Introducing the “Internship Project”

The centerpiece of the internship is the “internship project” – a discrete piece of work that the intern can take charge of, and that  will be of tangible benefit to the organization.

For a mentor, the best way to think of an internship project is as “that thing you would do if you had time, but that will never get done because no employee will ever have time to do it.” Often these are tasks connected to organization, streamlining, knowledge-sharing, or promotion.

The mentor and the intern should communicate before internship starts, or during the first week of internship at the latest, in order to design the project.

Examples of past Internship Projects

Internship Organization: The Media Arts Center/Digital Gym
Project Outcome: Two short films, one documenting a “take back the alley” gardening project hosted by the Center, and one on a subject of the student’s own choosing. This student’s short film, “Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful“, went on to be featured in several film festivals, and in an article by the Voice of San Diego about teenage filmmakers.
Read More Here

Internship Organization: San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art
Project Outcome: Creating a computer program that sorts through entries to the museum’s “25 & Under” art contest. In the intern’s own words, “I wanted to make this program because during my internship I was responsible for manually sorting through the entries and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else.”
Read More Here

Internship Organization: South Bay YMCA Teen Center
Project Outcomes: Completing a “literature review” of STEM-themed activities for teenagers, planning and leading a series of “assemblies” for area teenagers, and creating a “resource binder” of fun and educational activities that YMCA counselors can use in the future. 
Read More Here

Internship Organization: BOOST Collaborative
Project Outcome: Organizing and running an all-day training session for teachers and other professionals where they explore multiple factors contributing to girls’ development, including bullying, self-esteem, body image, and self-harm.
Read More Here

Internship Organization: Office of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez
Project Outcome: A video explaining a bill that Assemblywoman Gonzalez wrote that would turn competitive cheerleading into a CIF sport. The purpose of the video was to give a platform for the voices of cheerleaders, cheer coaches, and other athletes that strongly support the bill (the bill was passed, and cheerleading is now a CIF sport).
Read More Here

Internship Organization: Office of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez
Project Outcome: A video showing what it’s like to be an intern in the assemblywoman’s office
Watch the Video Here

Internship Organization: Action Drone
Project Outcomes: Designing and giving a presentation explaining the science behind drone technology to potential customers,  and translating a user manual for a drone from English into Spanish.
Read More Here

Internship Organization: California Innocence Project
Project Outcomes: Producing a video about Edward Contreras, an Innocence Project client wrongfully convicted for murder. 
Read More Here

Internship Organization: Carlsbad By the Sea Care Center 
Project Outcome: An updatable “scrapbook” with a short biography of every patient, including photos and meaningful items from throughout their lives. This is designed as a tool so that new staff can quickly learn about who patients are as people.
Read More Here

Internship organization: Grandview Police Department
Project Outcome: A website explaining the requirements of a job in law enforcement, and the different careers you can pursue. 
Read More Here

Internship organization: Swift Engineering (designs and constructs drones)
Project Outcome: A Nichrome Wire Foam Cutter (designed and built by a pair of students) 
Read more Here and Here (there are two links because two students collaborated on this project)

Internship organization: Myers Machine (building workshop)
Project Outcome: A scooter CNC’d out of aviation-grade steel 
Read more Here. Photos and video available Here

Internship organization: SandFire Dragon Ranch (lizard ranch)
Project Outcome: A promotional website for the ranch 
Read More Here

Internship organization: Salt Water Surf Glass (Surfboard makers)
Project Outcome: a handcrafted surfboard in the shape of a giant robot.
Read More Here

Internship organization: Escondido Chamber of Commerce
Project Outcome: promotional video for the 2014 Escondido Street Faire
Read More Here

Internship organization: Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)
Project Outcome: Instruction Manual for the VATIC Video Annotation tool – a new piece of software SPAWAR had just acquired
Read More Here

  • This project is especially notable because the student discovered a bug that the software developers had been unaware of.

Internship organization: UPS
Project Outcome: A presentation to executives presenting cost-benefit analysis, and options, for adopting digital signage across UPS stores nationally.
Read More Here

Internship organization: Bluepoint Solutions (Financial Software Company)
Project Outcome: A guide for employees to installing the Magtek Excella Check Scanner – based on student’s observation that lots of people didn’t know how to install it correctly.
Read More Here