Future Of Research in Climate, Earth and Energy (FORCEE)

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Sandia’s Future Of Research in Climate, Earth and Energy (FORCEE) Intern Institute offers highly motivated students the opportunity to pursue their passion for taking on challenges in decarbonization, infrastructure modernization, earth sciences, climate change, and many other related topics/issues while working side-by-side with world experts at the DOE’s leading engineering R&D laboratory.

Our goal is to enrich delivery in Sandia’s mission space by harmonizing anticipatory science and technology needs of the nation with the enthusiasm, fresh insights and ambitions of student researchers interested in challenging climate, earth and energy problems, and develop their skills as the next generation of high-impact climate, earth, and energy researchers.

Students are offered hands-on, flexible, challenging, interesting, and cutting-edge research opportunities while being mentored by Sandia National Laboratories scientists and engineers. These hands-on experiences are supplemented with technical seminars and facility tours which expose students to the broad range of engineering and scientific disciplines represented at Sandia. Student interns are provided the opportunity, and are encouraged, to present their work and accomplishments to their peers and the Sandia scientific community every August. In some cases students are asked to present their work at professional conferences.

What You Gain

  • Participating in research solutions to some of the nation’s and world’s biggest challenges
  • Hands on research and data collection experience
  • Mentoring from Sandia National Laboratories staff
  • Exposure to the many career/research opportunities at Sandia National Laboratories
  • Networking opportunities with peers and staff

Project Types

Potential Sandia research centers available to FORCEE student interns include, but are not limited to:

The Climate Change Security Center focuses Sandia’s expertise to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The Center consists of both the Earth Sciences and the Renewable Energy groups and has responsibility for leading climate strategy development for all of Sandia, overseeing the Earth Sciences Research Foundation, and managing laboratory and field work.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Grid Modernization Center provides technical solutions to ensure our nation’s strength and security. We help the nation utilize and balance energy from all sources, improve the cradle-to-grave management of each energy source, and improve environmental stewardship.

Mission programs that FORCEE directly supports are:

  • Advanced Science & Technology
  • Energy & Homeland Security
  • Global Security
  • Nuclear Deterrence
  • National Security Programs

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Support Research and Development for Earth Science potentially including Geophysics, Geotechnology, Atmospheric Science, Geomechanics, Geochemistry, Geothermal Energy and subsurface technologies
  • Analyze electric power transmission and distribution systems
  • Design of protection systems for grids with high penetrations of renewable energy
  • Develop new optimization algorithms to improve the resilience of the electric power to natural and man-made threats
  • Develop new control algorithms to improve grid stability with high penetrations of renewable energy
  • Analyze electricity market data to identify potential value streams for energy storage
  • Investigate behind-the-meter applications for energy storage and contribute to energy storage case studies
  • Develop python code for an open source energy storage valuation tool
  • Develop new techniques for evaluating transmission planning scenarios that include energy storage and large penetrations of renewable generation
  • Design power electronics to interface to different energy storage technologies

Past FORCEE Student Projects

  • Decision-Making for Major Power Grid Contingencies
  • Data Imputation Analysis for AMI Data
  • Detection of Phase Changes and Other Distribution System Events via the Spectral Clustering Ensemble Phase Identification Algorithm and Other Change Point Detection Methods
  • Power Grid Resilience: Cascading Failure Simulation and Black-Start Optimization
  • Plotting Cavern Leaching within the SPR
  • Calibrating Leo Brady Seismic Data
  • Data Analysis and Climate Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
  • Hamiltonian Monte Carlo inversion of seismic sources with a component-varying source-time function 
  • Image Segmentation and Pore Network Analysis of 3D Geo Images
  • BatteryArchive.org – Insights From a Public Repository for Visualization, Analysis, and Comparison of Battery Data Across Institutions 
  • Methane Gas Prediction in Arctic Sediments along Alaska’s North Slope
  • Energy Storage Peaker Plant Replacement: Battery Sizing and Control
  • Disaster Resilience Planning: A Nexus Approach
  • Extending Energy-Water modeling in Communities to Consider Trust and Environmental Justice
  • Generating data-informed expected energy models for photovoltaic systems
  • Assessment of Leak Frequencies in Compressed Natural Gas Systems
  • HEPA filters -is air purifier efficiency related to location
  • Tight coupling of multicomponent simulations in PFLOTRAN.

Program Details

LocationNew Mexico
When OfferedYear Round
DisciplineAtmospheric Science
Computer Science
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Infrastructure Engineering
Optical Engineering
Systems Engineering
Materials Science
Desired SkillsCritical thinking
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Experience with laboratory and/or field procedures and protocols
Machine learning analysis
Programming (e.g., MATLAB, Python, or R) Proficiency with modern computer languages (e.g. PYTHON, R, MATLAB, C/C++, FORTRAN-XX, MPI, Jupyter)
Signal Processing
Strong Data analysis skills

Application procedure

  1. Use Sandia’s Careers tool to create a username and password.
  2. Enter “FORCEE” into the Keywords text field, and click Search.
  3. Browse the list of FORCEE intern openings.
  4. Complete an online application for a specific intern opening

Detailed instructions for using Sandia’s Career tool to apply for a position are also available.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

Sandia invites you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law, EEO is the Law Poster Supplement, and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Sandia is a drug-free workplace. As a national laboratory funded by a U.S. government agency, we are subject to federal laws regarding illegal drug use. Illegal use of a controlled substance, including marijuana even in places where it does not violate state law, may impact your ability to obtain and/or maintain a Department of Energy security clearance, and may result in the withdrawal of an employment offer or termination of employment.