Student Mentoring and Research Training (SMaRT) Internship

Each year, the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII) recruits the nation’s best and brightest undergraduates for its Student Mentoring and Research Training (SMaRT) summer internship program.

SMaRT interns have the unique opportunity to spend their summer on the campus of University of Tennessee, Knoxville while conducting research alongside researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and University of Tennessee (UT). Interns receive a stipend, housing and an allowance for travel to and from Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 2024, UT-ORII hosted 58 undergraduates from 26 institutions across the country, including six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since begining in 2020, SMaRT interns have contributed to research projects including:

  • Discovering viable sustainable options for recycling plastics
  • Studying metals for use in semiconductors and photovoltaics
  • Improving strength, cost, and sustainability of materials used in manufacturing processes
  • Understanding forever chemicals, PFAS, and their effects on the envrionment
  • Researching new approaches to obesity, alzheimer’s, and targeting tumors in PET scans
  • Using 3D printing, AI, and building programs to create new manufacting tools

UT-ORII will be accepting applications for its 2025 SMaRT summer program starting Fall 2024. Rising college sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to apply. For more information and for updates on UT-ORII’s 2025 SMaRT program and application deadlines, please email us at oriismart@utk.edu.

Our interdisciplinary atmosphere gives interns a “team science” experience, an increasingly important platform for research. Interns gain firsthand research experience in emerging fields, such as quantum information sciences and data sciences, while working with state-of-the-art research instruments at UT and ORNL. Together, these experiences help prepare our interns for exciting and rewarding careers.

UT and ORNL researchers serve as mentors to interns throughout the summer. Graduate students work daily with the interns, sharing their own graduate school experiences to help interns better understand and evaluate their future career options in academia, national laboratories and the industries of the future. 

Interns prepare CVs and personal statements for future opportunities, as well as short research presentations and scientific posters that can be presented at conferences.

  • Stipend of $694 per week
  • Single-room on-campus housing at UT Knoxville
  • Up to $1,000 for travel if traveling from 50+ miles away

Applications for the 2025 SMaRT internship will open Fall 2024. Interested applicants will be asked to submit the following:

  • A statement of interest
  • An updated resume
  • An unofficial copy of your current transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Internships are expected to be awarded in March or April 2025.

Esther A.
2023 SMaRT Intern, Mercer University

The SMaRT program focuses on four interdisciplinary areas*:

  • Electrochemical energy systems
  • Advanced science and engineering of materials and manufacturing
  • Predictive systems biology for circular and sustainable economies
  • Autonomous, smart, secure and resilient energy systems

*Data science and engineering threads will be woven through each of these four areas.