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GA Position in UT-ORII Science Alliance

The Science Alliance is in need of up to two graduate student mentors for the 2024 SMaRT summer internship program. Mentors will participate in the planning and administration of the SMaRT program and will be provided with a full 12-month graduate assistantship for their efforts. This position will run from January 1 – December 31, 2024.

The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute’s (UT-ORII) Science Alliance and UT Knoxville’s Center for Advanced Materials & Manufacturing (CAMM) and Graduate School recruits ~60 undergraduate interns each year to participate in the Student Mentoring and Research Training (SMaRT) summer internship program, which is a 10-week interdisciplinary research and professional development experience hosted jointly at UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). For more information about the SMaRT program, please visit SMaRT Internships – UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute.

The SMaRT interns are placed in ~3-4-person cohorts and mentored by faculty, research staff, UT-ORII staff and graduate students. Successful applicants to this position will perform critical mentoring functions. The SMaRT graduate assistant mentors’ primary responsibilities are to be a peer mentor to the interns during the summer, ensuring that the students complete a series of professional development and science communication-related tasks (e.g. completion of CV, a scientific poster and a scientific presentation) and to educate students about the steps and skills necessary to complete graduate education. These peer mentors are not expected to provide hands-on research mentorship to the interns during the summer months. Successful applicants will possess a desire to mentor and teach students outside of the laboratory. An understanding of the unique opportunities provided by the partnership with ORNL is needed.

The graduate student mentors’ responsibilities are expected to take ~20 hours/week for the 10 weeks during the summer. In the fall and spring, the mentors will assist in reviewing applications and planning SMaRT activities. These pre- and post-program duties are expected to take no more than 100 total hours over both semesters.

Job Responsibilities

Spring 2024

SMaRT Graduate Student Mentors will:

  • participate in professional development programs and SMaRT planning meetings
  • contribute ideas and assist with planning activities for SMaRT interns
  • assist in the review of intern applications

Summer: May–August

SMaRT Graduate Student Mentors will:

  • support UT-ORII staff/faculty with the day-to-day operations of the program
  • work closely with the SMaRT team and interns for all events, questions, professional development workshops, etc.
  • provide direction and support to interns as they prepare their PowerPoint and poster presentations for the end-of-program symposium


SMaRT Graduate Student Mentors will:

  • participate in program wrap-up and various reporting meetings on campus
  • assist in the review of intern applications


Qualified candidates:

  • must be currently enrolled in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) doctoral program at UT (Required)
  • must be in good standing with both the home department and graduate school
  • must show successful completion of the OPIc speak test at advanced high or superior level, if instruction at prior undergraduate and master’s institutions was not in English (Required)
  • must have strong written and oral communication skills (Required)
  • should have experience presenting posters and seminars (Preferred)
  • should have experience mentoring students (Preferred)
  • should preferably have availability to work all 10 weeks during the summer (Highly Preferred)
  • should have research experience with or related to ORNL (Preferred)


These positions will be provided with a $34,000 annual salary plus benefits, full tuition and fees.

Application Process

Please submit the following to by December 1, 2023:

  • CV
  • cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for being a SMaRT mentor (up to 2 pages)
  • brief description of your research and its connection to joint UT-ORNL efforts (up to 1 page)
  • two or more recommendation letters. (The letters can be sent directly to maintain confidentiality.)

For more positions, please visit the Graduate Assistantships page.