Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Justin Filiberto

Student Intern Kyra Cutler and Dr. Justin Filiberto analyzing Venus analog materials by Visible Near Infrared Spectroscopy.

Tips for submitting a competitive internship application are available here.

Q: How many times can I participate in the LPI Summer Internship Program?
A: If selected, the applicant may only participate in the LPI Summer Internship Program once. Participants in the 2020 Virtual Summer Seminars are still eligible to apply, as long as other criteria are still met.

Q. Is the program open to non-U.S. citizens?
A: Applicants can be either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals. However, due to the fluid situation caused by the current global pandemic, foreign national applicants should monitor U.S. travel restrictions and entry requirements.

Q. If I am a naturalized citizen, can I still apply?
A: Yes, a naturalized citizen can apply. You will need to claim when and where you were naturalized on your application and provide an original document. Failure to do so can delay the badging process and prevent any work at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Q: If I am a permanent resident, can I still apply?
A: Yes, you will need to claim your citizen status on your application and provide your original permanent resident card.

Q: If I have a parent who is a U.S. citizen, am I eligible to apply?
A: The citizenship of your parents does not classify you as a U.S. citizen.

Q: Where should my school send my official transcript?
A: Transcripts should be sent to:

LPI Summer Intern Program
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston, TX 77058-1113

Note: Please add your application number from the online application, if known.

Q: Do you accept electronic transcripts?
A: Yes, electronic transcripts are accepted from participating colleges and universities. All official electronic transcripts should be sent directly from the college or the college’s vendors. All electronic transcripts should be emailed to: internprogram@lpi.usra.edu.

Q: Are graduates and students already holding a bachelor's degree eligible to participate in the program?
A: While we do consider the applications of undergraduate students in their final year of study, they are not the main focus of the program. To be eligible, applicants should be currently enrolled and pursuing a bachelor’s degree the semester before the start of the internship.

Q: What does the REAL ID Act require?
A: For more information on the REAL ID Act, please visit the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

Q: I attend a university that is not located within the United States, and I am having trouble entering my GPA. What should I do?
A: Most international universities probably do not use the U.S. university typical 4.0 GPA. You will need to ask your registrar’s office how your grading system translates into a 4.0 scale. Enter the number they provide for you in the appropriate field on the application.

Q: Can I submit my application before receiving my recommendations?
A: Yes, your application can be submitted before receiving your recommendations.

Q: Who should write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?
A: We encourage you to find individuals who can illustrate your qualifications, character, and any experience that is relevant to this internship.

Q: What are your requirements for letters of recommendation?
A: The LPI Summer Intern Program requires three letters of recommendation. Detailed instructions are included in the application. It is preferred that letters of recommendation be submitted from faculty at a student’s current institution; however, recommendations may be submitted by other relevant persons. Examples of relevant recommendations include: teaching assistants, academic advisors, faculty from an institution previously attended, professors, employers/supervisors who can speak of your relevant experience/credentials/academic potential, etc.

Q: Can I mail in my letter of recommendation if my recommender has already written it?
A: No, we no longer accept hard copies of letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must be attached to the application electronically.

Q: Can recommendations be sent by e-mail?
A: No, recommenders must use the electronic process. A URL unique to your application will be sent to the individuals you selected to submit a recommendation on your behalf. Each person writing a recommendation for you will complete the online recommendation form and submit it electronically. This is the only way to ensure that your recommendations are properly linked with your application.

Q: What should I do if my recommender does not receive the system-generated message requesting my recommendation?
A: If the system-generated email request for a recommendation is not received by recommenders, please check that their email addresses are entered correctly on the application or advise recommenders to check their email filter settings. Depending on these filter settings, the recommendation request email message might have been received into a “Trash” or “Spam” message inbox. Recommenders will receive the Recommender Request via the email internprogram@lpi.usra.edu and to ensure delivery, they may also consider adding this email address to their safe recipient list.

Q: Will I be penalized if my recommendation is sent in late?
A: All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted on or before the application deadline. Recommenders must submit their letters using the online form. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Q: Can I delete a recommendation and replace it with another?
A: You cannot delete a recommendation once it has been received by the online system.

Q: If I missed the application deadline, can I still apply?
A: No, but we encourage you to apply next year.

Q: Where will the internship be located?
A: Given the uncertainty resulting from the ongoing global pandemic, the 2021 internship program is expected to have a virtual component. Although we hope to provide some onsite internships, the need may arise to host fully virtual projects. Selected participants will be notified in March 2021 of the internship platform. Should onsite projects move forward, interns will be located either at the Lunar and Planetary Institute or the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Q: Can participants start the 10-week internship after the program start date?
A: The start date of the program is somewhat flexible, but we strongly encourage the applicant to accommodate the program schedule.

Q: Am I allowed to take days off during my internship?
A: You are expected to guarantee your presence for the entire duration of your internship in order to maintain the maximum continuity in the program. However, an absence is permitted for a few valid reasons including illness and binding personal and academic commitments. If you plan to be absent for an extended period of time or for any of the aforementioned reasons, promptly notify your advisor and program coordinator.

Q: What is the dress code?
A: Should an onsite program be possible in 2021, the dress code is business-casual, conservative, and work-appropriate. No shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, workout gear, and extremely casual attire are allowed.

Q: Do interns have to report stipends to the IRS?
A: It is the responsibility of interns to report their stipend earnings to the IRS. The LPI cannot offer any specific guidance on how to file taxes. Please refer to irs.gov for specific instructions.

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