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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Engineering Internships for High School Students in San Francisco

Updated: Apr 23

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of engineering internships for high school students in San Francisco, it is important to understand why these opportunities could matter for your future. According to PRISM, a consultancy, 70% of students attending a US News top 50 University have completed at least one internship while in high school. These opportunities serve as a way to distinguish yourself in the admissions process by showing that you have gone out and verified your future goals through experience. Doing internships will help you enter college with a clearer idea of the professional environments you enjoy or don’t enjoy, which will make it easier for you to recruit into a job you love after graduation. Students who have done at least one internship in high school also typically have an easier time recruiting into college internships and pre-professional organizations such as finance or pre-law clubs.


How to Find Engineering Internships for High School Students in San Francisco


The best way to find engineering internships for high school students in San Francisco is through online search tools and lists. The StandOutSearch database provides the largest free resource that lists almost every internship program for the high school age group and allows you to search by interest area. MIT Admissions also provides a helpful list of High School Internships


However, official programs tend to be very competitive, so if you are serious about finding a summer internship in high school, you should also prepare a cold outreach strategy. You can read more about how to form a cold outreach strategy to find a high school internship at the end of this article. We also include email templates to make finding an internship or research position through cold outreach less daunting.


10 Engineering Internships for High School Students in San Francisco


Most of the engineering internships for high school students in San Francisco below have an acceptance rate of 20% or lower, given that there are many more high school students looking for internships relative to official programs that provide them. We recommend choosing at least five opportunities to apply to. If you see an opportunity that excites you, take a moment to write the deadline on your calendar!



  • Ages: 15-19

  • Location: Virtual 

  • Timeline: Summer, Spring, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


StandOut Connect is a program created thanks to investment from UChicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships in their interest area. Students interview with potential mentors who are leaders and innovators within their area of interest until they are hired for a two-month internship. Many students then receive optional return offers to continue with their internship for as long as they would like.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: San Francisco, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April 1, 2025


Careers in Science is a multi-year, year-round, paid internship and youth development program for San Francisco high school students who come from communities underrepresented in STEM, including girls and students of color.



  • Ages: 15-18

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 17, 2025


The iCLEM program is a paid summer science intensive designed for economically disadvantaged high school sophomores and juniors. The program aims to expand students' knowledge of biotechnology, microbiology, and biofuels, as well as introduce them to career exploration and preparation for the college application process. Students will complete a research project in a modern laboratory setting mentored by JBEI researchers and UC undergrads. The program will be hybrid in format, with in-person instruction at the Emeryville, CA laboratory 2-3 days a week and remote instruction on other days. Participants will receive a stipend of $3,000, and they will also have opportunities to learn about college admission requirements and financial aid, and to explore careers through discussions with STEM professionals and visits to local biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. To apply, students must meet eligibility requirements and submit a transcript, personal statement, "Why are you applying for iCLEM" statement, and a teacher's letter of reference.



  • Ages: 16-18

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April 1, 2025


QCaMP is a week-long virtual and in-person camp designed for high school teachers and students to jumpstart their pathway to quantum information science and technology. This program is aimed at introducing students to a new field they may not have known about, teaching them about computing fundamentals, and helping them apply quantum physics to solve computing problems in new ways. The camp is free and offers a learning stipend, with no advanced math or physics requirements. The program includes modules accessible and engaging for both teachers and students, with career talks, Q&A sessions, and hands-on experimental experience with quantum circuits. The only prerequisites are basic algebra and a strong interest in learning more.



  • Ages: 15-16

  • Location: San Francisco, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 1 2025


Externs of Meta Summer Academy (formerly known as Facebook Summer Academy) will have the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day operations of one of the world’s leading social media networks by being part of a dynamic workforce.



  • Ages: 14-17

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 15 2025


The Science Accelerating Girls' Engagement in STEM (SAGE) Summer Camp is a one-week program aiming to encourage Northern California high school students to explore a wide range of possibilities in STEM fields. The program is hosted by National Laboratory scientists and engineers with the goal of engaging intelligent, creative, and passionate young women and other marginalized genders to become a part of the STEM community. Throughout the week, students will participate in job shadowing, hands-on projects, professional development, and more, to learn about the STEM community, explore and balance their interests, and meet women in STEM at various stages of their career. The program is sponsored by several DOE National Labs and aims to foster innovation, grow the STEM community, and empower underrepresented students in STEM.



  • Ages: 15-18

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Timeline: Summer 

  • Deadline: February 11 2024


The SeA Bilingual STEM Camp, sponsored by Berkeley Lab K-12, is a free four-day program designed for English learning/Spanish-English bilingual students in grades 10-12 who are interested in STEM and Berkeley Lab career opportunities. The program includes tours of Berkeley Lab facilities, professional career talks with scientists, and workshops at both Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. The SeA program is a hybrid program, starting online on April 5, then moving on-site at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley on the 6-7th and 8th, respectively. Participants will be picked up from downtown Berkeley and all materials and meals will be provided.Berkeley Lab K-12 also offers other programs for various grade levels and virtual programs as well.



