Polygence blog / Education and College Admissions

Top 10 Engineering Internship Opportunities For High Schoolers

9 minute read

Engineering internships for high school students provide great opportunities to apply theory into practical situations. In a field like engineering that’s very technical, getting hands-on experience at a summer internship can be extremely valuable. A high school internship allows students to gain valuable insights about their passions and what engineering niches they’re interested in.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best engineering internships for high school students!

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Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in your area of passion. Together, you work to create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own.

1. Research Program at LLE

Hosting institution: Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at University of Rochester

Location: Rochester, NY

Eligibility: Current high school juniors

Duration: Mid-July to early September

Deadline: Summer 2024 deadline is March 13th

Paid?: Yes

This 8-week summer program is for students who are in their junior year of high school. Since it’s a commuter program, it’s designed specifically for any STEM-geared high schooler who lives near the intern program in Rochester.

Beyond its eligibility limitations, the program actually offers a ton of hands-on experience, where students are assigned to a research project and supervised by a scientist or engineer from the Laboratory. These projects are all related to the Laboratory’s OMEGA laser, one of the most powerful fusion lasers in the world. At the end of the program students present at a symposium hosted by the Laboratory and also produce written project reports. The website also makes clear that students work 40 hours a week.

2. NASA Internship

Hosting institution: NASA

Location: Various locations (Virginia, Maryland, New York, West Virginia)

Eligibility: U.S. citizen and minimum 3.0 GPA requirement, at least 16 years old

Duration: Varies, check website

Deadline: February 2024

Paid?: Majority of interns receive stipend award

The Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA offer hundreds of engineering internships at its various locations. These internships are unique opportunities as they allow students to take advantage of some of NASA’s groundbreaking missions and projects. Students will also work under the guidance of a NASA mentor.

3. Build A Better Book

Hosting institution: University of Colorado Boulder

Location: 3 locations: Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey

Eligibility: Depends on location, check website for details

Duration: 4 weeks (Colorado), 18 weeks (New Jersey)

Deadline: Applications will open in February 2024

Paid?: Yes

This internship provides a great opportunity to learn about engineering and make an impact in a local community. Interns at 3 different locations focus on using Maker technologies (such as 3D printing and laser cutters) to create accessible materials for blind or visually impaired clients. Each location has a different organization that they partner with and a slightly different client focus. For example, the Colorado location works with pre-school/kindergarten children with cortical visual impairment (CVI), and in the past interns have built accessible books and games for these children using engineering and design. Be sure to check out the differences between the 3 different locations! We think that this internship strikes a good balance between social impact and learning opportunities.

4. SLAC Youth Opportunity Program (YOP)

Hosting institution: National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford

Location: Palo Alto, California

Eligibility: First gen college student, at least 18 at start of the program in summer 2024, low income student

Duration: 10 weeks

Deadline: Opportunities posted starting May 2024

Paid?: No

This program is designed for local Bay Area residents who are low income and going to be a first generation college student. While the eligibility is a bit limiting, this 10-week employment program gives students first-hand exposure to SLAC, a premier research institute that is exploring frontier research in areas like the science of life, physics of the universe, and energy sciences. This program isn't an internship opportunity—it's a full-time job providing invaluable work experience. That being said, make sure you don’t have any other commitments before joining!

5. Lockheed Martin Space Internship Program

Hosting institution: Lockheed Martin

Location: Multiple locations, see website

Eligibility: At least 16 years old

Duration: 9-10 weeks from June to August

Deadline: January 5, 2024

Paid?: Yes

Students get to work on actual Lockheed Martin Space projects with aerospace scientists and engineers, exposing them to what aerospace engineering is actually like. In addition, Lockheed Martin purposefully helps interns with career exploration by putting together summer activities like networking, career development, and executive engagements. This summer internship is a great opportunity to put a name-brand company on your resume and learn about the aerospace industry. Be sure to check out the locations of Lockheed Martin facilities which are offering this internship (can be found on website). You’ll need to live within a commutable distance of one of these facilities.

Do your own research through Polygence!

Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in your area of passion. Together, you work to create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own.

