College Qualified Leaders


cql programThe College Qualified Leaders (CQL) program matches practicing DoD scientists with talented undergraduate students creating a direct mentor-student relationship, providing participants with training that is unparalleled at most colleges. CQL students receive firsthand research experience and exposure to DoD laboratories. CQL fosters desire in its participants to pursue further training and careers in STEM. Selected participants receive a stipend based on education and experience and may participate year-round.

I very much enjoyed my internship…I became an ‘expert’ in a specific topic, and was able to present my findings to other colleagues and scientists in the field.

CQL Student April 8, 2015

  • CQL internship is primarily designed for greater than 6 month work-study internships.
  • CQL internships are available year round and for the summer only.
  • Applications are accepted throughout the year- there is no application deadline for most of the program locations. Any exception to this is noted in the Program Locations section of this page.

For students interested in 8-12 week summer internships, please reference GEMS Near-Peer Mentorship Opportunities.


If you are a mentor for SEAP or CQL Register Here! –> MENTOR REGISTRATION


Program Goals

  • Afford program mentors the opportunity to have fully trained students return to their laboratory during their college years for longer term internships and research opportunities.
  • Mentors have the opportunity to share their passion for science with talented undergraduates.
  • Give CQL students the opportunity to continue their research and training.
  • Establish a pool of students preparing for careers in science and engineering with a view toward potential government service.
  • Students learn the research process in an active laboratory.
  • Prepare a new generation of scientists to be mentors.


*If you wish to be considered for a summer apprenticeship, your application must be submitted by 28 February 2018. Applications for year-round applications are open all year.


Program Timeline

  • 1 November 2017 – CQL summer applications open; year-round applications remain open
  • 28 February 2018 – CQL summer applications close (for year-round applicants, the application will remain open)
  • March – April – Applications reviewed by labs
  • April – May – Students notified of selection status
  • May – June – Summer programs begin
  • August – Summer programs end




U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center – Redstone, AL

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), a major component laboratory of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), is the Army’s focal point for research, development, engineering technology and services for aviation and missile platforms. In addition to conducting research and advanced development, AMRDEC provides one-stop life cycle engineering and scientific support for aviation systems, missile systems, and unmanned aerial platforms. AMRDEC has an extensive history of providing world-class aviation and missile systems to the Warfighter. At present, more than 3,000 employees work at the AMRDEC, of which approximately 2,600 are scientists and engineers. AMRDEC conducts operations in approximately 1.7 million square feet of facilities. AMRDEC provides a wide array of technologies, hardware and software applications, and products and services that run the gamut from game-changing technologies to detect and destroy threats, enhance performance, lethality, survivability and reliability of aviation and missile systems, along with programs to miniaturize missile and aircraft components, provide modeling and simulation applications for these technologies and systems, and the associated training applications.


2018 Program Dates: May 30 – July 27, 2018

*Applications for AMRDEC will close 15 February, 2018.


Defense Forensic Science Center – Forest Park, GA

The Defense Forensic Science Center (DFSC) of Excellence is DoD’s premier forensic center. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory (USACIL) provides traditional forensic capabilities to support worldwide criminal investigation across all military services. Its forensic disciplines include DNA/Serology, Trace Evidence, Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), Latent Prints, Firearms and Toolmarks, Digital Evidence, Drug Chemistry and Forensic Documents. The Forensic Exploitation Directorate (FXD) provides expeditionary and reach back battlefield forensic capabilities to support Joint Force Commander requirements, to include forensic exploitation (identity operations). Its primary disciplines are Latent Prints, DNA, Firearms and Toolmarks, and Chemistry. The FXD also provides support to emerging/contingency operations, exercises and training as well as building Partner Nation capability. The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) is dual-hatted as the senior scientist at the DFSC and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency (DFBA). The OCS manages research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts related to forensics. It collaborates closely with dozens of other laboratories to stay abreast of forensic technology advancements. These forums often include private sector constituents who manufacturer scientific instrumentation, provide analytical services, or conduct research involving the forensic sciences. The Office of Quality Initiatives and Training (OQIT) is responsible for all quality assurance operations and Training needs. It develops and maintains examiner training, professional certification and laboratory accreditation procedures, which reflect DoD and recognized national and international forensic science standards.


2018 Program Dates: TBD



U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory – – Champaign, IL

The U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL), Champaign, IL. ERDC-CERL directs its research efforts toward increasing the Army’s ability to more efficiently design, construct, operate and maintain its installations and contingency bases and to ensure environmental quality and safety at a reduced life-cycle cost. ERDC-CERL researchers work in collaboration with other ERDC labs and with partners in government, industry and academia. This helps ERDC-CERL develop technologies for the Army’s current and future force while also benefitting the private and public sectors where no similar applications and capabilities exist. While ERDC-CERL program centers on sustainable military installation infrastructure and environment, additional focus areas include enhancing socio-cultural understanding in theater operations and improving civil works facilities and infrastructure.

