Science Internship Program

Information for Parents & Students

What is An Internship?: An internship is a science oriented, career-focused program in research, business, education, government, medicine, etc that allows the student the opportunity to explore and clarify career choices in a particular field of interest. Learning on the job can be uniquely beneficial. It requires the intern to use verbal, analytical, questioning and writing skills as well as meeting general workplace expectations. Some internships are paid and some unpaid, at the discretion of the mentor. No matter what happens- success, failure, or adjustment- the student gains experience and acquires personal information to set lifetime goals.

Explain the Internship Program: Wootton's Science Internship Program can be somewhat difficult to understand. That is because we try to accommodate the individual student's needs. The first problem is the definition of terms.

  1. Internship - the activity where a student works with a mentor at a science related job site.
  2. Internship - the course. Science Internship is an MCPS Science Course (3511/12 and 3521/22) taken during the academic year and/or during the summer (with consent of the coordinator). The student receives science course credit, grade and transcript for the internship activity on site with a mentor.
  3. Internship for STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars program) recognition. Some STARS perspectives require an internship- working at a job site with a mentor. Since the basic requirements for validation of the experience are the same as for the course, students can combine this with academic credit if they wish.

When Can Students Take Internships: Internships are available during both academic year semesters and during the summer (with coordinator's approval). Mentors typically prefer interns who will commit to a summer plus academic year. It may be very difficult to place an intern for a single semester during the academic year.

Internship Course Requirements: In addition to the mentor's evaluation of the intern, several additional aspects are considered for the internship course grade. Ask yourself the following when you plan for your internship:

  • How many periods can I devote to an internship?
  • What extracurricular activities might conflict with my internship schedule?
  • Can I maintain an excellent attendance record at the workplace?
  • Am I expecting to work hard and demonstrate a willingness to learn new things?
  • Can I maintain communication with the intern coordinator without daily reminders?
  • Am I self-disciplined enough to meet project deadlines, complete paperwork, follow procedures for signing out, and attend scheduled meetings without constant reminders?
  • Can I provide my own transportation or use public transportation to my internship site?

Required Hours for Internship Course & STARS Validation: To satisfy STARS validation and MCPS requirements to receive course credit for:

 Off-Site internships, the student must complete a minimum of 150 hours per semester (75 hours per quarter) at the internship site. Summer is counted as one semester. During the academic year, this works out to a double period internship (#3521/22) at approximately 10 hours per week. During the summer, approximately 4 -6 weeks of semi-full time work. Students may also take triple period Off-Site internships (#3511/12 + 3121/22).

 There are a very limited number of single period In-School internships (#3511/12) that require 75 hours per semester (approximately 33 hours per quarter).

While a structured daily schedule usually provides the best learning experience, flexibility may be required to optimize the work experience. More flexible schedules can be arranged with the approval of the intern, parents, mentor and coordinator.

In some instances, hours accumulated beyond those needed for course credit may be applied toward service learning. It may also be possible to obtain Service Learning hours for internship hours if used for STARS validation. Internship hours used for academic credit and/or pay cannot be used for Service Learning hours. The intern is responsible for contacting the Service Learning coordinator to assure that these are possible in his/her individual case.

The internship (including those taken for STARS validation) is treated as any other class. Attendance is recorded within the school and at the work site. Interns must sign out at the designated location. Interns are also responsible for maintaining a weekly log signed by the mentor. These are to be submitted to the coordinator each Monday.

Interns are not expected to go to the work site when MCPS schools are officially closed. However, with parent and mentor permission, the intern may choose to attend work during school closures (except in emergency situations, such as Code Blue). Interns must remember to follow workplace guidelines and be diligent about informing mentors about absences and schedule changes.

Expectations: Interns will be working in a professional setting and are expected to act professionally. This means the intern is expected to be punctual, to work hard and act responsibly, to maintain confidentiality, to dress appropriately, etc. Interns will be evaluated by the coordinator. The coordinator will contact the mentor for feedback several times throughout the semester. The coordinator will make at least one site visit. The mentor will complete a written evaluation each semester. Interns will submit a written report at the end of the first semester and present an oral description of the internship at the end of the second semester- usually the end of May. Parents and mentors will be invited for the presentations.

Locating An Internship Site: The best work experiences are the ones interns find for themselves. This requires that each intern actively participate in the search for a work site. A prospective intern will need to evaluate his/her strengths and talents, abilities, interests and goals that can be offered to a prospective mentor. During the academic year, the coordinator distributes information and applications about many programs offering internships for students. These can be viewed at the POST (Possible Opportunities in Science and Technology) web site: It is usually possible to convert these programs into STARS validation and/or academic course credit with approval of the science internship coordinator.

The coordinator will assist students in finding a site placement if the student is enrolled in the academic year credit course. The first step is for the student to formalize that process by meeting with the coordinator and preparing a resume. Sample resume forms are available as templates on most word processing programs. The internet site, includes a downloadable workbook ($5.00) to help high school students produce a resume. Help writing resumes and locating mentors can also be found through pages on this site. Students who are NOT placed by September 1 should consider changing their schedule to a regular school-based schedule for that semester. If the student finds placement, he/she can return to the internship course the following semester.

Most interns do not have realistic views about what work is, and what particular careers are like. Interns will need to interview family, friends, neighbors, coaches, church members, professionals in the field, etc. for information about job realities and work site connections. The coordinator can assist with site placement; but will only do so after the intern has demonstrated independent placement activity. This often takes several weeks to complete. The following must be considered when the intern searches for an appropriate site:

  • Work permits are required for interns under 18 years old.
  • Some sites require interns to be American citizens and/or over 16 years old
  • The intern must be supervised by an adult at all times.
  • The site must have at least two adult employees.
  • The site cannot be located in a private home.
  • The site must be a safe work environment.
  • Interns may NOT routinely drive as part of the job, open /or close the business without adult supervision, transport money, perform work that requires strenuous lifting, work in or around motor vehicles or with heavy equipment.
  • Science internships may NOT be primarily clerical type duties.

Internship Application for Course Credit and/or STARS Validation: You have received this information because your son/daughter is submitting or has submitted an internship application. Because of recent world events, the paperwork some mentors are required to complete is taking much longer than usual- in some cases, up to a month. It is the intern's responsibility to make sure that site selection and the paperwork necessary to formalize the internship is submitted in a timely manner so it allows enough time for placement. The following are required:

 Personal Data Sheet

 Parent Guardian Permission

 Counselor & Science Teacher Recommendation

 Career Objectives and Interests (waived if intern finds own mentor)

 Resume (waived if intern finds own mentor)

Parking Permits: Interns are NOT assured a parking space at Wootton. Parking spaces are issued to interns only after the coordinator approves the intern placement and work dates and times. Parking spaces are limited and will be assigned only to those students with completed Site Information packages with carpools having priority and then in order of receipt by the coordinator.

If you have any questions or would like further information, contact me at