October 26, 2006
APL Welcomed Record Number of Summer Interns in 2008
Many of APL's best and brightest new hires are veterans of our summer intern program. Like an extended sports team tryout, these internships have become the best avenue for soon-to-graduate students to lock up full-time employment offers. For APL program managers and group supervisors, it's a great way to evaluate talent and provide "coaching" along the way.
Because of the high caliber of the participating students and the kind of work experiences provided, the Lab's summer internship program is a win-win situation. The students gain valuable work experience, grow in their skills, get paid a competitive wage, and often see doors open to possible future full-time employment. The Lab, meanwhile, benefits from the contributions of the students to important projects, raises its visibility on the college campuses of program participants, increases its diversity, and identifies many qualified future employees.
Strong competition means that early planning is essential. Supervisors look for the same qualifications, academic record, and skills that they would normally seek in a full-time employee. Interns come to APL through a variety of avenues. While most are part of the traditional Technical College Summer Internship Program, others participate through focused programs. Nine students are NASA interns assigned to APL's Space Department. Others came to APL through diversity-oriented programs like ATLAS (The APL Technology Leadership Scholars) and GEM (the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science).
ATLAS is a 12-week program for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Minority Institutions. Focusing on technology leadership development, the ATLAS program pairs each of its students with a staff scientist or engineer conducting research or program evaluation in the student's academic major. This summer there are nine ATLAS students are working at the Lab.
The Lab also selected four GEM students this summer. The GEM consortium, founded in 1976 by APL's Ted Habarth, has evolved over the past 30 years into a hugely successful national program assisting qualified minority students in the attainment of advanced degrees in science and engineering. In additional to supporting the students' academic success through tuition stipends, GEM also supports their professional development by providing summer internships at organizations like APL. GEM students often return to intern during the summers that they are continuing to attend graduate school.