  • Ages: 16-18

  • Location: San Francisco, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Various deadlines


NASA Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) paid internships allow high school and college-level students to contribute to agency projects under the guidance of a NASA mentor.



  • Ages: 15-17

  • Location: San Francisco, CA 

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April 1, 2025


The Berkeley Lab Director's Apprenticeship Program (BLDAP) is a high school STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) program designed to help students develop 21st century skills, learn about Berkeley Lab’s research activities, receive college and career guidance, and develop a STEM network in a real-life work environment. It is a project-based program where participants engage in hands-on projects, an engaging computer science short course, and weekly discussions with STEM professionals. The program focuses on building 21st-century research skills such as problem-solving, communication, and collaboration while building a vibrant STEM network. BLDAP is open to public school students in 10th and 11th grade in the Bay area, particularly Alameda, San Francisco, and West Contra Costa counties, and seeks to reflect the racial demographics of the residential population. Students from underrepresented groups in STEM are highly encouraged to apply. The program takes place in-person for six weeks during the summer and students receive college and career guidance, and develop a STEM network in real-life work environments.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Not announced yet 


The QuarkNet Workshop program is an annual workshop for high school physics teachers and students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The workshop is designed to serve as an opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research in particle physics and cosmology, with presentations from scientists and postdocs from Berkeley Lab. The workshop is focused on creating a vibrant learning community that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program usually includes discussions on topics such as the search for dark matter, mapping the universe, measuring dark energy with supernovae, machine learning, and the Higgs boson. Additionally, students get to form small groups and interview lab scientists about their work, and they present a short video or powerpoint about the research. A highlight of the program is the discussion with Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter. The workshop is supported by QuarkNet, and there is no cost to teachers or students.


Cold Outreach Strategy for High School Internships 


If the opportunities listed above don’t turn out to be a fit, the next step to finding an engineering internship for high school students in San Francisco is to launch a cold outreach strategy. This may seem intimidating at first, but the guide below should make it much more simple. As an added note, please exercise caution when reaching out to professionals you don’t know. It is always safest to interview or meet virtually. 


How to Find Companies to Reach Out to for a High School Internship 


Use LinkedIn to find small companies where you can help with skills such as social media, coding, content/grant writing, or graphic design. Smaller companies that need more hands on deck will be the most likely to hire high-school-aged students. Try to find personal connections with the professionals you reach out to, such as being from the same state originally or liking the same sports team. 


How to Find Professors to Reach Out to for a High School Research Position 


You can use online university staff directories to find professors to reach out to for research positions. Note that if you are looking for a remote research position with a professor, you should be aware that these opportunities tend to be harder to come by. Professors typically have high school students help with more manual laboratory tasks such as washing beakers or running equipment and usually do not have very much use for interns at a high school education level within a remote setting. The exception is if you are doing computational research, which generally requires introductory knowledge of Python or R to parse large datasets. You should be able to learn Python or R on your own for free within a few months using resources such as Coursera’s R Programming Course or Python for Everybody.


How to Structure and Send Outreach Emails 


For a successful cold-outreach strategy, aim to send at least 50 emails to potential internship providers. Be sure to include a link to your resume, which should be no more than one page while you are in high school. UChicago provides a helpful free resume template and guide. We recommend including your resume as a Google Drive link because including it as a PDF will sometimes negatively impact the deliverability of your email. However, be sure to check that the sharing settings on the document allow anyone with the link to view its contents. It can also be a good idea to include work samples in your resume, such as the link to a website you designed, a social media account you manage, or your GitHub profile. 


Email Template for Finding a High School Internship 


If you are unsure how to structure your outreach emails to potential internship providers, here are some basic templates you can customize to your needs. 


Template for Finding an Internship


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Mr./Ms.____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I read about your company on LinkedIn and found the concept quite interesting. For context, [briefly state how the company relates to your interests or experience]. 

I was wondering if you might be looking for interns. I know I would have a great deal to learn from working with you, and I would love to contribute in any way I can. I have included my resume here. Thanks so much!


Sincerely, 


[Your name]


Template for Finding a Research Position


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Professor/Dr. ____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I recently read your paper on [restate the abstract] in [name of publication] and was quite intrigued by [part you found interesting]. I was wondering if I might be able to intern for you over this summer. [Elaborate on your relevant skills and experience and why you are passionate about the field]. 

I have included my resume here. Thanks so much! 


Sincerely,


[Your name]



Engineering Internships for High School Students in San Francisco
Engineering Internships for High School Students in San Francisco


Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for an engineering high school internship or research position is perseverance. These opportunities can be extremely difficult to secure, but most high school students find it worth it in the end to get a head start on building their careers. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to save it for later or share it with a friend. Good luck on your internship search journey! 

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