Engineering Externship Program

**The Engineering Externship Program has been suspended for the 2020-2021 academic year in light of the pandemic situation and evolving guidance from government and University officials.  The information listed below is from previous years.  Please check back in the future for an update on the program for the 2021-2022 academic year.  If you have any questions, please contact Jillian Cener, Associate Director for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, at**


“Externships” provide job-shadowing opportunities to help students discern how their skills and interests align with professional positions in their career fields of interest. Experiencing a work environment first-hand by participating in a “day in the life” of a host can provide a student with exposure to an industry, insightful conversation, invaluable advice, and an inside perspective.


The Engineering Externship Program connects returning students with alumni and their colleagues at their workplaces in January. Externships are one-day job-shadowing opportunities designed to help students explore how their skills and interests align with professional positions in career fields of interest. Each host decides how to compose the extern’s visit, which might include shadowing the host, meeting with the host’s colleagues, attending meetings, having a tour, and/or working on a project. Externship sites include different types of companies, in locations across the U.S. and overseas. This program will take place during early January (before the semester begins).

Possible externship activities include:

  • Shadowing one or more professionals for a full day
  • Conducting informational interviews with professionals in a range of departments and levels
  • Participating in daily operations that provide hands-on exposure to the career field/industry
  • Completing a relevant project if the externship is long enough to accommodate it
  • Attending meetings and presentations
  • Touring the work site

Students will be responsible for any travel or housing arrangements, meals, and any related expenses. Externships are available in various locations around the world so that students might find one close to where they will be before or after the spring semester.

Engineering Externship dates for 2020:  January 8, 9, 10, 13, or 14. Students will be able to submit applications for the January 2020 cycle in November 2019.


The Engineering Externship Program is designed for returning students in the School of Engineering. Each externship posting explains which engineering students may apply (sophomores, juniors and/or first-year master’s students) and if the position is open to international students. Among applicants, priority will be given to sophomores (unless otherwise noted).


In November 2018, students can apply for externships by emailing Tiffany Franklin a resume and brief paragraph about why the student is interested in a particular externship and what the student hopes to gain from the experience. The externship opportunities will appear on Handshake under “Engineering Externship Program 2019” and be advertised in the weekly SEAS Career Services class newsletters around the first week of November. A student’s application represents a commitment on the student’s part to be available and attend, if selected for the externship. Application deadlines will be communicated to students via email.


As applications are reviewed, students will be matched with externship sites. Selected students will then be invited to a mandatory 10-minute mini meeting with a career advisor to review professional guidelines, confirm the student’s commitment to the externship, and discuss how and when to contact the externship host to finalize details.

Placement will be arranged for as many students as possible, based on the resume and interest paragraph in their applications. Placement is not guaranteed for all students. Applicants improve their chances of being matched by applying early and listing at least externship 4 sites of interest. Since this a career exploration program, sophomores are given first priority, then juniors and 1st year master’s students. Preference will not be given to those who have already had exposure to and/or experience in the career field.


Externship sites will be communicated to students via email.


Quotes from Externship Hosts

“Wonderful opportunity for students and engineering firms to interact and share what’s going on in business and on Penn’s campus.”

~ Paul M., Honeywell

“We had a great visit this past Tuesday. The day was packed with various meetings…She had the opportunity to tour the factory, the avionics integration lab, structures lab, and software test equipment lab. She met with a few people that work engineering integration and program management. We also arranged with her to speak with a number of software engineers since that was her interest area. She said the day far exceed her expectations. It was a great day all around and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to once again host a student!”

~ Kristin Houston, The Boeing Company

“Great day with both of the students who came into NY from Philly today. They met with many different groups and I think learned a lot.”

~ David Solomon, Inturn

“It’s actually a bidirectional communication program, both the hosting company and students gain good experience, for those students, they experience a real work life environment and tasks, as for the company, we get some understanding of current youth on their career interests and dynamics which helps us on selecting and growing our fresh employees.”

~ Qibin L., Honeywell (China)

“The Engineering Externship was a great opportunity for us to show Penn Students what a “day in the life” of an Engineer at AllianceBernstein looks like. Through hands-on interaction with our managers, the students learned more about our technologies and what it means to be an engineer in the dynamic world of Asset Management. We got a chance to get to know the students, answer their questions, and decide who would be a good fit for our internship program. As a result, we hired one of the externship students into our summer internship program.  Thank you so much for giving AllianceBernstein the opportunity to participate in this program, and we look forward to participating again next year!

~ Erinn G., AllianceBernstein


“Hosting a student was a really fun and rewarding experience. She was eager to learn, incredibly enthusiastic and very grateful for the time I spent with her. I was very impressed with her and am now setting her up for interviews to intern at my company.”

~Tricia N., Alcoa

“The alumni externship went really, really well!  He was actually brought back to the ATC for an interview and is one of the final contenders for an internship!”

~ Kim H., Alcoa 

“This was a great opportunity for me as an experienced alumnus to give back to young Penn students and help them navigate life and a career after Penn. It was a rewarding experience for me, thank you for organizing this great program.”

~ Dilip R., Mintigo


Quotes from participating students

“I would like to say that it was a great experience connecting with people at Comcast. The conversations were very engaging and helpful. It benefited me in various ways. In the end, I would like to show gratitude to my host and the University Career Services for giving me this opportunity and I appreciate it.”

“I had a wonderful time in Honeywell, Phoenix during the externship. Our host was very hospitable and made sure we got industrial exposure. I thank you again for this wonderful opportunity and hope there are many more like this.”

“The externship provided me a wonderful opportunity to rethink the applicable skills I learned from school.”

“I just wanted to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Huron Life Sciences externship. It truly opened my eyes to the world of specialty consulting, especially in the Life Sciences.”

“The opportunity is incredibly useful. Interacting with industrialists and getting to know about different kinds of career paths available on completion of certain part of your education, is definitely exciting and unexpected. Hearing these accounts first hand definitely gives a fresh point of view compared to gathering information from the internet or on email.”

“I had a day long externship at Comcast, Philadelphia. The host designed an itinerary for the day which was pretty awesome. We participated in daily scrum-meeting, met people from different groups who shared their life experiences with us. Our entire group turned into a group of friends informally chatting about career goals, life at Comcast and seeking advice. It was fun.”

“It’s really helpful to talk with someone who’s in that position if you want to know the function of a job. This externship experience makes me realize the challenges for that role and skills I need to develop.”

“I would like to say that the externship is a fantastic opportunity, especially for an international student and would like to see it only grow from here. It was brilliant to be able to visit the global headquarters of a well-recognized company like Pfizer and the best part, it was after just one semester at Penn. Thank you career services!”

“I returned to Philadelphia a couple of days back after externing at Honeywell Arizona. It was a wonderful experience to talk to professionals and to get to know their work profile. Our host put a lot of effort into making most of those 2 days so that we can gain as much knowledge as possible. Thank you so much for providing me with this opportunity.”

“A wonderful experience to take a look at how what we have learned from class could be applied into real world and solve problems!”

“One-day externship is an awesome opportunity for whom had no experience in related field to gain an insight view of the company and the industry. And it is also good for those who had experience in similar fields to gain an internship opportunity. All of our hosts are very nice and helpful.”

“It is a good exposure to get which gives you an insider’s look about the company!”


Please contact program administrator: Jillian Cener, Associate Director for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Career Services.