Our mission is to provide real-world experience for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in a research institute that addresses advanced technology to sense and understand natural and human-made environments.

Preparing Students for the Future

More than 30 Michigan Tech students, along with other university and high school students in the lower Michigan region, have completed summer internships at MTRI. Internships work on real projects with experienced scientists and learn how to use their talents in a team environment.

  • Tasks are varied and include field data collection, image processing, programming, data analysis, contributing to reports, and presenting results to colleagues.
  • Opportunities to learn more about various scientific and technical disciplines include work with MTRI sponsors such as EPA, GLOS, NIH, USGS, USFWS, NASA, US BLM, USDOT, MDOT, and DoD.
  • Compensation for interns is an hourly wage based on schooling and other experience.

Computation, Engineering, and Information Sciences Groups

We are seeking qualified candidates with the following background/coursework:

  • Excellent analytical abilities: Mathematics (calculus and linear algebra) with advanced math courses being a plus; statistics and probability (basic courses) with advanced statistics courses being a plus; electrical engineering and/or physics
  • Experience with signal processing concepts (e.g., discrete Fourier transforms) is preferred
  • Currently pursuing or recently received a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree, with preference to those in mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering, or computer science
  • Comfortable working within Windows PC and Linux environments, and familiar with MS Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
  • Skill editing publications and preparing reports/PowerPoint briefings is preferred
  • Experience with programming, such as MATLAB, Python, C, etc., is preferred
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis software (R, SAS, JMP) is helpful
  • Familiarity with shell language programming (Linux or Unix) is helpful
  • Ability to obtain a DoD (Department of Defense) security clearance, which requires US citizenship, and no dual citizenship with any other country

Physical Sciences Group

The physical sciences group is seeking qualified candidates with the following background/coursework:

  • Experience with major remote sensing and GIS software, such as ERDAS Imagine, ENVI, eCognition, ESRI ArcGIS, and QGIS
  • Familiarity with spatial concepts, including the workflow of preparing and analyzing remotely sensed imagery
  • Skills with editing publications, preparing reports, and cartographic production
  • Experience with webpage creation and editing
  • Comfortable working within a Windows PC environment and familiar with MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint). Linux experience is helpful
  • Experience with programming (such as Python, C++, MATLAB)
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis and statistics software (R, SPSS, JMP)
  • Currently pursuing or recently received a bachelor’s or master’s degree, with preference to those in environmental/Earth science, electrical or environmental engineering, or computer science. Recent graduates are also encouraged to apply.
  • Ability to obtain a DoD security clearance, which requires US citizenship, and no dual citizenship with any other country


To be eligible for an Internship, you must:

  • Be a student or recent graduate in good standing at an accredited college or university.
  • Be majoring or received a degree in a field appropriate to the job opening.
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent.
  • Be a US citizen and not a dual citizen.

Interns in the Field

Intern working in a lab.
MTRI Interns work alongside researchers on project sites and assist in other important aspects of our work.

North American Boreal Peatlands Assessment

Interns Anne Santa Maria and Erik Boren spent the summer in Alberta, Canada, as field-based interns assisting the Vulnerability of North American Boreal Peatlands to Interactions between Climate, Hydrology, and Wildland Fires project. The project goal is to understand how interactions between climate, hydrology and the fire regime impact ecosystem processes and carbon cycling in boreal peatlands.


Field teams assisted the Radar Detection and Monitoring of Invasive Phragmites in the Coastal Great Lakes project. The team collected data on vegetation type, density, and height, as well as water condition measurements at 286 locations throughout the basin. These field measurements help to provide accurate identification of ecosystem types when classifying the PALSAR imagery.

Intern making notes on a clipboard.

Great Lakes Water Monitoring

Interns assist MTRI staff by research the Great Lakes in many ways, including mapping Cladophora extent and estimate biomass for the entire US and Canadian nearshore region in the four lower Great Lakes, and developing a satellite algorithm for the retrieval of chlorophyll, Dissolved Organic Carbon, and Suspended Minerals for the Great Lakes. Interns also helped support ecosystem restoration and protection efforts in five pilot tributaries in the Great Lakes.

Intern on a boat.

Remote Sensing Bridge Conditions

Student interns assisted researchers from the University and Institute to use remote sensing technologies to monitor the condition of bridgesto help improve inspection and repair efficiency. They used thermal infrared and 3D optics systems to scan bridges to help determine the condition based on possible delaminations, spalling, and other distresses, both visible and not visible at the surface.

Mapping Unpaved Roads Locations and Condition

The Michigan Tech team (MTRI and Michigan Tech Transportation Institute) are working with US DOT/RITA to design and develop a remote sensing system to extend the available commercial remote sensing and spatial information tools to enhance an unpaved road assessment system. Interns assist with evaluating both manned and unmanned aerial systems.

USFWS Midwest Wetlands Assessment

Interns helped MTRI researchers perform an accuracy assessment on a classification of wetlands in Iowa. The classification is an update to the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) performed by St Mary's University of Minnesota. MTRI was also tasked with developing improved accuracy assessment methods and classification methodology.

Four interns on a deck with wetlands in the background.

Increased Fire in Tundra Regions of North America

Interns assisted in a project that used remote sensing and GIS to monitor changes in climate change and increased impacts to tundra including: 

  • Mapping historic tundra fires across the Arctic
  • Searching for evidence of fires in Canadian tundra in summer 2010
  • Monitoring tundra fires across the arctic region in 2011
  • Assisting with preparation and logistics for field trip to assess effects of 2010 fire in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska