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25 STEM Internships for High Schoolers in 2023

What’s Covered:


Why wait until college to start doing internships? Now more than ever, organizations are actively searching for high school talent to help them with important research and project development initiatives. Heads up: many of these are even paid opportunities, which means your summer job could be the first step in your future career!


Why Do Internships in High School?


There are so many reasons that starting internships in high school can give you a competitive edge for both college and future careers. Here are just a few of the top reasons to look for an internship.


Gain Relevant Industry Experience


Although other experiences, such as volunteering and traditional part-time jobs, help you develop important soft skills that you can take to any job, internships show you what it takes to succeed in the industry you’re interested in. STEM internships in particular will often allow you to focus on developing your logical and analytical thinking skills, solve problems, and acquire skills such as research, data analysis, or coding. 


Connect With Professionals In Your Field 


Many of the internships below pair you with a mentor, who not only guides you through some of the tasks you may be unfamiliar with but can share their educational and professional journey with you. You can ask them about what to do in your high school years to prepare for success in college and in your anticipated career. 


Strengthen Your Resume Or Portfolio


Internships count as a form of work experience, and they might catch the eye of future employers or college admissions officers. Not only that, but the life experiences you have during an internship could provide you with rich material for an engaging admissions essay.


As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to get an internship, and the best news is that many of the internships listed below are paid opportunities, so you can even earn money while you pursue your passion.


20 STEM Internships for High Schoolers


The internships below are a great starting place, helping you identify the right type of internship for your interests and providing insight into what to expect from STEM internships in general. 


1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


Application Deadline:

  • Spring: Early November 
  • Summer: Early March 
  • Fall: Early July 


  • Spring: 16 weeks 
  • Summer: 10 weeks 
  • Fall: 16 weeks 


Becoming a NASA Intern is a highly competitive process, where you’ll have the chance to work on cutting-edge research and receive mentorship from current NASA employees. Internships can be completed during the Fall, Spring, or Summer, and spaces for high school students are limited to select centers. 


To qualify, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or an unweighted 3.0 GPA). You can apply here, and you’ll need to ensure you have a strong letter of recommendation. 


2. National Institute of Health


Application Deadline: February 1 

Duration: Eight weeks (May through September) 


This internship will allow you to work side-by-side with NIH biomedical researchers for eight weeks over the summer. You can also choose to complete one of their subprograms: the first is called HiSTEP, and it’s geared towards economically disadvantaged students in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. to provide an introduction to STEM and leadership development. HiSTEP 2.0 is an option for HiSTEP graduates and general high school students in the Bethesda area. 


For the general NIH internship, you’ll need to be at least 17 years old by June 15 of the year of your internship, and you’ll need to live close to one of the NIH campuses: 


  • Bethesda, MD
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Frederick, MD
  • Research Triangle Park, NC
  • Hamilton, MT
  • Framingham, MA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Detroit, MI 


Interns receive a stipend for their work, and you can apply here. The application opens in mid-December each year and closes on March 1.


3. NSA High School Work Study


Application Deadline: October 31 

Duration: Academic year (September through June)  


This program allows high school students to earn a salary over the summer and into the school year by fulfilling office roles at the National Security Agency. You are required to be a junior in high school and at least 16 years old. You must also have a background or interest in business, engineering, computer science, applied arts, graphic arts, or manufacturing. If selected, you undergo security clearance testing as part of your employment. 


4. Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP)


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: Eight weeks (with the possibility of extending up to two additional weeks)


This paid engineering internship targets high school students interested in conducting research over the summer. This is a competitive program and interns are selected based on their academic achievement, personal statements, recommendations, and career and research interests. There are opportunities available in the following states:


  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina 
  • Ohio 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.


To be eligible, you need to be in ninth grade and 16 years old at the time of the internship.  


5. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory


Application Deadline: 

  • Spring: November 30 
  • Summer: March 15  


  • Spring: 16 weeks  
  • Summer: March 15  


For high school seniors living in the Princeton area, you may be able to participate in a project-based internship at the Plasma Physics Laboratory! This internship requires you to collaborate with your high school to create a schedule that allows the internship to count for credit and accommodates your internship project needs. 


This is a semester-long internship You’ll need to be at least 16 years old and be a senior during the semester you’re applying for.  


6. Idaho National Laboratory


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: Six weeks


Get paid to work directly with a mentor at the Idaho National Laboratory! This laboratory is the Department of Energy’s national leader in nuclear energy, although they also contribute to other research areas such as national security and environmental science.  You’ll need to be at least 16 years old to apply and demonstrate an enthusiasm for learning, leadership, and self-improvement.  


7. Spark Summer Internship Program


Application Deadline: April 1

Duration: June through August 


Spark is an organization that connects students to internship opportunities—many of them STEM-focused—with industry experts, educators, and mentors from various organizations in Seattle, Washington. The exact internship requirements vary depending on the partner organization, but there is one common application and you can apply online for up to five projects.


8. Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program


Application Deadline: February 14

Duration: Eight weeks 


If you’re more about science than engineering, then this paid internship/mentoring experience is perfect for you. This program is available in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. As an intern, you’ll work alongside professionals to see firsthand what science is like in the field. You’ll also receive a $3,000 stipend and an all-expense paid trip to the Hutton Scholars Summit. 


The program is open to rising high school juniors, rising high school seniors, and rising college freshmen at the time of the summer internship. Internships take place over the summer and are generally within a 45-minute commute of the student’s home. 


9. National Cancer Institute


Application Deadline: December 30

Duration: One year 


Get an inside look at healthcare research with an internship at the National Cancer Institute. As a scientific intern, you’ll develop the foundational skills needed to complete biomedical research and have a designated mentor who can share their educational and professional experiences with you. 


To be eligible, you need to be a junior in high school at the time of application and be at least 17 years old by the start of the program in June. You also need to have an unweighted GPA of 3.0 and the Hepatitis B vaccines. If selected, you’re required to work eight consecutive weeks (40 hours per week) over the summer prior to your senior year of high school.



10. Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM)


Application Deadline: March 31

Duration: June through July 


While not as traditional of an internship, this is a five-week paid summer intensive that is designed for economically disadvantaged high school juniors and seniors. It is held at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and in it, students will gain skills in advanced scientific topics like microbiology, biochemistry, and biofuels as they work on a research project alongside JBEI researchers and undergrads. 


This opportunity is open to sophomores and juniors living in Alameda, Contra Costa, or San Francisco counties in California, with a 2.5 GPA or higher, and who passed Algebra 1 and Biology. Students will receive a $1,500 stipend at the completion of the program.


11. Maine Space Grant Consortium


Application Deadline: January 31

Duration: Six weeks


If you are a junior who lives in the state of Maine, you’re eligible for this six-week STEM internship. Internships are offered by numerous host organizations located across the state of Maine—internship specifics vary depending on the host organization. 


You’ll need to have a high GPA to qualify—such as a weighted GPA of 4.0 or higher—and have demonstrated interest in STEM. You’ll also need to commit to a Monday through Friday work week for the course of the six-week internship. 


12. Careers in Science Intern Program


Application Deadline: April 3

Duration: Multi-year, year-round 


If you live in San Francisco and are from an underrepresented group in STEM, then you might want to become a paid CIS intern! CIS Interns work at the California Academy of Sciences facility in Golden Gate Park and not only help scientists conduct field studies, but they also teach the public about science and receive professional development through workshops and conferences. 


To be eligible, you must be in 9th or 10th grade and enrolled in an SFUSD school, have and maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn Cs or higher in your math and science classes. You’ll also need an interest in learning, teaching, and science. This internship is a significant time commitment, so make sure that you are comfortable dedicating two or three years to the experience!


13. Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program


Application Deadline: February 5

Duration: Eight weeks (June through August)  


Provided by George Mason University, if selected you’ll work on research projects alongside university faculty across a variety of scientific disciplines, either in-person, remotely, or a blend of the two. While this is an unpaid opportunity, it is one of the few internships that allows you to experience both work and the college environment. 


To be eligible, you’ll need to demonstrate an interest in STEM and be 15 years or older by the internship start for work in the computer labs and 16 years or older for work in wet labs. 


14. National Institute of Standards and Technology


Application Deadline: February 13

Duration: Eight weeks (June through August)  


Students interested in scientific research can receive an unparalleled experience with NIST. This eight-week unpaid internship allows high school students to gain the skills they need to find success in STEM careers. Rising juniors and seniors are eligible for this research-focused internship. Since you need to provide your own transportation, it’s best if you live near either the Gaithersburg, MD facility or the Boulder, CO facility. 


15. Animal Care at the San Diego Zoo


Application Deadline: February 24

Duration: 12 weeks   


If you’ve dreamed of working at a zoo, then this is the internship for you! This paid summer internship allows you to experience what it’s really like to work at a zoo as you learn how to care for the zoo animals and plants, along with teaching zoo guests about the importance of conservation. Program participants receive a $4,500 stipend, paid out in three installments. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.  


16. National Eye Institute


Application Deadline: February 24

Duration: Eight to 12 weeks    


The National Eye Institute has two summer internship programs open to high school students who are age 17 or older—the NIH Summer Intern Program and the Diversity In Vision Research & Ophthalmology (DIVRO) Program, which is aimed at students from underrepresented groups in vision research. The internships take place in Bethesda or Rockville, Maryland, and lasts between eight and 12 weeks. 


