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Oak Ridge Science Semester

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

From current cutting-edge scientific research in energy and environmental issues, reaching back to its history as a pivotal element of the Manhattan Project in World War II, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is recognized as a leader in scientific and technological research.  Located in Oak Ridge Tennessee, and managed by the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Batelle, scientists and engineers conduct basic and applied research in a wide variety of fields.  As the Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, their mission to advance the nation’s energy resources, environmental quality, and scientific knowledge provides an exciting and intellectually stimulating setting for science students looking to do rigorous research.

The Oak Ridge Science Semester (ORSS) enables students to join ongoing investigations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in research areas as diverse as astrophysics, cell biology, DNA sequencing, genetic mutagenesis, parallel computing, robotics, toxicology, and much more. In their research, ORSS student participants use the sophisticated resources available at the Laboratory, including supercomputers, state-of-the-art electron microscopes, lasers, and analytical instruments such as a fourier transform mass spectrometer and a scanning tunneling microscope.  Participants in this fall semester program join one of the research groups at ORNL, with a scientist from the ORNL staff serving as a mentor.  This research experience, using the Laboratory's sophisticated resources, is the core of the program.  Students are expected to contribute significantly to the design and methodological approach of their research activity, and often find this the most demanding and rewarding experience of their college careers.

Unlike most off-campus programs, students receive significant funding to participate, including a $6,800 stipend (contingent on funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and/or ORNL) and a $1,800 housing allowance to cover living expenses.  For the duration of the semester, students are housed in an apartment complex in Oak Ridge.  The Oak Ridge Science Semester is administered by Denison University and is recognized by ACM and the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).

For more detailed information, please use the links located on the left-hand side of this page or visit the Denison ORSS page.

Quick Facts

  • Term: Fall semester
  • Language prerequisite: None
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Living arrangements: Apartment

Application deadlines

Fall semester 2014

Final deadline: March 1, 2014

Fall semester 2015

Final deadline: March 1, 2015

If the deadline has passed and you are interested in applying, contact the ACM Office immediately. Late applications may be accepted on a space-available basis.

Program contacts

Lindsey Wolf
Program Associate

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312.561.5908
lwolf@acm.edu

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Publications & Resources

Oak Ridge Science Semester brochure

Oak Ridge Science Semester

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Lee Pedzisa The Oak Ridge Science Semester was an amazing and extremely rewarding experience for me. I had the opportunity to participate in world-class research with some of the top researchers in the country. The researchers took the time to explain the goal of the project but even more, they explained what graduate school life is like. From this experience, I was further prepared for research in graduate school and I also got a publication from our work. Oak Ridge provided me with more than just a great intellectual adventure, but I also made strong ties with other students in my program. If I could do it again, I would participate in the Oak Ridge Science Semester.

—Lee Pedzisa, Oak Ridge Science Semester, Fall 2008

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