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It is important that all COEN students obtain relevant work experience prior to graduation. This will help you be competitive when seeking a full-time job, or pursuing graduate research positions. COEN graduates are surveyed each year, and 70% find employment in industry, 10% pursue graduate degrees, and 20% are still seeking employment after graduation. The biggest factor for not finding jobs is whether they obtained relevant experience prior to graduation.

The truth of the matter is that it’s never too early to start thinking about your career, and an internship is one of the most critical steps in that journey. Many internship programs begin recruiting for summer interns in October and ending in December… or January at the latest. Others will continue to seek interns throughout the Spring. It’s always a good idea to start early, and apply for many opportunities.

What is an internship?

A practical hands-on work experience related to your field of study. Whether you are paid, or just volunteering, relevant work experience is a valuable part of your academic career.

Earning credit for your internship – Handout

Why should I get an internship?

Benefits to Student:

  • Learn about your major and what engineers do
  • Determine your preference for engineering major, company size, and environment
  • $$$ Make money $$$
  • Gain new skills
  • Earn credit toward a technical elective
  • Makes your more employable after graduation

What is undergraduate research?

Students get paid to conduct research for faculty, and work in a team environment with other undergraduate and graduate students. These undergraduate research positions are available at Boise State University, and at universities across the country. REU is a common acronym for these position which means Research Experience for Undergraduates.

Pathways to Science

Why should I pursue an internship or undergraduate research position?

  • 92% of employers surveyed said they expect a new hire graduate to have an internship or similar experience
  • Allows you to “try out” a chosen career field or industry
  • Apply classroom knowledge to the “real” world
  • Engineering internships are paid $$$$$$$$$$$$$
  • Potential to earn college credit
  • Gain valuable experience to build your resume
  • Opportunity to network for future jobs
  • Build your confidence!

Steps to obtaining an opportunity (research or internship)

  • Research – Look into potential areas of work/research and determine which fits your interests.
  • Communicate and Connect – Find a person that is working in the area you are interested in. Educate yourself about their work – more research.
  • Contact – Craft an email and/or follow up with a phone call to the contact expressing your interest.
  • Persistence – Don’t give up after one try. Pursue several opportunities and put in the time/effort required to achieve success.
  • Apply – You can’t get the position unless you apply. Go all the way and fill out the application documents.

Myths and reasons why students disqualify themselves for opportunities

  • I don’t have relevant experience
  • I’m waiting until I’m a junior to apply
  • I wasn’t paid for the experience, so I can’t put it on my resume
  • I have a friend that worked for that company and they didn’t like it, so I’m not applying
  • My GPA is too low, so I can’t apply
  • I have the skills, but they want a junior, and I’m a sophomore, so I won’t apply

How to find an opportunity

  • It’s all about Networking! 20% of jobs are posted, 80% are who you know!
  • Career Fairs
  • BroncoJobs
  • Connect with faculty and other students
  • Read your email
  • LinkedIn
  • Tours
  • Student organizations
  • Seminars
  • Presentations
  • Be proactive!

Got questions?

Leandra Aburusa-Lete
Career Success Coach
Micron Student Success Center, Boise State College of Engineering
1910 University Drive, MS 2100
Located in room RUCH 101, (208) 426-4432 or by email at