Disclaimer: Most of These Programs Target Bay Area Students
For Silicon Valley/Bay Area/NorCal high schoolers searching for an awesome summer program or work experience.
Work experience is invaluable and rare among high school students. Interning over the summer is one of the best high school experiences you’ll have. If you’re still unsold, this article elaborates on high school internships.
Hopefully, you’re looking at this list around October, because some of these program deadlines will be very early.
My advice? Apply to as many as possible. I was extremely picky in my job search and didn’t find an internship until late June. There is no guarantee whether you’ll get into the internship of your choice, so be sure to have a lot of options. This article will help you avoid the biggest mistakes I made in high school.
These internships are listed in no particular order.
Research is essential to the career of any STEM student in college. Out of the various internship types, Research is the most impressive to “R1” universities like Stanford, Cornell, etc. because it lets them know that you are prepared for that aspect of your student life.
A quick guide: If the title has paid program in its name, then you pay them. If it just says paid (in the description), then they pay you.
- MIT RSI (Research Science Institute): RSI is, hands-down, the BEST research internship you can take part in over the summer as a high schooler. You will be assigned to a mentor, take lessons for 1 week, and do research for 5 weeks. Although not in the Bay Area, it’s DEFINITELY worth the travel.
- Stanford Research Internships: Stanford itself offers a lot of research opportunities to its own students, and has also opened up a variety of programs to local high schoolers.
- Navy SEAP: The Navy’s Science & Engineering Apprenticeship has locations all over the U.S. You don’t have to be interested in joining the military to apply. Another great (and paid) summer experience.
- UCSF Internship: The University of California at San Francisco has research internships exclusive to SF high school students.
- Sandia National Laboratories: Sandia is always looking for summer interns to help out with government-funded research.
- Buck Institute Summer Scholars: A biology summer research immersion program.
- UC Santa Barbara SERA: This program is a 4–week research program for future engineering students looking to do some real-world research projects.
- UC Santa Barbara RMP: This program is a 6–week research program for future STEM students looking to do some real-world research projects.
- UC COSMOS (paid program): This infamous research experience takes place at a couple of UC’s across the Bay Area (Davis, Irvine, San Diego, and Santa Cruz).
- UCSC SIP (paid program): Like COSMOS, this program covers housing at UCSC, and offers a great research opportunity. You get to work under a professor on your own project. If I had the money, I’d do this one.
- UC Berkeley Perception Science Internship (paid program): If you enjoy Psychology, this program will give you a great hands-on experience of the research going on at UC Berkeley’s Psychology department.
- UCLA Early Academic Outreach (multiple programs): At UCLA, you’ll have the chance to intern for a professor and assist in their research and projects.
- NASA: NASA offers internships to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. They are available year-round, so you can apply at any time.
Programming & Computer Science
- Facebook Academy: Sophomores in high school can apply to Facebook Academy for the chance to learn more about Facebook’s daily operations.
- Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (Graduating Seniors Only): Although not exactly an internship, this program teaches students the concepts of website development through a month-long camp. You don’t get paid, but Google will cover your room & board if you choose the residential option.
- Microsoft Internship: Microsoft’s program is exclusive to students in the Puget-sound area.
- TechHive Internship: This internship allows high school students to work alongside museum staff to create projects for the museum and their community partners.
- Ro Khanna Internship: Ro Khanna is running to represent California in Congress. Interning for him would be a great summer experience for anyone interested in a career in politics or law.
- Camp Galileo Summer Internship: If you love teaching, this paid internship will give you the chance to help run a summer camp
- Environmental Interns: For people in the Fremont area, this program allows you to conduct research and renovation projects for Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon. The program is funded by Lam Research.
- Fremont Bank: A Bank with multiple Bay Area locations. I applied here during my first year of college, but hard-working high schoolers can easily do the work for this internship too.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn occasionally posts job openings targeted at high school students. To search for them, you’ll need to make a profile. Next, search “high school intern” in the jobs section.
- Indeed, Internships.com: Like LinkedIn, these sites post job openings, but you don’t need an account to see them.
- AngelList: AngelList is dedicated to helping startups find employees. Every opening you’ll find here is for a startup. It’s worth noting that there will be virtually zero startup jobs posted here. However, I would recommend sending a personal message to the recruiter detailing your skills and letting them know that you can help out if needed.
- YouSTEM: YouSTEM posts STEM opportunities (volunteering, internships, etc.) for Bay Area high schoolers, much like this page. It allows you to sort through them as well.
These internships have a special requirement based on the applicants’ background, demographics, etc. It can be tough for people from challenging backgrounds to land spots in prestigious programs due to the high level of competition and opportunity all of the other applicants have had. You should definitely take advantage of the following if you represent one of these circumstances.
- Stanford RISE (For URM, Financially Challenged Students): Stanford’s Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) are a great way for underrepresented students with financial hardships to work under a professor in a field they enjoy.
- UC Berkeley Marvell Nanofabrication Lab Internship (Girls only): A great research internship (they pay you), where you can work on an electrical engineering topic.
If you need help devising a plan for applying to one of these programs, this article has some tips on maximizing your chances.
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