College/School Eligibility:

  • Engineering

Class Year Eligibility:

  • First Year (undergrad)
  • Second Year (undergrad)
  • Third Year (undergrad)
  • Fourth Year + (undergrad)

Open to:

  • Non-Cornell Students
  • Cornell University students are NOT eligible to apply.
  • If you have already participated in a CNF REU Program, you are NOT eligible to participate again.
  • You must be a U.S.A. Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States. (See #8 below regarding Green Cards.)
  • You must be 18 years of age or older by May 31, 2024.
  • You must not be graduating with a four-year degree before the end of the program in August 2024.
  • You must have valid health insurance coverage for the summer.
  • Please note that the Cornell NanoScale Facility and Cornell University do not discriminate for any reason. Our requirements are based on safety concerns and restrictions set by our funding source, the National Science Foundation. Our application will ask if you have a disability, but again, only for safety concerns and so we may better prepare to accommodate any accessibility issues.
  • The Cornell NanoScale Facility specializes in hiring students from two-year colleges, students with no prior research experience, students from those backgrounds that are underrepresented in the STEM fields, and those who are the first in their family to attend college. So please take a chance on us! 
Please note we have TWO DEADLINES! Your 2024 online application materials are due by Wednesday, February 14th. Your two recommendations are due one week later — by Wednesday, February 21st.

Frequently Asked Questions 


  1. Application Materials: Please be prepared to upload your unofficial transcript, essay and resume in PDF.
  2. Application Submission: You MUST complete all the application questions and upload all the checklist items by the ONLINE APPLICATION DEADLINE (February 14th). If anything is missing by 11:59 P.M. on the ONLINE APPLICATION DEADLINE DATE, then your application does not exist and ergo, will not be included in the award process.
  3. Application Confirmation & Completion: Once we receive your online application components, I (Melanie-Claire Mallison, CNF REU Program Coordinator) will send you a confirmation email and let you know whether or not I have your TWO required recommendations. One week before the FINAL APPLICATION DEADLINE (February 21st), I will email the students whose application is incomplete to apprise them of still missing recommendation(s).
  4. Essay: Your personal essay is critical to our selection process. It is through your words that we ascertain your 'fit' with our program. Please submit a well-written essay, 1-2 pages long, in which you discuss the relationship between your present studies and a career in engineering or scientific research. As preparation, you may wish to discuss your career interests with one or more professors, and include any insights you gain from these discussions, and any other sources, which explain how this program might help you prepare for your future. Be sure to discuss any research field you are most interested in. If you do not believe your grades reflect your potential, please explain them in this essay. The formatting of your ESSAY is, in fact, ENTIRELY up to you, but we do have a few suggestions! Try using Times, font size 12, one inch margin all around, TWO pages maximum. Single spacing is fine as long as you use a size 12 font. Any size smaller is too hard to read when one is reading hundreds of essays. CRITICAL: Put your FULL NAME as a footer on every page, along with the page number. Do NOT include your social security number anywhere in your essay or any other document (it is illegal for us to distribute SS#s). And again, upload your essay as a PDF file.
  5. Resume, 1-2 pages: This resume should focus on your scientific achievements and activities. Note any honors and awards that you have received that are relevant, as well as any prior research experience. Put your FULL NAME at the top of your resume. Only upload as a PDF. The often intricate formatting of resumes is sometimes lost when uploaded as a Word document. Again -- do NOT include your social security number anywhere in your resume.
  6. Transcript: We do not require an official transcript as part of your application, just an unofficial document. If you are accepted, we will supply instructions for submitting an official transcript to us expediently. Your internship award will be contingent on your unofficial transcript matching your official transcript.
  7. Recommendation Letters: Two recommendation letters are required for a complete application (only two). Recommenders may submit their letters online until Wednesday, February 21st. You'll enter your recommenders' names and email addresses in your application, and they will receive a secure link via email for uploading their letter. Our Advice! Start getting to know your professors. Ask good questions in class, visit them during office hours, attend after-hours lectures, etc. Even First Year Students can make their mark in class and start on the road to receiving informed, positive recommendation letters. While clearly faculty who know your research potential make for the best recommenders, if you have no previous research experience, then choose those faculty or mentors who know your work ethic best. Recommendation letters do NOT have to be specific to nano-research!
  8. Permanent Residents: If you are a citizen of another country AND a Permanent Resident of the United States, your application must include a copy of both sides of your Green Card. Melanie-Claire will contact you regarding the secure process for submitting your Green Card once she has all your other application materials. (If you are NOT a citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States, then we are sorry to say that you are not eligible for our program.)
  9. Program Dates: Our 2024 program dates are Tuesday, June 4th thru Friday, August 9th. If you need to start the program late or leave early, you MUST put a note in your essay clearly stating that you have a schedule conflict with our program dates, and then we can figure out if it's possible to work around that conflict. It is not an instant death-knell to your application! But if we make you an offer and you admit THEN that you can't make the beginning or end of the program, you may very well be disqualified just for that omission alone. So tell us, up front, in your essay, if you have a scheduling conflict.
  10. Project Summaries: We do not provide exact project information for you to peruse ahead of time. Students are selected for particular projects by the project leader based primarily upon THEIR needs and THEN, the applicant's research preferences (as rated on your application) and experience (as reflected in your essay and recommendations).
  11. Not Eligible: High school students, recent college graduates, and all Cornell University students are NOT eligible for our program.