NCSA SPIN—Students Pushing Innovation

NCSA has a history of nurturing innovative concepts, and some of the best ideas have come from highly motivated, creative undergraduate. The SPIN (Students Pushing Innovation) internship program was launched to provide University of Illinois undergraduates with the opportunity to apply their skills to real challenges in high-performance computing, data analysis and visualization, cybersecurity, and other areas of interest to NCSA.

News about SPIN


Any University of Illinois undergraduate student in good academic standing can apply. The SPIN internships are not restricted to students in certain majors or those who have reached senior status. That means, first-year students can apply, international students can apply, art majors can apply. All students are eligible!

NOTE: Students who are graduating in May 2016 are not eligible for SPIN.

Yes. As a student you can have multiple jobs on campus, but University policy limits the total number of hours you are allowed to work per week.

Internships are available either during the summer for an 8-week period or for the full academic year (fall and spring semesters). In some cases, students can be offered internships for both the summer and academic year. Students are expected to be able to commit to work the full time period of their internship.

Yes, in some cases interns can return the following academic year. If you are interested, discuss this possibility with your mentor.

All NCSA SPIN interns are paid $12.50/hour.

SPIN interns will be paid as undergraduate hourly employees. They will track their work hours using NCSA's web-based time reporting system and will receive bi-weekly payments throughout the semester.

You will establish a schedule with your mentor/supervisor, but certain rules apply to all student employees:

  • Students must work during NCSA's standard business hours (Monday-Friday, generally between 8 am and 5 pm).
  • Students and are not permitted to work on holidays and weekends.
  • Students are not allowed to work remotely; all hours logged must be on site at NCSA.
  • The University limits undergraduate students to 20 hours of work per week. If you have multiple jobs on campus, you can work no more than 20 combined hours per week when school is in session .

There are several steps that every new University employee must complete through the NESSIE New Hire online system. Once awarded an NCSA internship, you will receive an email from NCSA Human Resources with instructions and a link to start your new hire checklist; NCSA HR staff will work with you to answer any questions you have and to help you complete all the necessary electronic paperwork, both from the University and from NCSA.

ALL people hired at the University—in fact, all people hired in the United States—must complete an I-9 form to verify their employment eligibility. Part of completing this form involves presenting the NCSA Human Resources staff with documents that give evidence of your identity and authorization to work. A list of acceptable documents is available on the last page of the I-9 form; most people present their driver's license and Social Security card.

You also will need to complete Form W-2.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You CANNOT begin work until your NESSIE new hire steps are completed.

You will discuss your work schedule with your mentor, and your mentor will introduce you to NCSA colleagues and will explain the project you will be working on and what your responsibilities will be.

NCSA building

SPIN interns share a workspace at the NCSA Building (1205 W. Clark St., Urbana).

All interns will be provided with a workspace and appropriate computer systems. Pens, notebooks, Post-Its and other office supplies are also available. If you need something, ask your mentor!

For students receiving paid internships, their work product is considered a "work for hire" and is owned by the University.

For students not receiving paid internships, the work product is likely owned by the student, as set forth in the Policy for "Ownership of Intellectual Property Created by Students."

Most of the software NCSA develops is open-source and is posted to the GitHub repository.

The application form asks a few questions about you, what you would like to work on as an intern, and we ask that you upload your resume. PDFs are preferred, but you can also upload a Word doc.