Undergraduate Researcher (PREP0001691)

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

NIST’s Image Group conducts studies to evaluate the facial recognition ability of people in the general population and among face expert groups (e.g., forensic facial examiners). Currently, testing facial examiners requires on-site visits to their locations or meetings to collect data. There is an opportunity to deploy remote testing using approved and secure methods which retain the ability to have tight experimental control.

The work will entail...

Key responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • Programming facial comparison experiments, preprocessing face images for testing, and conducting data queries to extract faces from databases of images.
  • Implement remote versions of existing tests and assist in developing extensions of those tests for future experiments.
  • Develop new and creative solutions to accomplish goals. This may include the following: Database querying and data maintenance, Data wrangling and/or data structure development to support complex experiment designs, Facial image processing and visualization, Developing and deploying tests using online survey tools, and Developing and deploying Docker containers or other deployment methods


  • Python and/or Java proficiency
  • Experience with image processing
  • Experience creating and deploying Docker containers, deployable Java applications, and/or other environment building and deploying tools
  • Ability to interpret existing Python and R code and make updates as needed
  • Experience with data management, data querying, and version control
  • Ability to write clear methods and procedures for documentation and reports
  • Familiarity with GitHub/Gitlab/Git
  • Additional preferred qualifications: Familiarity with PsychoPy, Familiarity with Qualtrics
Please provide a current CV and cover letter.

Privacy Act Statement

Authority: 15 U.S.C. § 278g-1(e)(1) and (e)(3) and 15 U.S.C. § 272(b) and (c)

Purpose: The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) hosts the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) which is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduates, post-bachelor’s degree holders, graduate students, master’s degree holders, postdocs, and faculty.

PREP is a 5-year cooperative agreement between NIST laboratories and participating PREP Universities to establish a collaborative research relationship between NIST and U.S. institutions of higher education in the following disciplines including (but may not be limited to) biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, electronics, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron science, physical science, physics, and statistics. This collection of information is needed to facilitate administrative functions of the PREP Program.

Routine Uses: NIST will use the information collected to perform the requisite reviews of the applications to determine eligibility, and to meet programmatic requirements. Disclosure of this information is also subject to all the published routine uses as identified in the Privacy Act System of Records Notices: NIST-1: NIST Associates.

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