IceCube high school internship program launches in Madison, WI

Students working together on an LED activity.

The Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) is pleased to announce a student internship program for high school students in the Madison, Wisconsin area. WIPAC interns will work with astrophysicists who support projects like the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole and HAWC, the High Altitude Water Cherenkov in the mountains of Mexico.

Interns will get to participate in real-world physics experiments, learn how to write computer programs, get to know working astrophysicists, and contribute to data processing. All interested students are encouraged to apply; no physics or programming background is necessary.

“I love interning at WIPAC because of how much I learn. You don’t do the regular intern, ‘Get coffee, sort these papers,’ kind of work. You actually get to contribute to data collection,” says current intern Maggie Beheler-Amass, a junior at Mt. Horeb High School.

Download the application here. Spring 2013 internship positions are scheduled for Thursday afternoons from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, and the program runs from February 28 to May 23. Spring interns may have the option to extend into the summer.

WIPAC is part of the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The main focus of the center is neutrino astronomy. Neutrinos are mysterious, nearly massless subatomic particles. IceCube, WIPAC’s main instrument, searches the Universe for neutrinos from astrophysical sources: crazy things like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, black holes, and neutron stars.

Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, a WIPAC post doctoral fellow and the internship coordinator, explains that she started the program because “High school is a time to start expanding your horizons. The more exposure you can get to many possible careers, the better. Also, students are often bored in high school. They may not be challenged enough or just don’t see the point of learning all the math and science. This is an opportunity to see where a strong background in those fields can lead you.”

Joining WIPAC gives you the opportunity to participate in real-world physics experiments and make connections. Applications are due by February 07.