Frequently Asked Questions


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.
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.
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.
Some universities may offer credit for projects with DEVELOP. Participants interested in receiving credit for the project will need to arrange this with their school to make sure the project meets any necessary requirements. Prior to the term beginning, participants interested in pursuing school credit can outline and communicate any requirements to their Center Lead for consideration. It is the student's responsibility to meet deadlines and ensure all paperwork is completed to fulfill the requirements.
DEVELOP participants are paid on an hourly basis. Rates are based on your current level of education, applicant classification, and locality. If selected for an interview, you may ask your interviewer for your specific hourly rate, otherwise you can email the National Program Office stating your current education level, applicant classification, and location(s) to which you would apply for rate information.
Participants are responsible for their own housing, living expenses, and transportation to and from the DEVELOP office. DEVELOP offers paid positions, which if selected for one, can help cover costs incurred.


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.
In order to participate in DEVELOP, participants must be able to work onsite at an established DEVELOP location.
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.
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.
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; however, international applicants are eligible to apply to the locations listed on the Apply page under the International Applicants section. Permanent Resident Alien (PRA) or Legal Resident are not considered a U.S. citizen. Acceptances for international applicants are conditional upon proof of a pre-obtained visa or approved CPT/OPT that will allow them to legally work within the U.S. DEVELOP does not sponsor visa applications or file petitions with U.S. Immigration.
Yes, if you are interested in being considered for another term you must re-apply.
There is no limit on the number of terms a participant can re-apply as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

Application Process

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 a link to the new or returning participant application, based on your responses to the questions. If you do not receive a link, then you are currently not eligible to apply to the DEVELOP Program.
It is recommended for applicants to use the application questions on the SSAI DEVELOP application 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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).
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, applicants will receive a confirmation email.
The online application will close at 11:59pm ET on the last day of the window provided on the DEVELOP Apply page.
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.


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.
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.
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.
Participants conduct predetermined projects that fall within at least one of the following Applied Sciences Program application areas: Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Food Security & Agriculture, Health & Air Quality, Urban Development, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Water Resources.

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