It’s a commonly known fact that women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In fact, women make up only 28% of the workforce in these fields. Gender stereotyping plays an enormous role in this imbalance; girls are often not encouraged to pursue these fields the way boys are.
This means there is a lack of female role models in STEM, which can make it challenging for young women to see themselves in these careers. Unconscious bias is also a lingering issue; professors, co-workers, employers, and even friends and family members can all unintentionally be biased against women in STEM.
However, these are exactly the reasons why so many industries are creating the best research opportunities for women in STEM fields. Shattering the glass ceiling takes effort from everyone, and elevating females in these industries can bridge gaps in male-dominated industries.
What Are the Features of the Best STEM Internships for Women?
Just as in any field, there are good STEM internships and not-so-good ones out there. Landing a good one can be a great boon when submitting your college applications.
Whether you’re looking for the best opportunities for women or the best STEM internships for high school students in general, here are some qualities of a good program to keep an eye out for:
Opportunities to Learn New Skills
One of the biggest reasons women look to internships is for the chance to gain and hone transferable skills. The best STEM internships for women ensure that interns have the opportunity to broaden their skill set in the field they choose.
Whether it involves learning new software or promoting company values in a customer service role, a STEM internship that builds learnable skills is a great advantage for women in STEM.
The Chance to Network and Make a Difference
The best research opportunities for women in STEM are those that give them the chance to make a difference as they share their work with colleagues. This is especially true if women are given opportunities to network with other women in their STEM fields.
Building relationships with potential mentors is crucial, and when women can make a real difference, whether within the company or in the world, they shine.
Challenging Work and Professional Development Opportunities
The best STEM internships for women provide opportunities to learn about career paths in the field, attend workshops and seminars, and confer with others beyond just their immediate coworkers.
Women should have opportunities to contribute to real-world projects in the STEM field they choose as they engage in work that is meaningful to them.
A Supportive and Supervised Work Environment
One of the most valuable features of a good STEM internship for women is a supportive, supervised work environment. Women should feel comfortable and encouraged to ask questions and receive help. They should feel supported at all levels, from co-workers to direct supervisors to managers and corporate members.
This positive environment should make women feel valued as they gain real-world experience. Every company that hosts a STEM internship for women should have a diverse workforce that is welcoming, respectful, and supportive.
What Are the Best Research Opportunities for Women in STEM?
Some of the best research opportunities go right along with the best internships for women in STEM. Some colleges are research institutions that have made a special effort to encourage women to join STEM fields.
For example, Cornell University’s Empowering Women in Science & Engineering is a symposium that allows students to discuss the challenges facing women in STEM. The Cornell Institute for Women in Science provides research opportunities for women in areas that help them put good ideas into practice.
Other universities that offer outstanding research opportunities for women include:
- The University of Michigan
- Rice University
- Pennsylvania State University
- University of California–Davis
- The University of Chicago
- The University of Arizona
- Mount Holyoke College
- Stanford University
It should be noted that these universities and many others also provide research opportunities and host the best STEM internships for high school students and college students.
The Best Internships for Women in STEM
While research universities are excellent hosts of STEM internships for women, they aren’t the only enterprises to look to. Many entities, from small local businesses to the world’s largest corporations, promote and encourage women to break through that glass ceiling while they grow their STEM skill set in the process.
The PEAK6 Trading Experience for Women
This summer internship is available to young women who are juniors pursuing a degree in finance, business, engineering, or economics. During this internship, women are introduced to the basics of trading and develop key skills they can use throughout their future careers.
Those interested in becoming interns must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and demonstrate leadership skills to be considered. They must also be excellent problem-solvers and have exceptional analytical skills.
The Facebook Software Engineer Internship
This internship is available to students who want to earn a degree in a STEM field like computer science, coding, or a related field.
During this internship, interns will create web applications and high-volume servers. They’ll be a part of and network with a team that works to connect people from anywhere on the planet. Interns also help build Facebook product systems while learning new skills to advance their future careers.
The Joanne Toole Internship
This internship is a paid opportunity for women to engage in STEM-related fieldwork. If you are passionate about marine biology, engineering, or other related fields, this one may suit you well.
Open to women who have a background in marine science or a similar field, this internship opportunity is designed for interns with an interest in a career in ocean conservation. If you want to learn about the environmental impact that discarded fishing gear has, this internship might be a rewarding opportunity.
Interns assist the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, engage the initiative’s membership, and advance marine science–related projects.
Google’s Software Developer Internship
Female students pursuing a degree in computer science or any related field may be interested in the Software Developer Internship from Google. This internship is available to students who want to work on projects in areas like test engineering, product development, systems development, and site reliability.
Application dates for the Software Developer Internship (and many others) are rolling. Other internships available from Google include:
- Hardware Engineering Internship
- User Experience Internship
- STEP (formerly Engineering Practicum)
- Associate Product Manager Internship
- Mechanical Engineering Internship
Google offers some of the best engineering and technical internships you may come across. The environments are inclusive and supportive of women in STEM, and internships are available in all corners of the globe.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research Internship
Women with a passion for women-oriented policy research might be interested in this opportunity, which provides research and administrative support to interns through filing, answering phones, collecting data, designing charts, and reviewing literature.
To qualify for this internship, women must have an interest in women’s issues and experience with social science, statistics, or economics through coursework. If you have excellent organizational skills and solid interpersonal skills, this internship might be ideal for you.
The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Internship
A variety of students are eligible to participate in this exciting internship hosted by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Candidates must provide letters of recommendation with their application and have relevant experience or training in addition to a solid academic record.
Notorious for providing equitable environments that are free of discrimination, the Smithsonian offers this as a paid internship. This opportunity might be perfect for women with career goals that align with the internship program.
The Summer EDGE Program
The Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) program is designed for any woman who aims to earn a Ph.D. in any of the mathematical science fields. The internship program is offered in two four-week courses, a mini-course, and problem sessions.
This paid program offers a stipend of $3,000 plus room and board and travel expenses. Guest lectures, problem-solving workshops, special sessions, and research opportunities are included as part of the experience.
Women interested in the fields of pure mathematics, statistics, operations research, or applied mathematics are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.
Abbott’s Women in STEM Internships
Abbott is an enormous proponent of changing the face of STEM by supporting women in these fields. The company resolves to choose students for internships from diverse areas; more than ? of those chosen are from underrepresented groups, and over 50% of them are young women.
The STEM internships from Abbott offer interns the chance to earn college credit while developing the confidence, skills, and connections that will take them to the top of their STEM careers once they’re ready to enter the workforce. Abbott also offers a wide variety of the best STEM internships for high school students, allowing them to work alongside scientists and engineers.
The Best Internships for Women in STEM
Women who are making a difference through STEM fields can join the nearly 800,000 more STEM workers predicted to be in demand by 2030. Some of the brightest minds are needed to solve major problems, and women who take on STEM internships are rising to the challenge.