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Minority Awards Programs FAQ


  • Minority Awards Program – Interns and Visiting Students
  • Native American Awards Program – Interns, Visiting Students, and Community Scholars
  • James E. Webb Internship Program


Is housing provided?

Housing is not provided however, we do provide information to help you obtain housing if interning in the Washington DC area. Most colleges and universities in DC have dorm space available as well as there are many other housing options particularly in the summer. For interns located at some of our remote sites dorms may be available.


Do I need to send official transcripts?

No, unofficial transcripts are fine.


Can my references email or fax their letters of references?

The preference is for references to submit through the SOLAA system but if they are unable to do so then yes, they may email them to or fax to 202-633-7069.


Can my references be from Smithsonian Institution employees?

No, your references must be from individual outside the Institution.


Can my references be from former intern supervisors or from job supervisors?

You should have two letters of recommendation from your professors however, you may include additional letters if you wish.


When and how will I know if I am selected?

Applicants will receive notification through the SOLAA system. Please login to check your status. We try to have decision completed by mid/end of April for summer and fall.


What if I need to make a decision on another program I have applied for before I hear from the Smithsonian?

If you are making decision on other offers and have not heard from our office please feel free to contact Pamela Hudson Veenbaas, Program Manager at 202-633-7070 to see if we have any information on your status.


What projects are available?

Projects are not typically determined in advance but are created as part of the review process


How can I make a strong application?

Be as specific about your academic and career goals as you can.


What’s a preferred unit placement as noted on the application?

This is not required but if you have one or more museums, departments, research institutes or offices that you would prefer to intern with please list them in response to this question.


Do I need to apply to a specific SI unit in addition to this application? 

No. Applicants selected for the Minority Awards Program will then be placed in a museum, department, research institute or office. No additional application is necessary.


Where do I access the application?

Internship applicants should select Internships

Visiting Student and Community Scholar applicants should select Fellowship/Other Academic Appt

Information to assist with the application can be found on SORS


Where can I call to speak to someone about the program?

Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070.


I am having technical difficulty with SOLAA (such as not able to login, forgotten my password or user id or not able to upload materials) who do I contact?

Please email for technical help, provide your name, email address and phone number.