The selection process is coordinated by the Selection Committee which consists of Laboratory staff members representing the range of Laboratory interests and activities. Application files are first reviewed by this committee and then, on the basis of the applicant's interests and recommendations, distributed for review by potential mentors throughout the Laboratory. Potential mentors and applicants contact each other to identify problems in applied mathematics of mutual interest, after which mentors prepare a proposal outlining a research plan. Final selection decisions are made by the Selection Committee.
Although secondary to criteria of scientific quality and relevance to the student's long-term research objectives, a significant factor in the selection process is the identification of applicants and research projects that will encourage collaboration and interaction among the program participants. While it is appropriate that the GRAs carry out their research on an individual basis in a very focused context with a Laboratory mentor, it is also important to avoid isolation and to facilitate peer-group interaction. Where appropriate, the committee attempts to select students with complementary interests and skills so as to enhance possibilities for joint research efforts.
The selection process takes place in close cooperation with other organizations at the Laboratory. Specifically, Laboratory mentors are drawn from theorists and experimentalists affiliated with institutes, centers, and divisions throughout the Laboratory, as well as external visitors who are in residence at the Laboratory for the summer. When appropriate, student interns are co-sponsored by other programs, such as the AMR, CNLS, HPCCI, or Hertz GRA programs, so as to provide the student with increased exposure to the range of Laboratory research activities. Coordination by the CNLS will thus provide the structure for a Laboratory-wide concerted effort in educational and research training in the full spectrum of applied mathematics and computer science.
In view of the important impact that a rewarding research experience can make on a student's educational career, we pay special attention to the recruitment of qualified students who might not ordinarily be aware of possibilities in this field. We make special efforts to publicize the Student Programs and to recruit from universities with high enrollments of historically underrepresented minorities majoring in sciences and engineering, and we look forward to high levels of participation from women students. Our experience is that personal contact during the recruitment and application process can make a significant difference in increasing participation of these students. The mentors in this program have all expressed a commitment to making a concerted effort --- through phone calls, and if possible, in-person campus visits --- to encourage minority and women applicants.
Historically, approximately two-thirds of the participants are students working toward a degree in computer science or applied mathematics, with the remainder being students with backgrounds in physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and computer science who are interested in applying the concepts and techniques of nonlinear mathematics to problems in their own disciplines. Also, approximately 60% of program participants are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
For more information on applying for a student internship see http://math.lanl.gov/jobs.shtml.