Finding the Perfect STEM Internship

Friday, December 30, 2016

The time for summer internships applications has arrived. I had not thought much about this up until recently. The idea of applying for internships frightens me probably more than the idea of applying to colleges frightened me. I honestly have felt so lost and overwhelmed with the whole process. Thankfully there have been some wonderful people who have stepped up and given me some great advice. The internet has also helped in answering some of my most detailed questions. This is what I've learned so far.

*As a physics major, a lot of these resources are physics oriented but with a little adjusting could work for any STEM major







What is needed 


before applying, have these ready to go
  • at least a 3.0 GPA (3.5 preferred)
  • unofficial transcript in pdf form
  • resume
  • optional: two reccomendations
  • beneficial: some familiarity with Java, Python, C++, Ruby, or MATLAB

Finding Internships


One of the most difficult parts of this process seems to be knowing where to look. The most direct way might be to ask someone within your major's department at your university. After that, a good google search and asking others can help quite a bit too. 
  • Talk to your major's department / professors at your university
  • check popular places to intern such as NASA and SpaceX
  • simple google searches such as "physics undergrad internships"
  • Ask around- it might prove useful to ask other people in your major or even turning to social media for possibilities

Internship Resources & Ideas


This is a list of organizations and sites that I've found to be very helpful and organized in laying out internship opportunities. Don't forget that a simple google search can also yield great finds!
  • REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) is funded by the National Science Foundation and is a great resource for internship hopefuls. 
  • APS - the American Physical Society works to advance the knowledge of physics and is a powerful resource of potential internship opportunities for physics students.
  • JPL - the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology has their own page for internships and provide a variety of options based on academic level and program length. 
  • CERN - The European Organization for Nuclear Research is has the largest particle physics lab in the world and has plenty of student options ranging from 4 moths to a year. 
  • NASA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has an entire site dedicated to internships, so it is a wonderful resource. Using the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI) is a simple way to get all the information needed in order to find exactly what you're looking for. 


University Resources - Internship Advice from Universities


So we now know what we need and where to apply. The next step is the preparation and knowing just exactly how to make the perfect resume or how to ask a professor for that recommendation. These are a few sites that I've found to be particularly helpful.

Do you have any reccomendations or know of any cool internships? 
Leave a comment below and I might add it to this list.


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