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Access to Opportunities

Smithsonian Internship Program for People with Disabilities

Provide paid internship opportunities annually at the Smithsonian for people with disabilities.  Applicants who are in college or graduate school, or who have graduated within the last 6 months are invited to apply.  Interns will be based in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and must have United States citizenship.  

If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please send inquiries to Krista Flores, Program Specialist, Accessibility Program ( If you have questions concerning the SOLAA application, please go to the Help section on the SOLAA website.

Resources / Partners
Currently, the program is underwritten by generous support from the HSC Foundation. The Smithsonian Accessibility Program’s Central Accommodations Fund will make funds available to interns accepted to this program for interpreters, etc… as appropriate. 

Eligibility Criteria
- The program is open to United States citizens (or permanent residents)
- Declared academic major, concentration, or discipline related to the internship (i.e. someone applying for a history internship, must be a history major, etc.)
 - Enrolled as an undergraduate Junior, Senior, or equivalent in a degree granting program, at an accredited institution (*Just-graduated seniors are eligible to apply, provided their undergraduate graduation date was 6 months before the program start date. Graduate students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applying Through SOLAA (Online Application System)
Use the SOLAA System to Apply Online:
   1) Register for SOLAA
   2) Select “Internship”
   3) Select “Access to Opportunities”

E-mail address for documents that are unable to be uploaded:
with subject line, Access to Opportunities

Application Materials
- Application
- Resume
- Academic essay: 2 pages describing how academic goals, qualifications, and career aspirations relate to the internship at the Smithsonian, and how your disability has influenced your academic pursuits and career goals.
- Unofficial academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
- 2 Letters of recommendation from professors or teachers; if preferred, a reference can e-mail the letter directly to .  All letters are kept confidential.  Applicants are not allowed access to letters.

Application Deadline
Application materials must be received by March 15th of the cycle year.  Applications received before March 15th are given priority consideration; Applications received after the deadline are reviewed on a case-by-case, rolling basis subject to available funds.

A modest stipend pro-rated based upon hours is awarded to the student.  Stipend payments are distributed every two weeks through a direct deposit via the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships.

Selection Criteria

  1. At least a 3.0 GPA in the major (as verified by the submission of academic transcripts)
  2. Demonstrated interest in the research and museological activities of the Smithsonian Institution
  3. Demonstrated research skills, attention to detail
  4. Match with student interest and available Smithsonian projects. Currently, our Summer intern projects. 

Dates and Locations
Internship appointment tenure dates will vary based upon student availability and supervisor need.  Full-time internships (40 hours per week) last 10 weeks; part-time internships are 20 weeks.  General cycles are summer (mid-May through mid-August) and fall (mid-September through mid-December).  The Smithsonian facilities for this program will be located in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland, and Virginia.

Final Report & Evaluation
Interns are required to submit a 3-4 page report to SCEMS ( ) summarizing their internship activities upon completion of their internship, and complete an evaluation questionnaire. 

Housing and Transportation
Interns are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation.  Many universities rent out dorm space during summer to interns.  No parking is available at the Smithsonian for interns.  Public transportation, rail and bus, is located very close to the internship sites.  The Smithsonian assumes no liability for intern housing.

Intern Policies

    • Interns must complete a pre-appointment Security Background Investigation.  Interns cannot be accepted into the program until they complete and successfully pass this investigation.  The investigation includes fingerprinting and a criminal background investigation conducted by the Office of Personnel Security at the Smithsonian.
    • All accepted Smithsonian interns must sign and complete an Internship Registration Form and Copyright Agreement.  Completion of Photographic Release and Background Survey Questionnaire is optional, but encouraged.
    • Interns must complete an on-line Computer Security Training and sign a User-Agreement Form when they begin in order to have access to Smithsonian e-mail and computers.
    • Interns must read and sign a document pertaining to the prevention of workplace harassment.
    • Interns must furnish their social security number and date of birth to the Office of Personnel Security in order to obtain a security credential.
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