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8 Engineering Internships for High School Students in the Bay Area

If you’re a high school student in the Bay Area with a passion for engineering, we’ve got some internships for you that are definitely worth looking into! Completing an internship gives you a deeper understanding through application-based learning. You’ll gain practical skills and experience, allowing you to combine everything you’ve learned in the classroom with your career interests — this sets you apart from other students and gives you an edge when it comes to college applications. 

 

All of these internships are competitive and many of them come with a prestige that automatically shows your skills and talents to college admissions committees. 

 

In this blog, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best internship programs around San Francisco, CA that are open to high school students. These are some of the most competitive and hands-on internships in the area — Let’s dive in!


Cost: No registration fee; housing, transportation, and meals are not covered; stipend provided.

Location: There are several lab locations to choose from.

Application deadline: Applications open August 1, 2024; it is recommended to apply as early as possible as slots are limited.

Program dates: Typically 8 weeks during the summer; varies depending on location and student.

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a currently enrolled high school student who has completed grade 9.

  • Graduating seniors are eligible.

  • Must be 16 years of age or older by the internship start date.

  • Most labs require that you be a U.S. citizen, but some will accept permanent residents.

The Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) is an 8-week program run by the Department of Navy (DoN). The program is a great opportunity for high school students looking for some practical, hands-on experience with science and engineering. As a participant, you can explore fields such as computer science, physics, mathematics, and several fields of engineering. You will be directly mentored by lab scientists and engineers on the projects you work on, and these projects will provide valuable experiences in STEM — further expanding your knowledge and providing first-hand exposure to the techniques used in the field.

The program is highly competitive and interns are selected based on academic achievement, personal statements, recommendations, and career and research interests. Before you apply, you’ll research and choose your applied lab. There are two in Monterrey, CA and seven total in the State of California. The stipend is $4,000 for new participants and $4,500 for returning participants. For a deeper dive into the program, check out our post about it here.

Cost: $1990 (Financial Aid Available)

Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: Deadlines vary depending on the cohort 

Program dates: Multiple cohorts throughout the year

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!


Ladder Internships is a selective start-up internship program for ambitious high school students! In the program, you work with a high-growth start-up on an internship. Start-ups that offer internships range across a variety of industries from tech/deep tech, AI/ML to health tech, marketing, journalism, consulting, and more.  You can explore all the options here on their application form. Ladder’s start-ups are high-growth companies on average raising over a million dollars. Past founders have included YCombinator alums, founders raising over 30 million dollars, or founders who previously worked at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. In the program, interns work closely with their managers and a Ladder Coach on real-world projects and present their work to the company. Here is the application form


Interns are offered one-on-one training in communication, time management and other such valuable skills and will also have the opportunity to attend group training sessions with other interns in their cohort. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.


Cost: Free for all accepted participants; stipend provided. You’ll also need to make your own arrangements for transportation to and from your internship site.

Location: Internships are typically located at EBMUD offices and facilities in the East Bay area of California; varies depending on department.

Application deadline: Typically March each year.

Program dates: 6 weeks from mid-June through July.

Eligibility: 

  • You must be a current high school student in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade

  • You must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination

The EBMUD High School Summer Internship (HSSI) Program runs every summer for 6 weeks and offers Engineering as a program placement. EBMUD handles large construction projects and infrastructure maintenance, both of which require engineers. Placed in one of these departments, you can expect to produce different professional documents, assist in the organization of engineering projects, like the Capital Improvement Program, network within your department and between departments, and learn to use the tools and software standards in the field of engineering. This kind of experience gives you a clear view of what a career as an engineer looks like daily and shows admissions committees that you are curious and dedicated to the field.

You’re expected to work approximately 15 hours per week and you’ll spend your time in weekly enrichments and career exploration opportunities. You’ll be paired with different mentors in your department and work on-site to get hands-on work experience in the field. Make sure to mark your calendars and apply early as only 35 interns are accepted each year.

                                                                            

Cost: Free for all accepted participants; stipend provided.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Application deadline: Typically mid-March.

Program dates: Specific dates vary, but interns typically work 20 hours per week starting in June and continuing through early August.

