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What does DEVELOP look for in a participant?

DEVELOP looks for participants that have a positive attitude, passion, and interest in Earth science and service to society. Successful participants are open minded, interested in working with others, flexible, and eager to learn.

What can I expect to gain from DEVELOP?

DEVELOP is a unique opportunity and each participant benefits differently. Generally, participants can expect to enhance their personal and professional development. Participants are given the opportunity to improve their skill sets in science communication, technical writing, poster and oral presentation design, video creation, research, collaboration, technical capabilities, and networking, to name a few.

May I take leave during the term?

DEVELOP participants are expected to be present the full 10 weeks during a term. Participants not available the full 10 weeks may not be accepted due to the fast-paced nature of the program and project requirements.

Can I get school credit for my project?

Some universities may offer credit for projects with DEVELOP. Participants interested in receiving credit for their project will need to make arrangements with their school to make sure the project meets any necessary requirements. Prior to the start of the term, participants interested in pursuing school credit can outline and communicate any school requirements to their Lead for consideration. It is the student's responsibility to meet deadlines and ensure all paperwork is completed to fulfill the requirements. 

How much will I be paid?

DEVELOP participants are employed as part-time temporary employees under Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. (AMA)  Participants are paid on an hourly basis. Rates are based on current level of education, applicant classification, and locality. For inquiries regarding hourly pay rates, please email the National Program Office at stating your current education level, applicant classification, and location(s) to which you would apply for rate information. If applying for virtual opportunities, please include the city and state you would telework from. 

Does DEVELOP provide housing or cover living expenses?

Participants selected for an in-person opportunity are responsible for their own housing, living expenses, and transportation to and from their DEVELOP office. All DEVELOP positions are paid by locality, which if selected, can help cover costs incurred. 


eligibility Questions

What kind of experience does DEVELOP require participants to have?

DEVELOP accepts interdisciplinary participants with skills in many different areas and levels. Participants with a strong interest in Earth sciences, geography, environmental science, computer science, GIS, technology, environmental policy, remote sensing, and related social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. No previous experience is required in these areas, just an eagerness and interest to learn.

Do I need to be located at a DEVELOP location to work with DEVELOP?

Participants selected for an in-person opportunity will be required to work on-site at their selected location for the duration of the term. DEVELOP also offers virtual projects, which provide an opportunity where participants do not need to be located at a DEVELOP location to participate. Selected participants for both in-person and virtual opportunities will be required to work within the 50 United States and/or Washington D.C. for the duration of the 10-week term. Virtual participants are not authorized to work remotely from U.S. territories or international locations. You are able to identify your preferred work environment(s) and preferred work location(s) during the application process. Please note which projects are offered in-person and which are offered virtually in the proposed project list posted during the application window on the “Apply to DEVELOP” page, here.  

What are the GPA requirements?

Participants must have and maintain a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) to apply. This GPA can be the cumulative and/or most recent semester.

What is the time commitment required during the term?

DEVELOP participants are expected to commit 20-29 hours per week throughout the term. Scheduling is coordinated within office hours of the node and the participant's availability.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

You must be a U.S. citizen (by birth or naturalization) to apply to a DEVELOP location at a NASA Center or the NOAA NCEI location. Permanent Resident Alien (PRA) or Legal Residents are considered non-U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply to DEVELOP in-person opportunities at regional locations and all virtual opportunities, which are listed on the “Apply to DEVELOP” page under the 'Non-U.S. Citizen Applicants' section. Acceptances for non-U.S. citizens are conditional upon either proof of a pre-obtained visa and approved CPT/OPT that will allow them to legally work within the U.S. or documentation that establishes both identity and employment authorization presented as acceptable List A I-9 documents. DEVELOP does not sponsor visa applications or file petitions with U.S. Immigration.  For more information regarding non-U.S. citizen guidelines, please click here.

Do I need to re-apply to work an additional term?

Yes. All new, as well as returning applicants interested in being considered for another term, must re-apply to the program.  

How many terms am I eligible to apply to DEVELOP?

There is no limit on the number of terms a participant can re-apply as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.


Application procesS Questions

Which application should I fill out?

The New Participant Portal is for applicants who have never been accepted and participated in the DEVELOP Program before, as well as for those participants who participated in the program more than a year ago (previous 3 terms) from the current application window. The Previous Participant Portal is for applicants who were previously selected and participated in the DEVELOP National Program at one of the locations within the last year (previous 3 terms) from the current application window. The Previous Participant Application focuses on the experience the applicant had during their time at DEVELOP.  If you are eligible for the program, you will receive an application portal link to the new or returning participant application, based on your responses to the eligibility questions. Please ensure you have answered all questions within the eligibility portal. If all questions have been answered and you do not immediately receive an application portal link following submission, then you are currently not eligible to apply to the DEVELOP Program. 

Do I need to fill out the entire application in one sitting?

