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Is there any way to earn an internship as a high school student with lack luster extracurriculars? If not, what extracurriculars would help me get there?

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I'm currently in grade 10, and actually in no rush to obtain one yet. But this is my goal soon. I want to intern at either a STEM or technical facility that would help me gain hands-on experience while boosting my application for university, but I am unsure how I will achieve this. One downside is that I'm from Ottawa so the opportunities here are limited. Do you think I'd be able to get one by the end of gr11 ?I'm in 10th grade right now. Any advice would be appreciated. #internship #college #computer-science #stem

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5 answers

Katherine’s Answer

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Extracurriculars always help as they demonstrate your interests, that you are involved in your home or school community, and sometimes that you are a leader and part of a team. If you don't have extracurriculars, you can still obtain an internship by doing three things. (As you complete these tasks, make sure they all align and are focused on the area of STEM you want to be in). 1. Get involved in STEM in other ways such as hackathons, STEM summer camps, or writing a blog about STEM topics. 2. Network on social media and LinkedIn with professionals in STEM, find a mentor in STEM, or attend STEM conferences. By building your network ahead of time, people will already know of and trust you once you start applying for internships. They may even think of you when they need an intern. 3. Show your interest in STEM by starting a small STEM project. This demonstrates initiative, drive, passion, and leadership. A small project could be a hackathon amongst your friends, using STEM to find a creative way to clean up your community or solve a problem, reading STEM books to young students, etc. Your network will grow, you will have more experience, and will be more involved in the STEM community once you are ready to look for an internship. Put in the work now and the internship may easily come to you once you are ready. Lastly, make sure you include all your work on your resume and/or LinkedIn.
Wow thank you, this is so insightful! I'm really excited and encouraged to try this out. I have currently created a list of extracurriculars that I would like to pursue, and hope to accomplish them by 11th grade. Other than that, I will follow this advice, and hope for the best! Thank you again! Aun M.
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Mikayla’s Answer

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Heck yeah! STEM is a really broad sort of category, but even without knowing what type of internship you want I can ascertain there is plenty of free STEM education platforms than could teach you the basics of coding, for example. You can also take courses for certifications through Coursera, iTunes U, and plenty of other app-friendly flex-educational platforms that provide semester-long classes at reasonable costs. Or get active in school clubs. I had a student who started a robotics club at her school in 2016–when she was a sophomore. Pick 1-2 things and commit to them: it will demonstrate not only your interest, but your commitment to your interest. Good luck!
Thanks! I appreciate the reassurance! And yes, I am definitely starting on participating in my school's robotics and programming club, which I soon hope to become a leader in. I also agree that STEM is broad, so as a general rule of thumb, working at any research or office facility that would help me learn and gain a transferable skill set that can be applied to any sort of engineering job in the future would be preferable. Aun M.
I see you're interested in software and computer engineering. Either way, you will definitely need to learn how to code. I found this article for you. You can simply search Google for different online training courses. https://www.switchup.org/rankings/best-online-bootcamps Also, check Craigslist! Companies are looking for interns all the time. Also, even though you are young, start building up a LinkedIn profile--and eventually, a website of your own to add to your portfolio. Mikayla Hall
Wow thank you for the advice. I've never been more excited to work for such an opportunity! Building a LinkedIn profile is definitely on my todo list! I'll also be sure to check out the course rankings you have provided me with. All the best! Aun M.
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Angela D.’s Answer

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Mikayla provided great advice! Do you know which area of engineering you are thinking of or exploring (e.g., civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, etc.)? Something else to consider is speaking with your school counselor, family members, and friends on potential opportunities for an engineering internship or a mentorship. In the meantime, before engaging in an internship, you may want to shadow/interview an engineer to get her/his views on their education/career. This may also potentially lead to mentoring and/or an internship. Lastly, the University of Ottawa has a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Design (CEED) and they may have some suggestions. There is also a free Engineering and Computer Science graduate poster presentation on March 3rd that might be interesting to attend. The university's website contains a great deal of information as well. Wishing you success in your endeavors, Dr. B
Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it! I'm planning on exploring software engineering, as I feel like I have built up much more knowledge inclined towards that field. However, I am also interested in computer engineering, as it deals with the hardware component of engineering, which is still quite interesting. I appreciate all the knowledge you've given me. All the best. Aun M.
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Emily’s Answer

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Try Dow Chemical. They have a lot of HS internships around the globe.
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Emily’s Answer

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Try Dow Chemical. They have a lot of HS internships around the globe.
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