Jump Right In

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Special Feature

Jump Right In

Shape Your Career with an Internship, Research Experience, or Other Extracurricular Experience


SPS Staff

2012 SPS interns stand in front of the American Center for Physics, home to the SPS national office. Photo by Tracy Nolis-Schwab.

If you want to get a handle on solving Maxwell’s equations and repeating Millikan’s oil drop experiment, courses are the way to go. But if you want to know what it is like to participate in cutting-edge research, work as a science writer, teach, or develop innovative science outreach programs, coursework alone is not enough. Even if you have already decided on your dream job, an extracurricular experience is a must.

Classes and homework are the foundation for learning physics content and sound laboratory practice. But even a well-taught class cannot replicate the panic/excitement/anticipation of the first day of an internship, co-op, or extracurricular research experience. Nothing can replicate the career opportunities, personal growth, and skill building that come from jumping head-first into a new environment where you can test what you have learned in a supportive, yet authentic environment.

In the following stories, written by SPS interns, the value of their summer experience is clear. These stories, all written by undergraduate physics majors who spent a summer working in the nation’s capital on projects in science outreach, education, policy, communication, and research, convey better than any brochure or flashy poster how important the experience can be long after the summer ends. The SPS internship program is broader than most, providing opportunities for physics students that more closely align with the wide variety of career paths pursued by physics degree recipients than more traditional internship or summer research experiences. If the program intrigues you, apply! If you have other aspirations, seek out other opportunities! Visit The Nucleus and SPS Jobs for a clearinghouse of research and internship opportunities for physics students, talk to nearby companies or labs, and talk to your faculty and mentors—find an opportunity that excites you and jump in head-first. It will be an experience that will help shape your career! //

Be A 2014 SPS Intern!

The SPS summer internship program places undergraduate physics students with various organizations around Washington, DC, in the areas of science policy, communication, outreach, and scientific research. All internships include paid housing, a competitive stipend, commuting allowance, and transportation to/from Washington, DC. Check out the details at www.spsnational.org/programs/internships/.

See the 2013 SPS intern profiles here.

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