Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Undergraduate Internships



Section A: Welcome

Section B: Workforce Development & Education

Section C: Internship Program Descriptions

Section D: Health and Safety at the Lab

Section E: Program Requirements

Section F: Communication

Section G: Brown Bag Meetings

Section H: Assignments Overview



Section A: Welcome

Congratulations on being selected as a research intern for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Workforce Development & Education. The quality of your experience largely depends on you. If you take the initiative to learn all you can and positively contribute your thoughts, ideas, questions, and efforts to the research team you are working with, you will gain insight into how science is performed at the Lab. The purpose of this Program Guidebook is to familiarize you with the important information you need to succeed during your internship at LBNL.

General Information about the city of Berkeley:


In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen scientists associated with Berkeley Lab have won the Nobel Prize. Fifty-seven Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.


Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 200-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 4,200 scientists, engineers, support staff and students. Its budget for 2011 is $735 million, with an additional $101 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for a total of $836 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.


For over 50 years the Department of Energy has supported the education and training of scientists, engineers, and technology specialists to maintain the scientific and technical workforce needed to address the Department’s and Nation’s complex challenges in energy, national security, the environment, and discovery science.

DOE and its predecessor organizations have more than a sixty-year history of commitment to training and supporting scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. DOE’s role in workforce development has primarily focused upon the support of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers through research and development awards at universities and at the DOE national laboratories. Today, that role also includes supporting educational and training programs to promote science and energy literacy.

Through support of R&D activities at universities, the DOE national laboratories, and the private sector, DOE funding has enabled tens of thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians to tackle the seminal scientific questions of the day in physics, chemistry, biology, and other areas of basic science and to make substantial contributions to our energy, environment, and national security challenges.

DOE’s 17 national laboratories provide a unique opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce development. The national laboratory system offers access to leading scientists; world-class scientific user facilities and instrumentation; and large-scale, multidisciplinary research programs unavailable in universities or industry.  The DOE national laboratories provide a number of opportunities for science, engineering, and technology training and education, annually providing programs for over 250,000 K-12 students, 22,000 K-12 educators, 4,000 undergraduate interns, 3,000 graduate students, and 1,600 postdoctoral researchers.

The DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) leverages the expertise of its six research program offices and the unique capabilities at DOE’s national laboratories to sponsor workforce training programs designed to motivate students and educators to pursue careers that will contribute to the Office of Science’s mission in discovery science and science for the national need. WDTS also partners and coordinates with other DOE program offices and other Federal agencies in its workforce and STEM education efforts.

Section B: Workforce Development & Education

Workforce Development & Education at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory runs several educational programs for college and university undergraduate students and faculty, teachers, and high school students. Though the financial support and administrative procedures for the programs may vary, and though the interns in the various programs may come from different locations and backgrounds, the basis of all of our undergraduate programs remains the same: students learn science best by doing science!

Workforce Development & Education provides hands-on, mentored research internships to undergraduate students, which offer participants an opportunity to work with world-class scientists on cutting-edge science and engineering projects. Research interns spend 10 weeks (summer term) or 16 weeks (semester term) at Berkeley Lab engaged in a research project under the guidance of a laboratory scientist or engineer. In addition to the research aspect of the internship programs, Workforce Development & Education provides enrichment activities, including career professional development workshops (e.g. technical and scientific writing skills development, poster, or oral presentation activities, etc.), laboratory tours, scientific lectures and seminars.


The Workforce Development & Education website contains general information about each of our educational programs; program calendars; instructions and deadlines for assignments and deliverables; and opportunities to volunteer with educational outreach events.

Colette Flood, Internship Program Manager

Manages all Workforce Development & Education internship programs, mentor communication.

Laleh Coté, Undergraduate Internship Coordinator

Coordinates undergraduate internship calendar, facilitates mandatory Brown Bag meetings, schedules enrichment activities, intern communication.