It is recommended for applicants to review the application questions on the “Apply to DEVELOP” homepage to prepare your responses prior to starting your application, and then copy and paste your responses into the application form. However, applicants are able to save their applications as a draft, exit the site, and return later to continue working on it. At the bottom of each page, there are options to “Save Draft” and “Save.” To return to your draft application, you will use the login information you initially created in the application portal to log back in.

Will the application save as I fill it out?

Applicants are able to save their applications at any point by clicking on the “Save Draft” button at the bottom of the page. Applicants can save their applications as a draft, exit the site, and return later to continue working on it. At the bottom of each page, there are options to “Save Draft” and “Save.” To return to your draft application, you will use the login information you initially created in the application portal.  

Which applicant classification should I select?

Your applicant classification should reflect your status as of the start of the term you are applying for. If you will be currently enrolled in school, select “Currently Enrolled Student.” If you have graduated within the past two years, select “Recent Graduate.” If you graduated more than two years ago and have been working for at least two years in a professional environment, select “Early/Transitioning Career Professional.”

What is the process for recommenders to submit their responses?

New applicants will list the names and email addresses of two recommenders. Once the applicant saves the recommendation form section, an email will automatically be sent to the recommenders with a link to a recommendation form for them to access and fill out in regards to the applicant. Then, the recommendation form will be electronically submitted and attached to the candidate’s application.

When are recommendation forms due?

Recommendation forms are due to be submitted by the recommender two weeks after the application window closes. The actual date will be included in the email sent to the recommenders, as well as posted on the DEVELOP Apply page.

How do I know if my recommendation forms were submitted?

An applicant can confirm submission of their recommenders’ forms by logging back into the applicant portal, opening the recommendation section, and checking the status of the recommendation forms.

How can I change one of my recommenders?

If one of your recommenders is unable to submit a letter on your behalf, you may log back into the applicant portal, open the recommendation section of your application, and edit your recommenders. You can delete a recommender and add a new one (maximum of five), or you can re-send the email to the recommender. Reminder emails can only be sent once every 24 hours. The recommendation section can be edited up until the recommendation form deadline (two weeks after the application deadline).

How do I submit my application?

All applicants must complete the profile, eligibility, application, and short essay sections. New participant applicants must also complete the recommendation section. Once all sections are complete, the applicant must click the green “Submit” button. Once the application is successfully submitted, you will only be able to view your application, you will no longer be able to edit it. A confirmation email will be sent to the personal email address entered within your application once your application is submitted.

What time does the application window close?

The online application will close at 11:59pm ET on the last day of the window provided on the “Apply to DEVELOP” page. Once the application window deadline has passed, applications will not be accepted for review. There are no exceptions to this rule. 

I submitted my application, now what?

Interviews are only scheduled after all applications have been received and reviewed. Due to the highly competitive nature of DEVELOP, not all candidates are selected for interviews. If selected for an interview, you will be contacted by email to schedule an interview. Interviews typically take place either by phone or video and last 30-45 minutes. When selections are made, applicants will be notified of their selection status by email. This process is done on a rolling basis, so while a tentative timeline will be communicated to applicants, it can vary.


Project Questions

What will I work on at DEVELOP?

The DEVELOP experience is focused on both conducting and communicating an applied Earth science feasibility project. Participants should expect to spend their time engaged in literature review on the scope, methodologies, and types of NASA remote-sensing data applicable to their project. They will utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote-sensing data to conduct application projects. Teams will communicate with partner organizations that can benefit from the methodologies, results, and enhanced decision-making tools created by the team. A substantial amount of time is spent on the creation of professional deliverables, including a poster, presentation, technical report, and video, as the program puts an emphasis on building capacity to communicate project results to a variety of audiences. Participants also partake in personal development activities like personality typing, team building exercises, as well as networking with their team, advisors, and partner organizations.

How long do projects last?

DEVELOP offers three project terms per year – spring, summer, and fall. Each term lasts 10 weeks, with the spring term beginning in late January, summer term beginning in early June, and the fall term beginning in mid-September. All project deliverables are created within the 10-week timeframe.

Who will I work on these projects with?

Participants are placed on interdisciplinary teams ranging in size from three to six participants. The team works under the guidance of a NASA or partner organization mentor and science advisor, DEVELOP management at their location, and the DEVELOP National Program Office. Meetings are scheduled between the teams and mentor(s) as needed, as well as with Fellows who support teams as they create their deliverables.

What research areas do the projects cover?

Participants conduct predetermined projects that fall within at least one of the following thematic areas: Agriculture, Climate, Disasters, Ecological Conservation, Energy, Health & Air Quality, Transportation & Infrastructure, Urban Development, Water Resources, and Wildland Fires. 


Still have questions?

For questions regarding the application process, please refer to the online application's FAQs. If you were not able to find the answer you were looking for, please, contact us at We'll do our best to help!