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The Best Summer Intern Programs for STEM Students

By Mario McKellop

According to the Pew Research Center, college-educated workers with a background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) earn an average of $20,000 more than grads in other disciplines. As such, it’s important for young people with an interest in those fields to prepare themselves with applicable real-world experience. To make the process little easier, here’s a list of the four quality internships that should be of interest to STEM students. 

High School Apprenticeship Program   

Young people who want to gain a foundational understanding of STEM would be very well served by partaking in the Army Research Center’s High School Apprenticeship Program. Juniors and seniors that are approved to join the HSAP will gain authentic experience in performing science and engineering research with instruction from professional scientists and engineers at a university pace.

After completing the two-month program, students will be able to develop independent research programs appropriate for research fellowships, graduate school and eventually careers in STEM. Best of all, HASP participants will be given a stipend of $10 an hour for up to 300 hours. 

Solar Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

College sophomore and juniors with an interest in pursuing a career in astrophysics, computer science or applied mathematics should definitely apply for the Solar REU Program. For 10 weeks, students analyze data supplied by a host of solar satellites to develop models of the sun and examine various heliosphere phenomena.

After completing the program, which runs from June 2 to Aug. 10 at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, students will have greatly enhanced their data analysis, computer programming, numerical modeling and laboratory technique skills. Participants will be provided with accommodation near the Center and a $5,000 stipend.

Maryland Sea Grant's Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Estuarine Science

Hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park, the Sea Grant REU summer internship gives college juniors and seniors the opportunity to broaden their knowledge base about environmental science. Specifically, the coastal and oceanic sciences program brings students to the Chesapeake Bay to conduct individual research projects under the auspices of scientist-mentors from the University’s Center for Environmental Science for 12 weeks.

Notably, the program’s administrators have invited a wide array of STEM students to apply as they can bolster their expertise in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics and mathematics while learning more about marine science. In addition to receiving free housing and covered travel expenses, Sea Grant recipients will also receive a $6,000 stipend.

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Scholars Program

The AFRL Scholars Program gives everyone from high school students to Ph.D. candidates the ability to gain meaningful real-world experience in various STEM disciplines. Over the course of the summer, interns will receive technical training and array of exciting topics as well as mentorship from skilled and experienced Air Force researchers.

They will also get the opportunity to see how their research factors into the work of Air Force Research Laboratories across the United States. Competitive stipends are available and are awarded based on the amount of experience each intern has the beginning of the program.




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