Pathways to Computing Internship Program

Feature photo by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

The Pathways to Computing Virtual Internship Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a virtual 10-week summer program that provides undergraduate students with learning opportunities in computer science, computational science, and mathematics. Students will be mentored by ORNL research and technical staff and will be able to make contributions to projects in diverse domains including computer science, health data science, and climate science. In addition, students will gain valuable skills needed for a successful career in computing fields. Selected interns will have access to ORNL’s leadership-class facilities, including Summit, the world’s 2nd most powerful supercomputer.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. ORNL’s Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate oversees an immense store of computing power and its talented staff of computational scientists and mathematicians, conduct state-of-the-art research and development in computer and computational sciences in support of the Department of Energy’s missions and programs.

Who Should Apply

As part of the ORNL Pathways to Computing Internship Program, the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate is committed to increasing diversity among interns and staff. We believe the teams required to solve the nation’s most pressing science challenges are those that bring together a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. We look forward to receiving applications representing diverse experience levels and backgrounds in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Data Science
  • Astrophysics
  • Bioinformatics / Computational Biology
  • Computer Science Research (e.g. compilers, programming models, programming tools)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences / Climate Science
  • High Performance Computing Operations (e.g. system administration, storage systems, system/user support)
  • Performance Profiling & Optimization
  • Quantum Computing
  • Software Engineering
  • Visualization
  • Other computer science areas (e.g. CS theory)
  • Other computational areas (e.g. material science, chemistry)

Program Details

  • Bi-weekly stipend. There will be a delay after starting before you receive your fist stipend. You should be prepared to cover all expenses for the first 30 days of your appointment.


Applicants are expected to have an interest in one or more of the listed primary focus areas. The statement of purpose and description of preferred focus areas provide an opportunity for the applicant to describe their connection to and goals related to these areas. Previous experience is not a requirement for participation.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in a degree-seeking program at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university (including accredited community colleges) at time of application and continuing into the fall 2022 semester

    • Full-time enrollment status is determined by the number of hours or courses the school requires for full-time attendance (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service)

    • Seniors graduating in May/June 2022 or earlier will not be eligible for application or selection as continuation as an undergraduate in fall 2022 is required

  • Must have a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale


What was your research project?

I contributed to a larger project called SIGHT, an exploratory data visualization/analysis tool. I focused on performance analysis of data transfers between CPUs and GPUs and ways to optimize this.

What new skills did you learn during your internship?

I learned about GPUs and general-purpose GPUs, different parallel programming models, and about high-performance computing as a whole. 

What were your favorite activities or learning opportunities during the program?

I learned a lot from other interns and their projects – talking to them every day helped me expand my knowledge of computing, especially in areas of machine learning. Participating in the Smoky Mountains Data Challenge was also a great experience.

How has the program benefited you and your career or educational goals?

It has definitely helped me solidify my interest in computing and HPC. I can now confidently say that this is my field of interest moving forward.

What are your educational and career plans for the future?

I’m hoping to return to ORNL after my graduation for a post-bachelor’s research position. 

Would you recommend this program to others?

Yes, I’d recommend it to anyone interested in computing regardless of their level of comfort. There’s so much you can learn at a place like ORNL, and the opportunities are endless.