Nakeiah Harrell, Administrative Assistant

Onboarding interns, badging, WPC, travel, and related administrative matters.

Section C: Internship Program Descriptions

The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program goal is to encourage undergraduate students to enter STEM careers especially relevant to the DOE mission by providing research experiences at DOE national laboratories under the direction of scientific and technical laboratory staff who serve as research advisors and mentors. With its long history, the SULI program places undergraduate students in paid internships in science and engineering research activities at DOE laboratories, working with laboratory staff scientists or engineers on projects related to ongoing research programs. Appointments are for 10 weeks during the summer term or for 16 weeks during the fall and spring terms.

The Community College Internship (CCI) program goal is to encourage community college students to pursue technical careers relevant to the DOE mission by providing technical training experiences at DOE laboratories under the direction of laboratory staff who serve as advisors and mentors. The CCI program places students in paid internships in technologies supporting laboratory work under the supervision of a laboratory technician or researcher.

The Berkeley Lab Undergraduate Research (BLUR) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue STEM careers by providing research experiences at Berkeley Lab. Selected students participate as interns, performing research, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers, on projects related to ongoing programs. Typically, BLUR participants are students at partnership schools or have an established relationship with Lab scientists and funding sources have been identified.


The Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) goal is to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce that addresses DOE mission areas. The Visiting Faculty program provides an opportunity for faculty and students from these colleges or universities to contribute to a DOE research project. This program, formerly the Faculty and Student Team program, is being restructured to improve recruitment; improve faculty-laboratory investigator synergy; provide for optional student involvement that does not rely on SULI funding; and increase the use of the Office of Science scientific user facilities. Discussions with the DOE Laboratory Education Directors have provided innovative examples of success that may be incorporated into this WDTS activity.

Section D: Health and Safety at the Lab


The Environment, Health & Safety division helps Berkeley Lab staff perform their work safely and in an environmentally sound manner. The division also provides staff with access to essential services in the following areas:


There are many hazards associated with working in a lab environment. These are usually mitigated via the use of engineering controls (e.g., fume hoods) and administrative procedures such as work plans (e.g., WPC, AHD, etc.). Unfortunately, sometimes serious accidents occur as discussed in a recent video entitled, “Experimenting with Danger” produced by the Chemical Safety Board. While these accidents happened at different institutions and were associated with unrelated research activities, they are connected in that rigorous hazard evaluation and control systems were lacking. This underscores the importance of integrating safety into your work. Read more here.

Employees have the right — and the responsibility — to identify and report concerns about improper governmental activities and environment, health and safety concerns without fear of reprisal. Employees are encouraged to discuss concerns with their supervisor, or any level of management. You may also report concerns using the employee hotline number (800-403-4744) or via the web. With either method you may identify yourself, or choose to remain anonymous.

For a full-sized version of the LBNL Hotline flyer, visit the following link:


All Berkeley Lab employees, contractors, and participating guests are responsible for stopping work activities that are considered to be an imminent danger.

An “imminent danger” is defined as any condition or behavior that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious injury, or environmental harm.

Whenever an employee, contractor, or participating guest encounters conditions or practices that appear to constitute an imminent danger, such individuals have the authority and responsibility to:

Note: When in doubt about a safety condition, contact your supervisor.

Refer to "Stopping Unsafe Work" in PUB 3000 for more information.


Walking around Berkeley Lab can be challenging with its uneven terrain, sloping walkways, staircases, fallen leaves, pine needles, and cones. The condition is exacerbated by rainy weather and multiple construction and demolition projects. Construction materials or wind-blown debris may appear unexpectedly on pathways, which contribute to slip, trip, and fall hazards. Employees are advised to keep their eyes on the path, watch out for unanticipated obstacles, use handrails, and wear appropriate shoes with low heels and good traction soles.

It is a good idea to keep an extra pair of walking shoes in your work area for use when necessary. Employees can contact the EH&S Division (x5514) regarding safety concerns and observed hazardous conditions.


