Landing the Right STEM Internship


Interns at Intel.

— by Karen Purcell

Internships are a great way to experience the work environment and explore different options within your discipline of study. Internships provide fantastic on-the-job training and often lead to job offers after graduation.

Many students find themselves stuck when it comes to finding and securing an internship. This is likely their first experience with applying for jobs in this type of environment, and it involves more than filling out an application and talking to a manager in charge.

Tips to find internships aligned with your career goals follow the jump.
To begin your search, you should first look to companies or organizations you are interested in working with. Go to job fairs at your school and see which firms are out there. Are any of the companies that are there recruiting from your campus ideal fits for you? Perhaps you have been reading up on successful groups in your area of specialty and you have decided that Company XYZ is the place you want to work.

However you discovered them, go first to your favored operations and see if they are offering any internship positions. Even if they are not publicly advertising them, there may be opportunities for you. Pick up the phone or visit the office in person and introduce yourself, leave a résumé, and make yourself available to them.

If you don’t have a specific internship in mind, there are many resources available to you online to help you narrow down your choices. Search online for information on available internships, application deadlines, qualifications, and more.

Talk to your professors, advisers and mentors about your search and ask them to point you in the right direction for any resources available on your campus, such as databases or aggregate lists of STEM internships.

You probably won’t be offered the first internship you apply for, so cast a wide net. You may even find that you get to pick your preferred placement if you’ve lined up plenty of options.

Once you get an interview, take time to prepare. You want to put your best foot forward. Show them that you have done your research and understand what they are about. Tell them how an experience with them aligns with your future career goals. Don’t leave it up to them to guess; make it explicit.

Bring a list of questions about the company or the position that demonstrate you understand the company’s purpose and how you might fit into the equation.

Don’t make money the primary conversation piece. If you want to make loads of money over the summer, an internship is probably not for you. Remember that you are giving a great deal of your time and energy in exchange for experience, connections, and references that will better serve you in the long run than a higher wage will serve you now.

Karen Purcell, P.E. is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, an award-winning electrical engineering, design and consulting firm. She is the author of Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. She has created Stemspire, which aims to help women create meaningful futures in the STEM fields.

Internships With Jewish Employment And Vocational Services

What is your high school or college student doing this summer?  Have they considered a paid internship?  Opportunities are opening up on a rolling basis for internships with  the Lasko College Prep Program for Jewish high school juniors as well as the Franklin C. Ash Internship for Jewish college rising juniors and seniors. For the Ash Internship there is no financial requirement but this is highly competitive and students are chosen on a rolling basis.  They are phenomenal programs and both come with nice stipends.  Feel free to contact Rhonda Cohen (contact information after the jump) for any clarifications.  
Rhonda Cohen, MSW
Coordinator of Community Relations
JEVS Career Strategies Youth Services
1845 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
[email protected]
215-854-1787 phone
215-854-1880

JEVS Lasko College Prep Program

The Lasko College Prep Program is a program of the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service (JEVS) for Jewish high school juniors preparing to enter college.

As Penny Kardon, Director of Career Strategies for JEVS, explains,

The program is for  current juniors whose families meet a certain income eligibility requirement. This is funded by the Lasko Family Foundation, and it’s in its seventh year. It gives students an opportunity to work three days a week in the Jewish community, at a Jewish organization, and two days a week they come to JEVS Human Services’ Career Strategies Department, in the Youth Services.

More after the jump.

High School juniors, adds Kardon, “get SAT tutoring, college advising, and they have an opportunity to visit two college campuses, and they start writing their essays for the college application. We work with the family on financial aid, we help them get scholarships, and they are matched with a mentor from the Franklin C. Ash program for Jewish college students. These are kids who are already gone through the whole college application procedure, and they help them negotiate the whole college application process.”

This mentoring, says Kardon, entails the “nitty-gritty” issues of “What if you don’t like your room-mate? Or how did they pick their college? Sometimes the mentees visit their mentors in college during the year, and it gives the students a great opportunity to see (how) very successful students negotiate their college application process.”

The Lasko College Prep Program, adds Kardon, is also great for the community because “It places these kids in a Jewish organization three days a week, and they actually do the things that sometimes we don’t have the time to do, (like) data entry, answering phones, filing, working with kids, doing art projects, creating a brochure if the student has some particular graphics talents. So it’s a great opportunity for the community as well.”

“It’s a one-year program,” adds Rhonda Cohen, Coordinator of Community Relations at JEVS, “they start off in the summer, before they enter their senior year. That’s when they spend their three days a week at the Jewish placement, and that’s when they get their SAT tutoring, that’s when they get their mentor from the Franklin C. Ash college program. Once the summer ends the program continues, and they are required to work with our educational counselors until they have successfully get into college, and we work with the parents.

The Lasko program, adds Cohen, “has made the difference for families that don’t have that luxury of spending money on a college consultant or an SAT tutor. This is for low-income families in the Jewish community, and we are very proud to say we have a ninety-nine percent success rate, in seven years, of getting students into college.”

Application is available online.