Los Alamos National LaboratoryEngineering Institute
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The 25th Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School

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


  • Institute Director
  • Holly Trellue
  • (505) 665-9539
  • Email
  • LADSS Program Lead
  • Adam Wachtor
  • (505) 665-5364
  • Email
  • Program Administrator
  • Amy Schiffer
  • (505) 487-3819
  • Email
"My internship at LADSS was like a rocket launch, not merely a springboard, for catapulting my research career beyond my highest expectations."- David, 2017 LADSS participant

The 25th Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School will be held June 3rd through August 9th of 2024.

 LADSS team working in lab

Program Description

  • Focus: multi-disciplinary field of dynamics, spanning mechanical, structural, and electrical systems.
  • Format: students work in teams, assigned a research project, and mentored by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) R&D engineers and scientists. Formal technical and career-development tutorials are offered throughout the program.
  • Objective: students' research will develop innovative solutions to LANL mission-relevant problems defined by their mentors.
  • Current junior or senior undergraduates and first-year graduate students are invited to apply.
  • Each year, around 21 students are accepted into the summer school.
  • Students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds are sought to participate, studying in these disciplines:
    • mechanical, aerospace, electrical, nuclear, and civil engineering
    • computer science
    • mathmatics/statistics
  • This program is limited to US citizens.

Acceptance into the program is based on academic record, application, and letters of recommendation. As a general guideline, students should have sufficient academic achievement that they are, or will be, eligible for graduate school.  

  • Students work in three-person multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Each team is assigned a research project to be completed in 10 weeks.
  • Each team is mentored by LANL staff members.
  • Projects typically have a modeling, experimental, and analysis component.

The goal is for the students to produce results and document their research 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.

Weekly tutorials are offered on various aspects of dynamic system engineering, such as:
  • signal processing
  • modeling dynamic systems
  • system identification
  • model validation
  • nonlinear systems
  • machine learning

In most cases the students will apply the material presented in these tutorials to their projects. Professional development lectures cover applying to graduate school and graduate fellowships.

Over the past 24 years, 81 LADSS alumni have competed for and won highly competitive and prestigious National Science Foundation and National Defense graduate fellowships.

  • Students are provided fellowships.
  • Fellowships range from $11,000 to $16,000 depending on academic status and the point of origin of the student's travel to Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  • Fellowship amounts are comparable to ten weeks of salary plus roundtrip travel expenses.

To get an idea of your possible fellowship payment, you can check the LANL Intern Salary Structure (pdf) for student employees. Please be sure to look at the Scientist/Researcher category of employee, not Professional. Additionally, all travel costs for attending and presenting at the conference are covered.

This program is limited to US citizens.


In addition to guest lectures, the students will participate in tours at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. Tours are dependent on the availability of facilities and tour leaders. In recent years, tours have included the Super Computing Center, Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

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 will 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. 81 past LADSS participants have won National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellowships. 58 past participants have returned to LANL as 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.