UIC engineering freshmen guaranteed paid internships

An engineering student networks at job fair

A UIC engineering student networks at a job fair.

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering is the first in the country to guarantee all incoming freshmen placement in a paid internship the summer following their first year.

“Paid internships are one way that we can give our students the experience they need to succeed and help them connect to the professional world,” said Peter Nelson, dean of the engineering college, “especially since that first internship is the hardest to find.”

The UIC College of Engineering, working with its external advisory board comprised of business leaders from Chicago and around the country, established a goal for all engineering students to complete two internships by the time they graduate.

“This is an important initiative.  It commits the school to assuring students’ successful career starts and is a concept that I’ve been interested in for a long time,” said John Major, a member of the advisory board and president of MTSG, a strategic consulting firm to the communications industry, based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

UIC engineering students have typically served an internship the summer after their sophomore or junior year, with a pay range between $15 and $22 per hour.  Last year, more than 275 companies and organizations hired UIC students for internships or full-time positions.

The new, post-freshman year internship will place students in a company or a UIC research lab for at least eight weeks, with expected pay between $10-15 per hour. Eligibility will depend on meeting minimum GPA requirements and completing required courses, as well as participation in the new Engineering Student Success Program.

The UIC College of Engineering’s large research portfolio, currently $66 million for more than 150 projects, makes the lab internships possible, Nelson said. The new paid internships are “testimony of the College of Engineering’s commitment to preparing students for successful and meaningful careers after graduation.”

“We are seeing a long-term upward enrollment trend driven by the tremendous career opportunities for our students,” Nelson said. Enrollment has increased 49 percent in the last seven years.

The UIC College of Engineering is home to more than 2,300 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students and offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in six departments, as well as an online master’s and a master of energy engineering degree. Faculty have received more than 38 campus teaching awards and include 26 National Science Foundation CAREER or Presidential Young Investigator Award winners and two members of the National Academy of Engineering. In addition to field-specific research, faculty conduct interdisciplinary research in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, cyber security, infrastructure, and energy/environmental technology.

UIC College of Engineering