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October 8, 2019

Lab Internships Provide Foundation for Budding Careers

The application period for APL internships is currently open and administered on a rolling basis

APL interns

APL welcomed college interns from more than 125 different universities in 2019.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

APL interns

More than 100 groups around the Lab hosted at least one intern this past summer.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

For Vlada Dementyeva, an internship at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, was the perfect introduction to being a full-time employee — because that’s how she was treated from day one at the Laboratory.

“The team welcomed me and treated me with so much respect that I instantly felt comfortable,” said Dementyeva, a summer intern from the University of Maryland who now works in APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector.

For Simran Shinh, it was a validating experience.

“At APL, I realized that the most important things college has taught me are how to ask questions, work with others to find solutions and think calmly and rationally in the face of unfamiliar problems,” said the Cornell student turned Force Projection Sector staffer. “My experience made the idea of leaving school and diving into solving real-world problems full-time a lot less daunting.”

The Lab welcomes interns throughout the year — ASPIRE high school students as well as college students at all levels of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, primarily in STEM fields — but the summer is where the influx reaches its peak.

In 2019, APL received nearly 6,600 applications for college summer internships and 800 for the ASPIRE high school program. The Lab hired approximately 550 of the former and hosted 100 of the latter this past summer. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when 30 collegians trickled onto campus to spend the season at APL.

The Lab’s internship programs are highly competitive. Nevertheless, according to Stacy Murphy, APL’s college recruiting manager, the Lab has seen a 15–20% increase in applications nearly every year of this millennium. The application period for APL internships is currently open and administered on a rolling basis. Early application is an advantage, as Dementyeva can attest. She applied for a summer internship but was hired in February and stayed the duration.

The program is also extremely varied, from students’ pursued degree levels to the types of work available, with over 100 groups around the Lab hosting at least one intern in 2019.

“Working as an intern gave me the flexibility to finish my Ph.D., while gaining practical skills and a deeper knowledge in my field,” said Jacob Goodman, who has transitioned to full-time employment in the Air and Missile Defense Sector. “I also appreciated the overall APL culture — people are very friendly and respectful — as well as the general role APL plays: to offer sound technical advice to sponsors in the overall service to the nation.”

College interns join the Lab from more than 125 different universities across the country, and many are welcomed back for multiple summers. Approximately 50% of the eligible interns (those not going on to graduate school and seeking full-time employment) are eventually converted into APL staff.

“If you’re interested in continuously learning and working on impactful projects, you should consider APL,” said Shinh, who chose an APL internship over offers from a financial company and a defense contractor.

“The people I’ve met at APL are some of the smartest and most passionate people I’ve ever been around. It’s a supportive, yet challenging, environment that is perfect for learning and growing.”

Learn more about APL’s internship programs.

Media contact: Amanda Zrebiec, 240-592-2794,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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