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The Discovery Program for College Graduates

Environmental Photo of the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) LaboratoryThe Discovery Program is an exciting opportunity for select recent college graduates. It consists of three to four assignments spanning multiple technical organizations across APL. The rotational assignments are six months in length each and are designed to provide participants with challenging work that will stimulate professional growth.

Selected applicants are hired in June and begin the first rotational assignment immediately. At the completion of the two-year program, participants are placed in a long-term assignment designed to align interests and skills with technical opportunities.


Discovery Program Brochure
the Brochure

The program is open to bachelor’s and master’s graduates in aerospace engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, systems engineering, and related disciplines who have technical interests in one or more of the following areas:

  • Aerospace/aeronautics
  • Algorithm development/evaluation
  • Communication systems (acoustics, wireless, and satellite)
  • Controls systems
  • Cybersecurity/information assurance
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Networking technologies
  • Signal/image processing
  • Software design/development/testing

Candidates should have a record of high academic achievement as well as excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. Strong interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to work in a collaborative, team environment are also required. Candidates should demonstrate high levels of initiative and creativity and a strong drive to learn. Prior technical internships or co-op experiences and a prior security clearance are advantageous, but not required, for selection for the Discovery Program.


Examples of Discovery Program Rotational Assignments

Aerospace Systems Analysis
  • Perform systems engineering and analysis of tactical weapon systems with particular regard to sensor/seeker components
  • Join a team that assesses sensor and seeker performance attributes and parameters and their contribution to targeting accuracy
  • Execute validated models used for analysis of overall system effectiveness for tactical sensors and seekers, and assist in the development of systems engineering best practices, concepts of operations, and risk assessments
  • Apply modeling, simulation, and analytical techniques to the assessment of emerging technologies for strike warfare sensors and seekers, including mission, engagement, and engineering-level performance assessments
  • Collaborate with industry, academic, government, and Laboratory staff to identify promising emerging technologies to tactical precision engagement weapon systems
Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems and Technologies
  • Gain exposure to a combination of analytical tasks with hands-on hardware, system, and lab work
  • Participate in projects involving a wide variety of electro-optics-centered technologies, including laser and other remote sensing techniques, fiber optic communications, microwave photonics, free-space laser communications, and precision laser targeting
  • Work with a variety of technologies, including electronic design and testing, software development, control systems, navigation sensors, and processing
Intelligent Systems
  • Participate in the entire range of software development tasking (e.g., back-end, front-end, databases, embedded, etc.)
  • Perform tasks relating to data science, mathematics, and algorithm development
  • Work on a wide range of domains and applications, including machine learning, big data, machine perception, applied neuroscience, social media analysis, robotics, autonomy, natural language processing, and information sciences
Naval Missions Analysis
  • Assist in the study and analysis of naval warfare concepts, systems, and system-of-systems, including participation on study teams, concentrating in engagement modeling
  • Modify models and simulations for application to new analysis tasks
  • Input parameters, run simulations, and provide graphical and text results for further analysis or incorporation into reports
Networked Sensor System Analysis and Modeling
  • Help develop discrimination and classification algorithms using radio frequency sensors in support of Missile Defense Agency tasking
  • Work closely within a team of scientists and engineers who are expert in such problems
  • Provide trade studies and data analysis to support algorithm development. This could encompass multiple design aspects:
    • Evaluation of existing or proposed feature estimation and classification algorithms using simulated or flight test data
    • Development of novel feature extraction or classification algorithms
    • Development of or making enhancements to existing simulations or flight test evaluation tools as required to support algorithm development