Los Alamos National LaboratoryEngineering Institute
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The 22nd Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School

Focusing on the multi-disciplinary field of dynamics, spanning electrical, mechanical, structural and cyber-physical systems.


  • Institute Director
  • Charles Farrar
  • (505) 665-0860
  • Email
  • Program Administrator
  • Ellie Vigil
  • (505) 667-2818
  • Email
  • Institute Administrator
  • Yvonne John
  • (505) 412-9518
  • Email
“The program .... was one of the highlights of my life - I learned a lot and lived a lot, and it definitely made an impact on who I am today. It makes me happy that other individuals have the same (if not better now) opportunity to attend as I did.”- Dave, past student

LADSS students in Abiquiu, NM

Program Description

The Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School is a paid summer internship that focuses a select group of students on the multi-disciplinary field of dynamics, spanning electrical, mechanical, structural and cyber-physical systems*. The students’ research will be applied to creating solutions to Los Alamos National Laboratory mission-relevant problems defined by Los Alamos National Laboratory R&D engineers and scientists. In addition to this research component, the LADSS also offers formal technical and career –development tutorials.

*Cyber-physical systems are defined by the National Science Foundation as “engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components”


The program is designed for 21 upper division (rising Senior) undergraduate students to first-year graduate students. High quality students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds are sought to participate. Acceptance into the program is based on academic record and letters of recommendation. As a general guideline, students should have sufficient academic achievement that they are, or will be, eligible for graduate school. A variety of academic disciplines are being sought, including computer science, aerospace/mechanical/nuclear/electrical/civil engineering, and mathematics/statistics. This program is limited to US citizens.


The students will be placed into 3-person multi-disciplinary teams, assigned a research activity to be completed in an intense 10-week time frame, and partnered with Los Alamos National Laboratory staff members as mentors. The projects typically have a modeling, experimental and analysis component. The goal is for the students to produce results and document their activities in a manner suitable for reporting at professional conferences. The summer school students will prepare a paper for and present their research results at an international conference taking place the following winter.


Students will participate in weekly tutorials on various aspects of dynamic system engineering and cyber-physical systems such as signal processing, modeling dynamic systems, system identification, embedded systems, model validation, nonlinear systems, and machine learning. In most cases the students will apply the material presented in these tutorials to their respective projects.

In addition to the research-focused tutorials, students are presented with professional development lectures that cover applying to graduate school and applying for graduate fellowships. Over the past 18 years, 62 LADSS alumni have competed for and won highly competitive and prestigious National Science Foundation and National Defense graduate fellowships.


In lieu of salaries, the students will be provided with a fellowship that is intended to also cover relocation and housing expenses. Fellowship amounts range from $7,500 to $11,500, depending on academic status and the point of origin for the student’s travel to Los Alamos National Laboratory. Fellowship amounts are intended to be comparable to 10-weeks of salary plus travel expenses to and from the school. To get an idea of your possible fellowship payment, you can check the salary rate tables (PDF) for student employees. Please be sure to look at the Scientist/Researcher category of employee, not Professional. Reimbursement of travel costs for the subsequent conference presentation is also provided.  This program is limited to US citizens.


In addition to guest lectures, the students may participate in tours at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. Tours are dependent on the availability of facilities and tour leaders.

Conference Attendance and Publication

As part of their projects, students prepare a conference paper and presentation to be presented at the International Modal Analysis Conference (IMAC) following LADSS that is held each January/February. We expect that all students who are able to attend the conference and present their projects. Funding to attend the IMAC conference is provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Benefits of Participation

Participation in LADSS has had a lasting impact on many of its participants. 67 past LADSS participants have won National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellowships. 27 past participants have returned to LANL and are now research staff.  Many of them have gone on to become LADSS mentors and continue the tradition of supporting students in their efforts to further their studies and careers.