UROP gets lots of attention on these discussion boards, but it isn't the only game in town. The US Dept of Energy and the US Dept of Defense have a number of other programs open to US citizens who are STEM majors in college: https://science.energy.gov/wdts/suli/ https://orise.orau.gov/doescholars/ https://smart.asee.org/about/eligibility http://www.dodstem.us/stem-programs/internships https://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?page=2907 https://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?page=1519 I tend to think that research and publication opportunities at your home institution should be your first choice should you have attractive opportunities there. However, it is worthwhile to consider and apply for other opportunities to see what doors open to you, especially if you have areas of research interest that are not well supported at your home institution. My wife and I met in the precursor to one of the above programs (SULI) and our internships were key both in getting into top 10 grad schools as well as in forming us as scientists and succeeding in our careers. If you read this far, you are probably thinking "how strong an applicant will I be?" The faculty at your home institution who know enough about you to write your letters of recommendation are much more qualified to answer that question than strangers on the internet who only know a paragraph or two of what you are willing to share on a public forum. Have a look at the requirements and begin a discussion with your local faculty.