Not obeying traffic laws can come at a price. Just how much does running a stop sign at the Lab, which is patrolled by UC Police, cost? That will cost you $234, the same amount for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. Go here to see a list of other common traffic fines. Be careful, traffic laws are the same on Lab premises as they are off.


One of the perks of working at Berkeley Lab is the natural environment that surrounds us, but this beautiful location also puts people precariously close to the Hill’s wildlife. It is up to employees to help make sure a safe distance between humans and animals is maintained. It has come to the attention of the Environment Health and Safety Division that some staff are feeding local deer, turkeys, and feral cats. Attracting these animals — which are prey for area mountain lions — brings them closer to Lab buildings and their occupants. Employees are asked not to feed these animals and to place food waste in receptacles with secured lids. For more information, contact Brian Asuelo (x7791) or Karen Leffingwell (x6234).

To reduce the chances of encountering a Mountain Lion, UCPD urge taking the following precautions:


Because we live and work in earthquake country, we can sometimes become complacent about earthquake preparedness. We all need to be reminded from time to time how earthquake risks can be managed at home and the Lab. EH&S’s Emergency Services is now distributing the U.S. Geological Survey’s “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country; Your Handbook for the San Francisco Bay Region.”

Section E: Program Requirements

Mandatory events for interns to attend each term are the following: Orientation, Brown Bag meetings, Peer Poster Presentations, the Poster Session, and Check-out.

Summer appointments are for 10 weeks and Spring and Fall appointments are for 16 weeks. Participation requires a full time commitment for the duration of the appointment period. You should plan to be at LBNL full-time, completing 40 hours of work each week in your research lab. Although schedules vary from lab to lab, Workforce Development & Education expects that you will work approximately from 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday. You should avoid any obligations that will interrupt your appointment, including attending classes with sessions during the workweek.


Although you must participate for the entire appointment period, we have a “late start” date for participants who are unable to start on the first day for academic reasons. This later date is only for participants whose school’s term ends later than the beginning of the program.

Interns who begin the program on a “late start” date will attend an orientation on the first day of their term, and will be required to turn in all of the same “first week” assignments the Friday after their orientation. “Late start” participants will complete assignments and presentations with the rest of the group, and will check out on the last day of the program, regardless of the date their appointment begins. Any changes to this schedule will be made at the discretion of the Internship Coordinator.

Interns can be terminated from the program for missing work without approval.

Each term, vacation time is not permitted, and you are expected to work Monday through Friday for the duration of the term, excluding Lab holidays. During the first week of the program, your mentor will help you design a schedule that is mutually agreeable.

Your mentor may suggest that you participate in a work-related meeting or conference that requires you to spend a day off-site. In order to approve this type of absence, an e-mail is required from the mentor to Workforce Development & Education, stating the date and reason for participation. Managing your time is your responsibility, so we encourage you to actively communicate with Workforce Development & Education about absences ahead of time.

Section F: Communication

The Berkeley Lab website is full of resources that will be useful to you during your internship program. The “A-Z Index” at the top of the main page is an internal search engine, and a list of the important links related to the Lab. Please use the “Phone Book” to look up contact information of any employee currently employed at the Lab. To familiarize yourself with the diversity of research that takes place at the Lab, visit the link entitled “Scientific Divisions” on the front page of the website.


The primary method of communication between internship programs and participants is through email. You will be expected to conduct all work-related business using the Berkeley Lab Gmail account assigned to you.

Use a web browser to visit

The main calendar for the undergraduate internship programs is posted on the Workforce Development & Education website. You will be sent an invitation to the mandatory events during the term (Orientation, Brown Bag meetings, Peer Poster Presentations, the Poster Session, and Check-out). Optional enrichment activities, including lectures and events at Berkeley Lab, and optional tours of user facilities will also be posted on the calendar. You have the option of adding an individual event to your individual calendar by viewing event details, and then selecting the link “copy to my calendar.”