6. Air Force Research Laboratory Scholars Program

Hosting institution: Universities Space Research Association

Location: Various locations, check website

Eligibility: At least 16 yrs old, GPA minimum of 3.0, must be able to work 40 hours per week (full time)

Duration: Not announced

Deadline: January 10, 2024

Paid?: Yes, weekly stipend of $468 for high school students for most locations

Selected interns are able to work on cutting edge research with Air Force scientists and contribute to unique projects. Each research project is led by a research mentor, and you’re allowed to apply for up to 3 research topics for a specific internship location. For summer 2024, research topics available to high schoolers include electrical engineering, and creating power generation and distribution systems for aircraft and spacecraft. Keep in mind that for high schoolers research topics are a bit limited since the program has other internships for college students at the masters and undergraduate levels.

7. STEM Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES)

Hosting institution: UT Austin Center for Space Research and Cockrell School of Engineering

Location: Austin, Texas

Eligibility: Rising high school junior or senior (at time of program)

Duration: Not announced

Deadline: July 1 - August 4, 2024

Paid?: No, but housing meals and transportation provided

If you’re excited by Earth and space research then this is the engineering internship for you. The SEES program will allow interns to explore NASA remote sensing data, mission design, analysis of ice sheets, Earth’s gravity field, and other observations while being mentored by project scientists who are doing cutting-edge research to understand Earth’s systems. Interns will also learn how to assess NASA satellite data. This high school program provides a one-of-a-kind view into NASA research and as a result has a competitive application process.

8. HighTech Bound

Hosting institution: University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory

Location: Durham, New Hampshire

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors and U.S. citizens

Duration: 4-6 weeks in July/August

Deadline: February 29, 2024

Paid?: Yes

In this internship students have the opportunity to work with emerging technologies in hardware and software, and work with technology used in smart cars and internet-connected devices. An added bonus of this internship is that the program typically brings students to local technical organizations in order to introduce them to different careers and have them speak face-to-face with engineers at transformative companies. As a result, this internship program has career benefits beyond just the actual internship project itself. If you’re more interested in engineering in the context of computers and electronics, then consider applying to this internship!

9. Utah College of Engineering Summer Research Internship

Hosting institution: University of Utah Neurorobotics Lab

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Eligibility: High school student, some prior experience with software design, mechanical design, or hardware design is helpful but not required

Duration: Not specified

Deadline: Not specified

Paid?: No

In this internship, high school students gain first hand experience with engineering research. In the past, students have built things such as virtual and augmented reality systems, clinical diagnostic tools, and have even led human subject experiments. The key benefit of this internship is that the work is very interdisciplinary, allowing you to work with biomedical engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and even neuroscientists! This diversity of expertise can make for a great learning experience and expose you to a variety of career paths.

10. Navy Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program

Hosting institution: Department of Navy

Location: 38 laboratories around the country

Eligibility: At least 9th grade and 16 years old

Duration: 8 weeks

Deadline: Closed for 2024, opens August 2024 for 2025 program

Paid?: $4000-4500 stipend

This program places high school students into a Department of Navy lab where they participate in real Naval research and receive mentorship from top scientists and engineers. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to pursue science and engineering careers. Before applying, be sure to research the various Department of Navy labs around the country to see which one is the right fit for you based on location and/or research focus.

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How to Choose The Right Engineering Internship For You

There are several important factors to consider when choosing an engineering internship. Factors like pay, the location of the internship, and other logistics should be considered carefully. Further, assess whether the internship provides the right kinds of experiences and projects for you. If you’re already experienced in engineering, will you be able to learn more advanced skills that will help you continue your pursuit of engineering? If you’re new to the field, will the internship provide a good introduction of engineering that combines theoretical learning with hands-on experience? There are also additional factors, like the level of exposure to industry experts and scientists, that can help make an internship or laboratory learning program stand out for you.

Pursue An Engineering Project with Polygence 

If you are a self-motivated student leader looking for a more flexible internship-type experience, check out Polygence’s virtual mentorship programs. Through Polygence, you’ll have the opportunity to work on your very own engineering research project with the guidance of an expert mentor!