Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) Program

The Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program provides cadets with an opportunity to observe and implement concepts from their education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and life science over several weeks during this summer internship. The AIAD program enables cadets to perform research with leaders in government and private-sector laboratories, both stateside and abroad. These unique experiences broaden cadets’ perspectives and provide them with practical advanced education related to their field of study and real-world application of science in the military.

AIAD Opportunities

USMA’s Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program is a key portion of the institution’s “Margin of Excellence Concept.” Cadets spend two to four weeks during the summer academic break (late May to early August), conducting academically enriching studies, service, research, and cultural immersions.  Example AIAD opportunities include the following:

  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Intensive Study Seminar (West Point, NY)

  • Flexible Carbon Nanotubes (ARL, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

  • Physician Shadowing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (Bethesda, MD)

  • Waste-to-Energy Research (Cobleskill, NY)

  • Bioengineering Biofuels for the Military (St. Louis, MO)

  • Research at a National Lab (Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, or Los Alamos)

2019 AIAD Experiences

Life Science: Research at the Australian Army Malaria Institute

Location: Brisbane, Australia​

Description:  Cadets will participate in collaborative research and control efforts between the U.S. Army and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including developing drugs and vaccines to protect against tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue. Cadets may also shadow physicians at the adjacent ADF hospital and visit the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, the largest Australian research facility, to gain additional insight into cancer and tropical disease research.​

Requirements: ​At least CH200-level research course experience​

Recommended Courses: CH375, CH101/151​

Chemical Engineering: Development of Novel Materials

Title: Development of Novel Materials Through the Study of the Biotic and Abiotic Interface

Location:  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), Emeryville, CA​

Description:  Cadets conduct research in the Biological Systems and Engineering Division of LBL to gain hands-on research experience in the areas of biodirected materials and bionanosciences through the development and study of novel materials that take place at the biotic and abiotic interface.  The result of these studies will allow for the design of biohybrid systems that mechanically or electronically interface active biological elements with polymeric and inorganic materials.  The proposed research leverages state-of-the-art nanotechnology properties found in inorganic materials together with bioengineering technology that enables the manipulation of biological systems at the genomic level, making it possible to integrate living organisms with inorganic materials into nanoscale biohybrids, while taking advantage of the complementary strengths of abiotic and biotic systems — a robustness of inorganic systems and the complexity and nuanced function of biological systems — in energy harvesting and chemical production. ​

Requirements:  Background in biology and chemistry. 

Chemistry: Improvised Armaments

Location: Rockaway Township, New Jersey (Picatinny Arsenal).​

Description: Due to the need for improvised armaments, researchers recognize a need to develop a format for a regionalized capability manual (real and electronic) that provides operators with the ability to produce a thermite reaction.  In devising the format, cadets will focus on areas of operation, materials, procedures, applications to include time and skills required, safety, and feasibility and suitability of methods.  Following this AIAD, cadets will determine required materials, test environments, and safety for future experimentation and research.

Requirements: ​General Chemistry. Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry highly encouraged – but others will be considered on case by case basis ​

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What one thing should I keep in mind when applying for an AIAD slot?

A: Talk with your TAC and the AIAD Sponsor. Don’t just select a few choices and assume you will get a slot. Your summer schedule includes more than just AIADs, and open communication will help you manage your expectations. Sometimes an interview with the AIAD Sponsor is required for consideration.

Q: How do I make my AIAD selections? Can I apply to more than one?

A: In January, you will be given the option to select up to four AIAD choices via the cadet information system (CIS). Many cadets do NOT get their first choice. You must meet the prerequisites, and there are a limited number of slots.

Q: Do Plebes really ever get selected for an AIAD?

A: YES! AIADs are primarily for rising Firsties and Cows; however, you are eligible if you meet all requirements. Each year our department has many AIAD slots that are not filled.

Contact Us


UPS/ FEDEX Mailing address:

United States Military Academy
Official Mail and Distribution Center
646 Swift Road
West Point, New York 10996-1905

Administrative Officer-Mr. Walt Rittger