17. Los Alamos National Laboratory High School Internship Program 


Application Deadline: 

  • Fall/Spring: December 31
  • Summer: April 11

Duration: N/A     


The High School Internship Program (HSIP) allows qualified northern New Mexico high school seniors to gain job experience while learning skills and exposing them to various career fields. There are two application periods—one for the summer season and one for the fall/spring season. Internships in STEM and other career areas are available (for example, administrative, business, operations support, etc.). 


Students must satisfy the following conditions to enroll in the High School Internship Program: Have senior standing and be at least 16 years old when the internship begins. Have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and pass a new employment drug test.  


18. Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility: J-Lab High School Summer Honors Program


Application Deadline: March 6

Duration: Six weeks (June through August) 


The Summer Honors Program at Jefferson Lab—a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory, located in Newport News, Virginia—invites local high school students to get hands-on experience in scientific or technical fields for six weeks.


To be eligible to participate in the JSA/Jefferson Lab High School Summer Honors Program, you must attend a local high school (within 60 miles of Jefferson Lab), be at least 16 years old by the program start date, be in good academic standing, and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA. Applicants are chosen based on skill and merit. 


19. J. Craig Venter Institute Internship Program


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: 10 to 15 weeks  


The JCVI Program is a highly coveted opportunity that aims to mentor and inspire future generations of exceptional scientists. The typical program is held over the summer and consists of a dedicated mentor, collaboration and networking with world-class scientists, hands-on involvement in research projects suited to their academic experience, access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and a judged poster presentation for enthusiastic high school (18 or older), undergraduate, and graduate students.


20. Broad Summer Scholars Program (BSSP)


Application Deadline: January 23

Duration: Six weeks (June through August)


If you’re a highly motivated Massachusetts high school student with a passion for science, you’ll want to look into the Broad Summer Scholars Program. The program matches you with cutting-edge research projects in fields such as cancer biology, psychiatric disease, chemical biology, computational biology, and infectious disease through which you’ll conduct research and explore careers in science. 


To be eligible, you must be a rising senior, earn a B or better in science and math classes, and live within commuting distance. At the completion of the program, you’ll receive a $3,600 stipend and partial reimbursement for travel expenses.  


21. Henry Hall Fellowship


Application Deadline: September 2

Duration: Extended


The Henry Hall Fellowship is for high school students interested in urban conservation and environmental justice. If selected, you’ll take part in educational sessions and field experiences while also exploring a variety of careers and becoming advocates for environmental change. You’ll also receive a small stipend based on your attendance. 


The program is eligible for students in grades 10 through 12 from Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  


22. Microsoft Discovery Program


Application Deadline: March 14

Duration: Four weeks (July through August)


If you live within 50 miles of Redmond, Washington, and have an interest in programming, this internship is for you. The Microsoft Discovery Program will teach you the fundamentals of programming and build valuable career skills while providing mentoring from Microsoft employees. 


To participate in this program, you must be a rising senior who is at least 16 years old, lives within 50 miles of Redmond, Washington, and has completed a pre-Calculus program. Participants in the Microsoft Discovery Program must also be available to work full-time during the course of the program and are paid. 


23. Meta Summer Academy


Application Deadline: March 1 

Duration: Six weeks (June through July)


If you’re a resident of East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, North Fair Oaks, or Redwood City, Meta Summer Academy (formerly known as Facebook Summer Academy) is a great opportunity to learn about the tech industry, gain real-world job experience, and get an up-close look at day-to-day operations at one of the world’s best-known social media networks. 


The opportunity is open to high school sophomores with a minimum 2.5 GPA. 


24. KP Launch 


Application Deadline: December 23 

Duration: Seven weeks (June through August)


The KP Launch program offers a number of internship opportunities across a wide variety of fields at Kaiser Permanente headquarters and offices throughout northern California. The program is aimed at underrepresented and low-income students and is intended to expose them to careers in health care. Participants are paid for their time, earning $15 to $17 an hour. 


To be eligible, you must live within a Northern California Kaiser Permanente designated service area, be a current high school student between the ages of 16 and 19, and be available to work full-time, Monday through Friday, for the course of the program. Priority is given to juniors and seniors.  


25. Boyce Thompson Institute High School Internship


Application Deadline: March 31 

Duration: Six weeks (June through August)


The Boyce Thompson Institute, a life sciences research institution located on the Cornell University campus, offers internship opportunities to students within a reasonable daily commute. Positions are available to students with an interest in plant science research and computational biology and no prior lab experience is required. Interns will have at least one research mentor, participate in training, and go on field trips. 


Applicants cannot be rising seniors and must be at least 16 years old. Selected students receive a $3,000 stipend. 


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. For example, earning a super-competitive NASA internship qualifies as a Tier 1 activity while earning a regional internship, like a spot in the Los Alamos National Laboratory High School Internship Program, is likely a Tier 2 extracurricular.  


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!


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.