October 19, 2021

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How to Get an Internship at JPL – Job Guidance

Irrespective of whether you are looking for a vocation in STEM or space exploration, this three-element sequence will cover every little thing you have to have to know about the entire world of internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the expertise and working experience hiring supervisors are wanting for, and how you can established your self on the ideal trajectory even in advance of you get to higher education.


In a normal calendar year, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides in about 1,000 interns from schools throughout the place to take aspect in tasks that vary from developing spacecraft to researching local weather transform to acquiring program for space exploration. One particular of 10 NASA centers in the United States, the Southern California laboratory receives thousands of applications. So what can learners do to stand out and established themselves on the suitable trajectory?

We asked interns and the people who provide them to JPL about their strategies for learners and any individual interested in a STEM profession. More than the upcoming handful of months, we’ll be sharing their advice in this 3-section sequence.

Initially up: Study about the forms of opportunities out there as effectively as wherever and how to apply.

The Globe of JPL Internships

If you identified this short article, you’re in all probability presently considerably acquainted with the work that goes on at JPL. But at a spot that employs extra than 6,000 individuals across hundreds of groups, it can be challenging to hold track of it all.

In a wide sense, JPL explores Earth, other planets, and the universe beyond with robotic spacecraft – this means no individuals on board. But along with the engineers and experts who style and design and build spacecraft and analyze the info they return, there are hundreds of other folks doing the job on all the in-involving parts that make Earth and place exploration attainable and accessible to all. This features software package builders, machinists, microbiologists, writers, movie producers, designers, finance and info technological innovation industry experts, and far more.

Some of the most effective ways to find out about the Laboratory’s perform – and get a feeling for the types of internships on present – are to comply with JPL news and social media channels, choose aspect in digital and in-man or woman gatherings this sort of as regular talks, and keep up on the hottest exploration. There are also a host of content and movies on the internet about interns and personnel and the varieties of work they do.

Though STEM internships make up the bulk of the Laboratory’s choices, there are a handful of options for learners learning other subjects as perfectly. Depending on which camp you healthy into, there are distinct sites to implement.

Education and learning Place of work Internships

The premier number of internships can be identified on the JPL Education and learning web site. These alternatives, for pupils learning STEM, are available by means of about a dozen systems catered to school students of many academic and demographic backgrounds. This consists of systems for learners attending group college or university, people at minority-serving institutions, and others at Los Angeles-area universities.

Students implement to a plan, or programs, rather than a unique opening. (See the software details for additional information about the place to utilize and what you will need to have.) It’s then up to the individuals with open alternatives, the mentors, to find applicants who are the finest match for their challenge.

It may well seem to be odd to mail an software into the void with no plan of what provide might return. But there is a very good reason driving the approach, claims Jenny Tieu, a project supervisor in JPL’s Schooling Business, which manages the Laboratory’s STEM internship applications.

“Implementing to a specific method permits for the applicant to be viewed by a considerably broader group of choosing supervisors and mentors and be regarded for far more chances as a outcome,” claims Tieu. “We search at the resumes that come in to see what competencies are suitable with open initiatives and then match college students to chances they might not have even understood were being readily available to them.”

Shirin Nataneli claims she wouldn’t have recognised there was an internship for her at the Laboratory ended up it not for a recommendation to apply from her professor. In 2020, Nataneli graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s diploma in biology. She was on the pre-med keep track of, researching for the MCAT, when she made the decision to consider a pair of classes in laptop science.

“I acquired sucked in,” claims the Santa Monica School student and JPL intern, who is applying computer science to assist her staff classify excessive germs that can survive on spacecraft. “I didn’t even know there was an intersection between laptop science and biology, but someway I located a team at JPL that does just that.”

University Recruiting Possibilities

For faculty learners who are interested in room exploration but researching other fields, these as enterprise, communications, and finance, as well as people researching STEM, there are supplemental options on the JPL Jobs site. Mentioned by option, a lot more like a traditional job opening, these internships are managed by the Laboratory’s University Recruiting staff, which is lively on LinkedIn and Instagram and can usually be uncovered at conferences and career fairs.

The When, What, and Where

Equally Instruction Business and University Recruiting options are paid and need a minimum amount 3. GPA, U.S. citizenship or lawful long term resident status, as perfectly as an first motivation of 10 weeks. Applicants will have to be enrolled in a university undergraduate or graduate method to be qualified. (Element 3 of this tale, obtainable on August 12, will be about what significant-school and youthful students can do to put together for a long run JPL internship or STEM job.)

After pivoting to completely remote internships in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, JPL is searching at no matter whether to go on presenting some distant or hybrid internships once the Los Angeles-region campus opens back up.

“We know that remote internships are successful,” states Tieu. “Interns have reported that they’re in a position to foster connections with JPL employees and obtain precious working experience even from home.” She notes that while in-man or woman internships give students optimum exposure to JPL – which include visits to Laboratory points of interest like mission management, the “clean space” exactly where spacecraft are constructed, and a rover testing ground called the Mars Lawn – remote internships have experienced a good impact on learners who beforehand weren’t ready to take part in man or woman because of to lifestyle constraints.

Most applications give housing and vacation allowances to pupils attending universities outside the house the 50-mile radius of JPL, so be confident to look at the program details if traveling to or dwelling in the Los Angeles location could be challenging economically.

Full-time and portion-time options can be uncovered throughout the 12 months with most openings in the summertime for entire-time interns, that means 40 hours for every week. For summer season opportunities, Tieu suggests making use of no afterwards than November or December. Candidates can commonly count on to hear again by April if they are likely to obtain an present for summer time, but it’s generally a very good idea to preserve on your own in the jogging, as applicants may be thought of for faculty-year alternatives.

Tieu provides, “If you have not heard back, and you might be closing in on the 6-thirty day period mark of when you submitted your application, I propose college students go again in and renew their application [for the programs listed on the JPL Education website] so that it stays active in the applicant pool for thought.”

And compared with task programs, wherever it’s sometimes frowned upon to apply to numerous positions at at the time, it truly is beautifully alright – and even encouraged – to use to several internships.

You may well also want to take into account these chances, particularly if you’re looking for internships at other NASA centers, you happen to be a international citizen, or you’re interested in a postdoc situation:

The most important factor is to not rely oneself out, says Tieu. “If you’re intrigued, operate on that resume, get people to overview your resume and deliver enter and suggestions and apply. We really don’t count on pupils to come in being aware of how to do almost everything. We are wanting for pupils with demonstrated challenge-fixing, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Software and other technical expertise are an included bonus and icing on the cake.”

Much more on that future week in aspect two of this three-part collection in which we’ll share information from JPL mentors on the capabilities and practical experience they seem for from possible interns.

Up Subsequent:

Competencies for Space Explorers – Coming August 5
The Pre-Faculty Trajectory – Coming August 12


The laboratory’s STEM internship and fellowship plans are managed by the JPL Schooling Office. Extending the NASA Business of STEM Engagement’s get to, JPL Education and learning seeks to produce the following era of researchers, engineers, technologists and place explorers by supporting educators and bringing the enjoyment of NASA missions and science to learners of all ages.

Vocation alternatives in STEM and past can be uncovered on-line at jpl.work. Study more about careers and daily life at JPL on LinkedIn and by next @nasajplcareers on Instagram.

TAGS: Internships, Learners, Careers, Science, Laptop Science, Engineering, Math, Plans, College Recruiting, Undergraduate, Graduate, College or university, Substantial University, Mentors