Research Opportunities at Northeastern Illinois University

Student Center for Science Engagement (SCSE) Summer Research and Professional Development Program: The SCSE at Northeastern Illinois University organizes a 10-week research program every summer (from late May to early August) in which NEIU students work with faculty on a variety of research projects. The application is available in the spring semester each year, beginning in February with a deadline in March. Please email for more information. 

Chicago Area Organizations and Companies

Abbott LabsEvery year, Abbott Labs host hundreds of interns from the world’s leading universities. Successful interns have demonstrated academic excellence, strong leadership, communication skills and technical excellence in their respective fields. Interns have the opportunity to work in functions that include engineering, science, finance, information technology and marketing. These internships offer flexible 10-12 week assignments during the summer, adjusted to your academic calendar and the needs of individual businesses. Deadlines vary.

AbbVieAbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines and solutions that address complex health issues and enhance people's lives. The company offers internship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Chicago Botanic GardenThe Chicago Botanic Garden, with colleagues from partner institutions, host 10-week summer research experiences and internships. These programs offer undergraduate student participants an opportunity to explore a diverse array of scientific fields related to plant biology and conservation. Participants receive a stipend, research costs and for some programs travel and room and board. 

Fermilab provides internships for students who apply directly to Fermilab or through the Department of Energy. Fermilab also has international partnerships with institutions in foreign countries that are responsible for selecting students. Deadlines vary for the different programs offered by Fermilab. 

Field Museum of Natural HistoryA research experience for undergraduates (REU) is offered every summer. And some of the internships are created by a student expressing interest in being an intern by finding a scientist for your particular area of interest or study in our staff list for the Gantz Family Collections Center, Integrative Research Center, or Keller Science Action Center. Students then write to the scientist(s) to let them know the student is interested in working with them, and the scientist will try to find an internship for you based on your qualifications and their needs and capacity. Deadlines are specific to each opportunity.

Lincoln Park Zoo: The Zoo is committed to training young scientists to conduct independent research projects that are relevant to the management and conservation of captive and wild populations. The Zoo’s Research Internship program provides unique opportunities for undergraduates and recent graduates to gain research experience on exotic species in a captive setting. The internship program is based in the Conservation & Science Department and offers a unique opportunity to conduct work in a variety of areas and gain valuable experience while being a part of the Zoo’s team approach to research and management of small populations. Interns have the opportunity to conduct research projects under the guidance of staff scientists in one or more of the following areas: demography, population genetics, population modeling, animal behavior, animal cognition, epidemiology, endocrinology and conservation. There are also internship opportunities available in the Urban Wildlife Institute that is a part of the zoo. Deadlines are variable, but generally are in March and April.

Morton Arboretum Internship OpportunitiesThe Morton Arboretum’s Center for Tree Science offers four summer fellowships to students who are interested in pursuing a career in urban ecology. They consider current undergraduate candidates with strong academic backgrounds and an interest in topics such as tree biology, urban biodiversity, urban forestry, arboriculture, root biology, soil science, forest ecology, genetics, informatics, plant systematics, pathology, entomology, tree conservation, and restoration ecology. 

Peggy Notebaert Nature MuseumInternship opportunities are offered in the fall, winter, spring and summer for college and university students (applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of application). Rolling admissions.

Shedd AquariumInternship opportunities aim to provide meaningful career exploration for those seeking professions in non-profits, animal care, conservation, research and beyond. Opportunities vary from season to season. Applications are welcome from all areas of experience. More information about application and internship dates can be found at the link above.

Federal Agencies and National Organizations

The HACU National Internship Program (HNIP)Students looking for an internship at a federal agency or corporation can apply through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program. HACU is always in search of the best and the brightest to fill their many internship opportunities during three sessions a year: fall, spring and summer. 

NASA Internships are educational hands-on opportunities that provide unique NASA-related research and operational experiences for high school, undergraduate and graduate students as well as educators. These internships integrate participants with career professionals emphasizing mentor-directed, degree-related, real-world task completion. 

NSF-REU: The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds a large number of research opportunities in a variety of fields for undergraduate students through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of about 10 undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Deadlines vary depending on REU site.

U.S. Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) programThe program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing research experiences, under the guidance of laboratory/facility staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the Department of Energy (DOE) mission at 17 different laboratories and facilities across the United States including two in the Chicago area (Argonne National Lab and Fermilab). Summer internships are ten weeks long and fall and spring internships are 16 weeks long. 