If you need further assistance with using Google Calendar, please visit the GCal Help Center.


During your internship, an appointment will be scheduled to photograph you working in the lab with your mentor and/or associate mentor. During the last week of the term, a Lab photographer will take a group photo of the undergraduate research interns, as well as documenting the Poster Session itself. After these photographs are processed and published, you will have access to them on the Berkeley Lab Photo Archive online.

The Berkeley Lab Photo Archive is the Lab’s online digital image collection. This searchable database of images was created to meet the growing demand for scientific and historic photographs that are fully cleared for licensed use. The archive is organized into galleries to help users find images quickly. Use the “Image Search” feature (located on the top left-hand side) to find images that match a keyword or particular criteria by using the pull down menu.

Send feedback, comments or questions about the site to                                  


Section G: Brown Bag Meetings

Brown Bag meetings are mandatory for all internship participants.

Brown Bag meetings are designed to facilitate communication between Workforce Development & Education and interns. During these meetings, Workforce Development & Education provides an opportunity for interns to interact with each other and share their experiences in the lab. Some of the Brown Bag meetings will assist interns in developing skills related to science writing, public speaking, working in a group setting, time management, and exploring future career and academic opportunities.

Dates for the current term have been provided for you, along with the anticipated agenda for each meeting. During the Fall and Spring terms, Brown Bag meetings are held once every two weeks. In the Summer term, Brown Bag meetings are held once a week until the Peer Poster Presentations.

Brown Bag meetings are scheduled to be 2 hours in length, and this time is non-negotiable. It is not acceptable to miss a Brown Bag meeting because an intern is working in the lab; mentors and interns should work together to create schedules in which adequate weekly progress can be made in the research lab, with time reserved for these meetings.

Section H: Assignments Overview


The Assignments and Deliverables web page is a running list of assignments posted each term. Each entry includes the name of the assignment, deadline, instructions, and any necessary documents or links pertaining to that particular assignment. You may choose to work on your assignments using any word processing program (Microsoft Word, Pages, LaTeX, etc.) but all assignments must be submitted as a Portable Document Format (PDF).

Please note that instructions are variable based on the program you are participating in; look for the instructions pertaining to SULI, CCI, BLUR, or VFP Student.  If you are a late-start participant, the first few assignments will have later deadlines based on the date of your Orientation.


You will receive a copy of the book Scientific Writing and Communication (ISBN 978-0-19-539005-6) to assist you with the writing process. This is a helpful reference book for those participants with writing experience, as well as those of you who will be writing your first scientific paper. There are individual chapters dedicated to each section of the research paper, with examples and activities to strengthen your understanding of each topic discussed. The book also addresses references, common writing pitfalls in science writing, preparing a poster, and preparing an effective job application.


You will be expected to work independently to complete each of the assignments required during the term. You may require assistance in the research and editing processes, and any member of the research team can provide this to you.

Prior to the deadline, your designated mentor or associate mentor must approve several assignments through the internship term, by filling out the “Mentor Approval Form.” The mentor must be logged in to their Berkeley Lab account in order to have access to this form.


The Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) website is the location at which interns participating in the SULI, CCI, and VFP programs will submit required deliverables to the U.S. Department of Energy. To access the WDTS website, interns will use a unique username and password, which is separate from their LDAP log-in information for Berkeley Lab.

If you require assistance, please send an email to


Interns can use their LBNL badge as a library card to check out materials from the libraries on campus at UC Berkeley, as long as the barcode is readable. Please see the informational videos below to learn how to search for books or articles online. Research help is available by contacting, x5621 or by visiting the Library Office (Building 50, Room 4034). Also be sure to visit the Reading Lounge (Building 54, Room 002) for a casual place to meet or study. Use these resources as needed, to familiarize yourself with your field of research as you are writing your Research Paper.

Information about Library Services

Library Services (Video)

Using PubMed for full-text articles (Video)