 2018 Program Dates: June 11 – August 10, 2018


U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center  – – Rock Island Arsenal, IL

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) located in Rock Island, IL, is an organizational element of the ECBC Home Base, which is part of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD.  ECBC fosters research, development, testing, and application of technologies for protecting our military from chemical-biological warfare.  ECBC’s missions include engineering support for agent detectors and warning systems, decontamination technologies, protective masks, and services in support of the nation’s demilitarization and homeland defense initiatives. ECBC performs functions that sustain the quality, reliability, and efficiency standards of products and services.  ECBC also performs industrial base program assessments and market research of critical sectors of national technology throughout the Department of Defense.

2018 Program Dates: June 11 – August 3, 2018



U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center – Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, is the nation’s principle research, development and engineering center for non-medical chemical and biological defense.  The Center develops technology in the areas of detection, protection, and decontamination and provides support from basic research through technology development, engineering design, equipment evaluation, product support, sustainment, field operations and disposal.

The center’s mission is to be the nation’s provider of innovative solutions to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats with a vision of working toward a world free of WMD.

2018 Program Dates: June 25 – August 17, 2018

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U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research – Fort Detrick, MD

The mission of the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR)  is to develop surveillance capabilities to detect, assess, and prevent health effects from adverse environmental, physiological, and psychological exposures.  The Integrative Systems Biology Program focuses  on researching problems of extreme military importance and applying global approaches to obtain an overarching view of the problem. These studies integrate exhaustive clinical findings with immune function, pathophysiology and global multi-molecular (omic) studies while developing and applying bioinformatics tools. As a result, our internships focus on global transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics and microbiomics using a range of state-of-art technologies.  The Environmental Health Program (EHP) group is a multi-pronged, multi-million dollar research program aimed at delivering diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic solutions to Service Members exposed to hazardous environmental chemicals and materials. Our aim is to develop surveillance tools and countermeasures based on molecular pathways of toxicity, the individual host response to exposures, and next generation of diagnostic systems. Students aged 18 or older are welcome to apply to CQL (undergraduates only).

2018 Program Dates: June 4 – August 3, 2018

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U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases – Fort Detrick, MD

Since its inception in 1969, USAMRIID has spearheaded research to develop medical solutions—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information—to protect our military service members from biological threats. USAMRIID’s specialized capabilities include Biosafety Level 3 and Level 4 laboratories, world-class expertise in the generation of biological aerosols for testing candidate vaccines and therapeutics, and fully accredited animal research facilities.

The outstanding national reputation of USAMRIID has been built over the years by numerous scientists and technical staff working to protect both military personnel and civilians from the threat of infectious diseases. USAMRIID participates in support of emerging disease investigations, working alongside colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. As a reference laboratory for the Department of Defense, USAMRIID sets the standard for identification of biological agents. Customers in the Army and the Department of Defense know USAMRIID as a “tech base” organization that has produced some 20 candidate medical products over the past decade. Still others recognize the impressive scientific credentials of the USAMRIID workforce, which represents some of the top infectious disease and biological defense experts in the nation—indeed, in the world.

2018 Program Dates: June 18 – August 10, 2018

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U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command – Walter Reed Army Institute of Research – Silver Spring, MD

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) has developed two modern Centers of Excellence—Infectious Disease Research and Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research. World-renowned scientists with expertise in comprehensive soldier fitness, brain injury, and sleep management make up the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research. The Center for Military Infectious Disease Research combines expertise in the development of vaccines and drugs for prevention and treatment of such diseases as malaria, HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, wound infections, leishmaniasis, enteric diseases and others.

2018 Program Dates: June 18 – August 10, 2018

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U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Aberdeen Proving, MD

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) portfolio is focused on maturing technologies for transition principally to the Research, Development, and Engineering Centers (RDECs), but also to other partners in the Army Transformation Program Executive Office/Program Managers (PEOs/PMs), the Army Test and Evaluation Center (ATEC), the Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Battle Labs, the other services, and the private sector.

2018 Program Dates: June 4 – August 10, 2018

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U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Adelphi, MD

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) portfolio is focused on maturing technologies for transition principally to the Research, Development, and Engineering Centers (RDECs), but also to other partners in the Army Transformation Program Executive Office/Program Managers (PEOs/PMs), the Army Test and Evaluation Center (ATEC), the Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Battle Labs, the other services, and the private sector.

2018 Program Dates: June 4 – August 10, 2018




U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center – Vicksburg, MS

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS helps solve the nation’s most challenging problems in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the Army, Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and our Nation’s public good. ERDC’s vision is to become the world’s premier public engineering and environmental sciences research and development organization.

As one of the most diverse engineering and scientific research organizations in the world, ERDC conducts research and development in support of the Soldier, military installations, and the Corps of Engineers’ civil works mission, as well as for other federal agencies, state and municipal authorities, and with U.S. industries through innovative work agreements.

2018 Program Dates: May 14 – August 10, 2018




U.S. Army Research & Development Center Geospatial Research Laboratory – Alexandria, VA

The U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center – Geospatial Research Laboratory (ERDC-GRL), Alexandria, VA areas of focus are Terrain Analysis for Signal and Sensor Phenomenology, Geospatial Temporal Information Structure and Framework, GeoEnabled Mission Command, Geospatial Reasoning, Imagery and GeoData Sciences.

2018 Program Dates: June 18 – August 18, 2018





For general program inquiries, contact:
Phone: 603-228-4530