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Timothy Peck
8 Internships

19 Awesome High School Internships in the Bay Area

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Home to world-class colleges and universities, tech giants, and renowned museums, the Bay Area is home to numerous excellent internships for ambitious high school students. Whether you’re looking to make a year-round commitment or spend your summer interning, there’s no shortage of chances for you to pursue a field of interest, build skills, network with professionals, learn about a career path, and meet students with shared interests. As an added bonus, internships look great to college admissions offices, and some even will pay you. 


If you’re looking for an internship opportunity, we’ve collected 19 of the best high school internships in the Bay Area to get you started on your search. East Coast students, make sure to check out our blog post 18 Best High School Internships in NYC. 


High School Internships in the Bay Area


1. Asian Art Museum’s Art Speak Internship


Students participating in the Asian Art Museum’s Art Speak internship reap a multitude of benefits. Art Speak interns will discover the art and cultural traditions of Asia, connect with like-minded peers, and gain exposure to the Bay Area art scene by participating in workshops and meeting local artists. The Art Speak internship is open to artistic Bay Area public school students in grades 10-12. Interns receive a monthly stipend over the course of the nine-month program, school credit, and a free year-long membership to the museum. Additionally, the Art Speak internship provides an excellent opportunity to build your portfolio and bolster your extracurricular profile. 


2. The Berkeley Micro/NanoLab High School Intern Program for Young Women


Since 2001, the Berkeley Micro/NanoLab High School Intern Program for Young Women has invited high-achieving high school senior girls who are 16 years or older and have completed chemistry (and preferably psychics) courses to participate in their program. Lasting eight weeks, participants are paired with a mentor that they’ll work with for four 8-hour days a week where they’ll partner on projects and build lab skills. The purpose of the Berkeley Micro/NanoLab High School Intern Program for Young Women is to encourage female participation in engineering and science. 


3. Buck Institute Summer Scholars 


The Buck Institute for Research on Aging provides a seven-week summer research internship to local high school students to prepare them for careers in biomedical and geroscience research. Students will work between 30-40 hours a week, during which they’ll receive mentorship (from the up to 20 participating research mentors), attend meetings, review lab work, and discuss data. Students will prepare a research poster and present it to their peers, families, teachers, mentors, and faculty at the conclusion of their internship. 


The Buck Institute Summer Scholars is for grades 9-11 and not open to graduating seniors. Participants should have completed at least one AP (or equivalent) science course. There is a $2,500 fee to intern. Admission to the program is need blind and both full and partial scholarships are available based on financial need. 


4. Contemporary Jewish Museum’s (The CJM) Teen Art Connect (TAC) Internship


The CJM TAC is open to students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade who are interested in art, culture, Judaism, intercultural dialogue, and education. Over the course of the year-long paid TAC internship, students participate in activities such as leading architecture and exhibition tours, promoting and assisting in workshops, and planning their annual Teen Takeover event. TAC interns receive one-on-one mentorship from museum staff, free membership to the museum, the chance to meet like-minded students, and the opportunity to connect with artists and creative professionals. 


5. Chabot Space and Science Center Galaxy Explorers


An incredible opportunity for students interested in STEM, the Galaxy Explorers program is a year-round commitment in which students in grades 9-12 are required to participate a minimum of eight hours a month. Galaxy Explorers can meet their required commitment through numerous programs including field trips to local tech companies, staffing exhibits, assisting with outreach, and participating in workshops. Galaxy Explorers in an unpaid volunteer program—it’s also competitive, so a strong GPA and strong letter of recommendation will benefit your candidacy. 


6. Exploratorium High School Explainers 


The Exploratorium was the brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer, an experimental physicist (and brother to “the father of the atomic bomb,” Robert Oppenheimer). Home to hundreds of exhibits that help in the understanding of electricity, centrifugal motion, sound waves, optical illusion, superstition, and other concepts, the museum relies on Explainers—rather than docents—who are young people trained and supported by staff scientists and educators. Serving a vital role, explainers are given a considerable amount of responsibility, as they’re the Exploratorium’s primary contact point with the public. Students fill 130 positions a year and more than 3,500 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1969. High School Explainers are paid—they receive San Francisco’s minimum wage ($15.59), which is more than three dollars higher than the California minimum wage. 


7. Google Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI)


Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is described as intensive, interactive, hands-on, and fun. CSSI is a three-week program open to graduating seniors with a passion for technology who intend to enroll in a full-time BA/BS program in the U.S. or Canada. A low 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio, a chance to interact with Google engineers, and a network with like-minded peers are just a few of the benefits afforded to CSSI participants. Over the course of the program, students develop technical skills, increase confidence, and prepare themselves to study computer science and its closely related fields. In addition to being offered at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, CSSI is offered at ten other Google offices across the United States. 


8. Facebook Summer Academy 


Over 100 high schoolers who are full-time residents of East Palo Alto, Belle Haven in Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks in Redwood City are given a chance to extern with the world’s leading social media network. Working closely with mentors, externs gain insight into the day-to-day operations of a social media network and build real-world skills. The mission of Facebook’s Summer Academy is to inspire high schoolers to explore a career in the tech industry and show them how a high-tech career can help them to achieve economic success, stability, and mobility. 


9. Kaiser Permanente L.A.U.N.C.H. 


Standing for Learn About Unlimited New Careers in Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente’s L.A.U.N.C.H. program has offered opportunities for underserved high school students since 1968. Focusing on in-demand healthcare careers, L.A.U.N.C.H. prepares participants for a career in healthcare. In fact, many past L.A.U.N.C.H. participants are now employed at Kaiser Permanente in positions such as a nurse, department administrator, lab technician, optician, and engineer. Students must be between 15-20 years of age, but priority is given to juniors and seniors in high school.  


