The STEM Internship Program

The Cochise College STEM program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the Science Foundation Arizona.  The STEM Internship Program is focused to provide Cochise College students in the STEM academic studies to engage in meaningful work with the local workforce in a STEM related job.  In theory, an internship is a classic win/win for everyone involved as the intern gains valuable work experience to put on their resume.  Often times, a student could end up securing a government security clearance further enhancing their employment possibilities.  The employing company benefits with an inexpensive temporary employee and a potential new employee.

Benefit to the student:
A STEM Internship is a paid technical position with a local Cochise County company.   Some may be government related, others may not.  In an internship a student can work up to 29 hours a weeks for a maximum of 20 weeks (not to exceed 320 hours).  Work hour variations are permitted to accommodate academic pursuits.  A successful internship should encourage a student and confirm their chosen field of study.  There are also many lessons which can’t be taught from a textbook such as interviewing skills,  corporate culture, teamwork, dress code, professional behavior, how effective meetings are run and results oriented expectations.  These skills become the clear discriminator when the students are later competing for a job.  It is not uncommon for a student to be offered a job from the company with whom they have interned.

Benefit to the employing company:
First, the company has an opportunity build a pipeline of perspective future employees.  The internship can be viewed as a very long term interview in that the intern’s work ethic, habits, attitude and performance can be observed.   The employing company will certainly influence the college’s curriculum, certificate programs and further fine tune the qualifying criteria for interns.   The company also has the occasion to influence a student’s life and to build a greater sense of community through working with the college.

Benefit to Cochise College:
Cochise receives valuable feedback concerning the types of courses or certificate programs local industry seeks, the caliber and character of potential candidates as well as precipitating industry good will.  The more contact Cochise has with local industry, the more proactive the college can be in preparing students for later employment.  This in turn provides higher placement statistics.

Qualifications and process:
The intern’s first exposure to a “real world” job is an interview by the Cochise College STEM Coordinator who determines if the student meets the criteria.  Next they sit for an interview with the local company.  If accepted, the intern is assigned an “in house” sponsor by the company.  For the duration of the internship, the student reports to this sponsor.  At the end of the internship, the student is required to write a paper describing the “life lessons” learned (as opposed to the technical lessons learned) and to provide Cochise College and the local company valuable feedback in terms of ways the further enrich the program.

For more information contact Celia Jenkins at

 Supported by:

K-12 STEM Opportunities
Ben Berry

Science, Engineering and Math Programs
Bubba Hall

Computer, Aviation and Technology Programs
Bruce Richardson
  • Science Foundation Arizona
  • National Science Foundation
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© 2014 STEM