U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyEver thought about having a great career dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all Americans? Ensuring that we have clean air, pure water and better-protected land? You can have that career at EPA! EPA internships and fellowships provide a great introduction to our work as a current student or recent graduate, giving you a sense of whether EPA might be the right place for you. Internships, fellowships and other opportunities are available at our Washington, D.C., headquarters, in our 10 regional offices, and at our labs and research centers throughout the nation. Deadlines vary.

Water Quality in the Yucatan Peninsula Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program: This National Science Foundation-funded research program is open to undergraduates with an interest in water science. Eight students will take part in faculty-mentored research projects in and around Cancun, Mexico. The eight-week program will be divided into three parts. Part one will be completed at the Northern Illinois University (NIU) campus in DeKalb, Illinois, where students will learn research skills, develop research plans, and study water resources and the Yucatan Peninsula. During this time students will be provided with accommodation on campus. The second part of the program will take place in the Yucatan. Students will collaborate with faculty mentors and Mexican scientists and students while staying in local housing. During this time students will have the opportunity to visit sites of historical and cultural significance in the Yucatan. Students will return to NIU at the end of the program to analyze data and present their findings. 

Summer Research Programs for Pre-Health and Biomedical Science Students

Chicago Cancer Health Equities Collaborative (CHEC)The Chicago Cancer Health Equities Collaborative (CHEC) is a partnership between Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Chicago and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each summer, ChicagoCHEC hosts a Research Fellows Program, which is a paid opportunity for students interested in healthcare careers and biomedical research to gain experience for their future careers. The deadline for the application is due in February each year. 

The Summer Undergraduate Research Training (SMART) Program at Baylor College of Medicine: This program was developed to provide frontier-level, biomedical summer research projects for undergraduates in a supportive environment with supplemental educational activities. The program offers nine weeks of biomedically related research in a broad range of areas, free GRE prep workshops, career development activities, research and professional development seminars, and designated housing near Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas). The application for the 2024 program will open in October 2023. 

Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW): The Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) has been offered at the Medical College of Wisconsin for over 30 years. SPUR hosts roughly 25-30 participants each summer from across the country who gain valuable research experience, refine critical thinking skills, build upon academic and professional networks and are introduced to various disciplines of science. Participation in SPUR is intended for students who are currently enrolled at an accredited college or university who intend to pursue scientific-based graduate studies. 

Stowers Summer Scholars Program: The Stowers Institute of Medicine offers a program that provides its applicants with a variety of research topics including, stem cell and growth research, neuroscience research, cell biology, and many more. The program provides its applicants with a $5,000 stipend, travel expenses, and housing options. Stowers Institute is located in Kansas City, Missouri. 

World Relief: Chicagoland: A global, humanitarian organization who helps refugees and other immigrants rebuild their lives in a new country. One of the internship opportunities focuses on medical case management. Opportunities are available every fall, spring and summer. 

Summer Research Programs for students interested in Botany

The Danforth Plant Science Center’s: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer Internship program is held for 11 weeks each summer and exposes students to a rich research environment. The program gives students experience with all aspects of modern scientific research, from design to experimentation to reporting. Faculty mentors and staff provide insight into the personal qualities that make a good researcher, the process and training involved in becoming a scientist, and the broader impact of scientific discovery. The program is made possible through generous support from the National Science Foundation and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. 

Plant Genomics at Michigan State University: Laboratory and computational opportunities are available in the field of plant genomics in this 10-week program. Participants receive a $6,000 stipend, on-campus housing, meals, and travel support. 

Additional STEM Summer Research Programs 

Nebraska Summer Research Program: This 10-week residential summer research experience provides mentoring and research experiences while allowing scholars to preview graduate school life. Students with a strong interest in graduate programs are particularly encouraged to apply. The stipend range is $5,000-$6,000. Research programs are available in the following fields: Applied Plant Systems, Bioenergy Systems, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Integrated Agronomic Systems, Materials Sciences (MRSEC), Minority Health Disparities, Nanohybrid Functional Materials, Nanotechnology, NIMBUS, Redox Biology, Sustainability, Systems Biology, and Virology.

 Summer Education Research Program (SERP) at University of Wisconsin-Madison: The Summer Education Research Experience Program (SERP) is sponsored by the School of Education and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Graduate School. The program provides students interested in pursuing graduate studies in academic fields within the College of Education the opportunity to engage in independent research in a variety of topics including math and science education, educational psychology, health sciences and kinesiology. The program offers a competitive $4,500 stipend for participants as well as other amenities, including travel expenses to Madison and housing.