10. Metropolitan Transportation Commission


For over two decades, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) High School Internship program has allowed students to gain professional experience—both in offices and in the field—in competitive fields such as transportation planning and engineering. The internship program seeks to promote interest in careers in transportation. In addition to gaining planning and engineering experience, students will develop skills including marketing, communications, public outreach, data analysis, utility maintenance, website development, and video editing, along with GIS, AutoCAD, and other software. 


The MTC High School internship program is eligible for students 16 years old and up who are enrolled in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. The program is available in the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties. 


11. Project Pull


Sponsored by the City and County of San Francisco through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Project Pull has been providing mentorship to promising and motivated San Francisco students for a quarter of a century—and hopefully pulling them to public service. An eight-week program, Project Pull participants work a maximum of 20 hours a week with full-time city employees from a variety of departments. Through Project Pull, students will have the chance to explore careers in architecture, business, engineering, and science. 


12. Sandia National Laboratories Summer Internships 


Sandia, a company that delivers national security solutions through science and technology, offers summer internships to high school students 16 years and older at its Livermore, California location. Interns are given the opportunity to work in a broad spectrum of disciplines including cybersecurity, energy surety, engineering design, and software development. Interns are assigned to a team that guides them in everything from professional development to social activities, and are given an incredible opportunity to work with the nation’s top scientists and engineers while gaining firsthand experience using cutting-edge equipment. 


13. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)


Juniors and seniors 16 years of age or older are invited to apply for SIMR. SIMR is a unique eight-week program where students perform basic research with Stanford faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students, and researchers on a medically oriented project in one of eight areas, or a bioengineering bootcamp. All students receive a minimum $500 stipend for the summer; however, students from underrepresented groups in biomedical research, such as ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, women, and individuals with disabilities may receive stipends starting at $1,500 for the summer. 


14. Stanford RISE Program


Standing for Raising Interest in Science and Engineering, the Stanford RISE summer internship program is for low-income high school students 16 years and older. An intensive seven-week program, students in the RISE program work six hours a day, five days a week on the Stanford campus under the guidance of a mentor who is typically a graduate student. RISE students receive a $2,500 stipend and are given the opportunity to participate in field trips, lectures, and hands-on science labs, along with sessions on college admissions and financial aid. 


15. University of California San Francisco (UCSF) High School Intern Program 


A rigorous and intense experience, the eight-week UCSF High School Intern Program has participants conduct an original research project under the direction of a UCSF mentor. This internship differs from many similar programs in that acceptance is not dependent on grades or a commitment to a scientific career path. The majority of participants come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences—for example, minorities, women, and those from low-income families. The goal of the program is to develop a sense of belonging and allow students to envision themselves pursuing a college degree and career in biomedical sciences. 


To participate in the UCSF High School Intern Program, students must be a rising senior attending school in the San Francisco Unified School District and nominated by one of their science teachers. 


16. Marin Health High School Internship


If you are looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the medical field, consider applying to become an intern at Marin Health. As an intern, you will be working under the guidance of the manager for respiratory services. You will be assigned different tasks that include maintaining adequate inventory levels for various equipment and all the other supplies that are used by the different departments.


Some of the important tasks that you will be responsible for include removing the air and oxygen cylinders and resupplying the tanks throughout the hospital. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how a hospital operates and to gain some valuable experience in the medical field.


17. KP Launch Program 


The KP LAUNCH program is a community-based initiative that was founded in 1968 to increase diversity in the healthcare field. Applicants from minority groups and backgrounds that typically have little to no exposure to healthcare are especially encouraged to participate in this summer internship program, which aims to show students if a career in health sciences is a good fit for them.


The 7-week paid internship includes weekly workshops that help interns develop essential personal and professional skills. In addition, the program relies on interactions with supervisors and mentors, as well as networking opportunities, to give students a taste of what they could do with a health science career.


18. San Francisco YouthWorks


The SF YouthWorks program offers high school students the opportunity to get a head start on their careers by working alongside city employees at various departments, such as the airport, library, and public utilities commission. Through mentorship and guidance from departmental staff, interns will gain invaluable experience in their field of interest, participate in field trips and site tours, and engage with local communities through service projects.


19. SFUSD Summer Internship


Students interested in exploring various careers can take advantage of the SFUSD summer internship program. The program offers paid internships lasting six weeks, during which students work 20 hours per week. Through these internships, students gain work-based experience in fields such as the automotive industry, the tech industry, child development, and green careers.


In addition to working with industry partners, students also have the opportunity to work with youth and children in after-school programs. The internships are paired with a course from City College of San Francisco, providing students with an enriching learning experience.


How Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?


Once you clear the academic threshold at selective colleges, your extracurriculars can be just as important as your grades. This is because there are so many academically-qualified candidates that admissions officers turn to activities and essays to see which students stand out and may be the best fit. 


Admissions officers rate a student’s extracurriculars based on their impressiveness and uniqueness. Each activity can generally fall into one of four tiers, with Tier 1 being the most outstanding (i.e. a national award). An internship may fall into Tiers 1-3, depending on how selective it is. 


To see how your activities stack up, use our free chancing engine. It’ll help you classify your extracurriculars into tiers, and let you know which aspects of your profile need improvement. You’ll be able to go into college admissions much more prepared as a result!


For more posts on exciting extracurriculars, check out these posts below:


14 Computer Science Internships for High Schoolers

15 Medical Internships for High School Students

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.