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Internships and Cooperative Education (Coops) provide students with a great opportunity to gain real-world experience while still in school. In addition to giving students direct experience in the field they are considering, interaction with others in the field can help provide perspective on career path options.  Don't wait until your third year to think about an internship or co-op assignment. Sometimes companies take on interns after their freshman or sophomore year. Students have an opportunity to work in an engineering lab or in manufacturing and they learn some of the realities of how industrial products are developed and manufactured.

University Career Center Resources
It's a good idea to begin planning your coop or internship many months ahead of when you want to start the experience.  Many university career centers offer resources on local internship and coop opportunities.  A good example of a university career center's coop site may be found at Drexel University. Another good site with information on Co-ops is the career center site at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Corporation Resources
Students should also contact companies directly to explore options and express an interest in the field.  Many large corporations have websites dedicated to internships, which explain the application process and upcoming positions.  According to General Motors, "Co-op students have the opportunity to explore career options in a variety of areas while continuing with their class schedules. The hands-on, practical experience will make it easier for students to decide on a specific career direction while the income from the work can help to defray some educational expenses." Examples of corporation coop sites may be found at IBM, General Motors, NASA, GE Aircraft Engines, and Texas Instruments.

Professional Society Resources
Some professional societies sponsor or help organize internships for students.  For example, the Society of Physics Students supports National Internships that offer nine-week, broad-based learning opportunities for undergraduate physics majors in the areas of scientific research, outreach, and policy. Other examples can be found at the Nucleus Summer Research Opportunities site, which is sponsored by both the American Association of Physics Teachers and SPS. And, the American Chemical Society supports an International Research Experiences for Undergraduates (IREU) program. Click here for links to other professional societies related to your field of interest. 

Additional Online Resources
The following sites offer additional resources on internships:




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