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a rising high school senior or college student

  • Must reside in District 10 or District 11

The San Francisco SSIP internship is a paid summer internship program for students from southeast neighborhoods. In this program, you will be placed with a private engineering firm and will be mentored by professional engineers as you work. This gives you an edge when it comes time to request letters of recommendation, and gives you direct access to an expert who can answer all of your questions about becoming an engineer. 

You can expect to work on projects with experienced engineers and learn about design and urban planning. Students may participate in field trips, visit project sites, and observe professional meetings.


Cost: Free for all accepted participants; stipend provided.

Location:  South San Francisco, CA

Application deadline: Typically early April

Program dates: Typically early June to early August

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a public high school student aged 15-18

  • Must reside in South San Francisco

This 8-week program matches students with an SSF City department that aligns with their interests, including departments with a significant engineering component or focus. You’ll be asked to assist with special projects within your department, complete light technical work, research and analysis, and some clerical work. The research and analysis aspects are particularly valuable as those skills are directly transferable to university life. 

You should expect to work for 20-25 hours per week and most students receive a letter of recommendation upon completion of their internship. Receiving a letter like this can help you secure a future job or admission to your dream school. 

Cost: $60 application fee; $500 deposit fee; $4250 program fee; there are also optional costs for housing and transportation if needed; need-based financial aid is available upon request.

Location: University of California, Santa Cruz; some parts of the program are online/remote.

Application deadline: Typically late March or early April

Program dates: This 9-week program typically runs from late June to early August; For 2024, the program runs from June 23rd to August 10th.

Eligibility: 

  • Must be at least 14 years old on the program start date (some projects require 16 years of age).

  • Must be enrolled in high school.

This 9-week program is designed to place high school students with mentors who help them work on authentic, open-ended research projects in fields like science, art, humanities, and engineering. Your mentor will be a UCSC researcher and you’ll work with them full-time for 9 weeks to bring your research project to life. This kind of experience helps you build a research portfolio before you get to college and gives you a strong foundation of skills in engineering. You can expect small cohorts and the opportunity to share your research, along with field trips and training sessions.

To be accepted you’ll need to demonstrate strong interest in the engineering fields, motivation to learn new concepts, and an impressive capacity for analytical thinking in your application. You can check out the projects from 2023 here, and if you’re interested in a deeper dive into this program, you can check out our blog.

Cost: Free for all accepted participants; $50 application fee.

Location: Stanford University, CA; though the last few programs have been held virtually.

Application deadline: Typically February, but applications are sometimes extended to early March. You can request to be notified about the 2025 application here.

Program dates: 8 weeks during the summer, usually beginning in late June.

Eligibility: 

  • Must currently be a high school junior or senior at the time of application.

  • Must be at least 14 years of age.

The Summer Internships for High Schoolers and Community College Students at Stanford University is a prestigious program designed to provide early exposure to research beyond disciplinary boundaries. You’ll be placed in project groups anchored in the fields of science, humanities, technology, engineering, and mathematics (SHTEM). You’ll be grouped into multifaceted projects and participate in group meetings, work on real research projects with your mentors, analyze data, and present your research. You can form lifelong friendships in your cohort, help solve real problems, and have compelling experiences to write about in your college admissions essays.

The program runs for 8 weeks and you’re required to be available for the entire duration. You should also expect to work 30-40 hours per week. They only accept 60 students total, with students broken into cohorts of 2-5. You can check out last year’s projects here and take a look at our in-depth article on the program here.

Cost: Free for all accepted participants; stipend provided.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Application deadline: Application opens February 1, 2025.

Program dates: The dates depend on the student’s industry placement, but expect to work for 6 weeks during the summer for at least 20 hours/week.

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a SFUSD student

  • Must be a high school sophomore or junior, with priority going to rising seniors

The SFUSD Summer Internship is a competitive internship designed to get students meaningful, hands-on experience outside of the classroom. You can work in several fields including architecture, engineering, and environmental sciences. You’ll attend weekly work-based learning seminars and work directly with your mentor to complete current projects.


The program provides you with a lot of networking opportunities, and you may even participate in a variety of field excursions. This gives you invaluable experience in terms of seeing academic skills applied to real-world situations — helping to build a solid foundation for when you apply to college or for future jobs in engineering.


One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in pursuing research in STEM or other fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Elise is a writer for Lumiere and a graduate of the University of Montana School of Law. She began writing for Lumiere in 2024 in order to help connect high school students to research opportunities. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Ladder Internships

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