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Intern and Apprenticeship Programs

Home » About » Careers » Intern and Apprentice Programs

Are you interested in an Internship or Apprenticeship at the Green Bank Observatory? Our dynamic campus is the place for you!

We can adjust our opportunities to fit the specific requirements of your academic department or university, for the specifications of your internship or co-op experiences. Please contact us to discuss your needs at tsamples@nrao.edu .

Apprenticeship Opportunity

The Green Bank Observatory has a variety Apprenticeships available in the areas of Mechanical Engineering, Machining, Electronics and Telescope Maintenance/Mechanics.

An apprentice is someone learning how to do a specialized job through on-the-job training, under the guidance of an experienced colleague.  An apprenticeship differs from trade school because apprentices typically receive a stipend during their training period. Apprentices may work in a variety of disciplines and industries, although the most common are electrician, engineering, and mechanical apprenticeships. This role involves tasks such as adhering to workplace procedures, following health and safety guidance, updating training records, and completing tasks to gain a qualification. Apprentices should be hard-working and able to manage their time effectively, be able to follow directions, ask for clarification as needed, and be comfortable working as part of a team.

Apprentice Duties and Responsibilities

An apprentice’s duties typically involve:

Learn and Develop Trade Skills

As an employee-in-training, apprentices exhibit an enthusiasm to learn and an interest in the sector of their chosen trade. They display an eagerness to build their knowledge and are willing to put in the effort to develop their skills.

Attend Training Classes

Apprenticeships typically involve on-the-job training as well as trade-related classes, which an apprentice needs to attend on a regular basis.

Adhere to Health and Safety Regulations

Health and safety regulations are important, so apprentices must adhere to the business’ set standards as well as comply with legal regulations. This will help ensure the safety of both the apprentice and colleagues.

Complete Training Assignments

The majority of an apprentice’s work is done during business hours, however, there is often a need to do homework outside of work hours. Apprentices need to complete all homework assignments to build their knowledge and skillset and to meet the requirements of the apprenticeship.

Follow Company Processes

Apprentices need to follow all rules established by their employer. The processes and procedures of a company vary by sector, but apprentices are responsible for strictly adhering to these processes.

The Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research by offering telescope, facility, and advanced instrumentation access to the radio astronomy and basic research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.

American radio astronomy trailblazers called Green Bank Observatory home over 60 years ago. Today their legacy is alive and well. Nestled in the mountain ranges and farmland of West Virginia, within the National Quiet Zone, radio astronomers are listening to the remote whispers of the universe to discover answers to humanity’s most astounding astronomical questions.

Specifically, the Green Bank Observatory:

  • Provides state-of-the-art telescopes, instrumentation, and expertise;
  • Trains the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technicians;
  • Promotes science, technology, and engineering to foster a more scientifically literate society;
  • Provides the tools and facilities to advance science and technology nationally and internationally.

Mechanical, Maintenance and Electronic staff support Scientists who:

  • Track spacecraft landing on Mars.
  • Observe near earth objects such as asteroids and meteors.
  • Search for extraterrestrial life with the Breakthrough Listen SETI project.
  • Search for Fast Radio Bursts.
  • Detect pulsars and research gravitational waves.
  • Support the software and instrumentation on Green Bank’s radio telescopes.

Mechanical Engineering Apprentices will learn about:

  • Real world problem solving
  • Print reading and interpretation
  • Software tools and interpretation
  • Precision
  • Shop Practice and interaction

Machining Apprentices will learn about:

  • Shop practice
  • Print Reading
  • Precision
  • Job Layout
  • Tooling
  • Fixturing
  • Machining Operation

Electronics Apprentices will learn about:

  • Helium compressors
  • Helium refrigerators
  • Stainless steel tubing assembly
  • TIG wielding
  • Vacuum pumps and measurement
  • Actuator installation and repairs
  • Basic electronic wiring,  construction, and measurement techniques
  • Soldering
  • Coaxial cable construction

Telescope Mechanic Apprentices will learn about:

  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Disassembly, repair, and re-assembly of failed components
  • Rotating Equipment alignment and balancing

All Apprenticeships are 3-6 months paid appointments. Interested candidates should submit their resume and letter of interest to tsamples@nrao.edu

Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation and is operated by Associated Universities, Inc.

Learn More About Our Projects

Green Bank Observatory Future Instrumentation

Software Internship at the Green Bank Observatory

The Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research by offering telescope, facility, and advanced instrumentation access to the radio astronomy and basic research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.

American radio astronomy trailblazers called Green Bank Observatory home over 60 years ago. Today their legacy is alive and well. Nestled in the mountain ranges and farmland of West Virginia, within the National Quiet Zone, radio astronomers are listening to the remote whispers of the universe to discover answers to humanity’s most astounding astronomical questions.

Specifically, the Green Bank Observatory:

  • Provides state-of-the-art telescopes, instrumentation, and expertise;
  • Trains the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technicians;
  • Promotes science, technology, and engineering to foster a more scientifically literate society;
  • Provides the tools and facilities to advance science and technology nationally and internationally.

Software Interns support Scientists who:

  • Track spacecraft landing on Mars.
  • Observe near earth objects such as asteroids and meteors.
  • Search for extraterrestrial life with the Breakthrough Listen SETI project.
  • Search for Fast Radio Bursts.
  • Detect pulsars and research gravitational waves.
  • Support the software and instrumentation on Green Bank’s radio telescopes.

Software Interns will learn about:

  • Agile (Scrum) and Waterfall methodologies
  • C++ and Python software development on Linux
  • Revision control (git)
  • Testing (unit/integration/regression) and Continuous Integration
  • GBT Monitor/Control System

Software Interns could work on any of the following:

  • Write Python GUI applications astronomers to use to observe with the GBT.
  • Write C++ code that integrates new devices in the GBT monitor and control system.
  • Implement algorithms that update the GBT Dynamic Scheduling System.
  • Use open source software (e.g. Dask) to improve the performance of the data reduction software.
  • Help observers create a new data processing workflow built around high performance computing.

Internships are paid appointments. Interested candidates should submit their resume and letter of interest to tsamples@nrao.edu Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation and is operated by Associated Universities, Inc.

Learn More About Our Projects

Green Bank Observatory Future Instrumentation