 300 feet deep and 1,280 feet in diameter. (Photo: Los Alamos)

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Annapolis midshipmen stand at the summit of Wheeler Peak. At 13,167 feet it is the highest point in New Mexico.

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An Air Force cadet works at his computer for the Laboratory's Space Science and Applications Group, which is developing a new type of instrument to measure plasma (gases of charged particles) in space. (Photo: Los Alamos)

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General Robin Rand, Commander, Global Strike Command visited Los Alamos on May 23, 2016. He met with several of the 2016 SARRA interns.

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SARRA interns and Los Alamos staff members before heading 963 feet underground into the U1a experimental complex at the Nevada National Security Site. Subcritical experiments are conducted there in support of U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship efforts. From left to right: Cameron Bates (LANL), Matt Snowball (LANL), Tim Goorley (LANL), Daniel Mauldin (USMA), Christopher White (USNA), and Christina Bouvier (USMA).

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