Experiential Education

Experiential education is a key component of the college’s process of preparing strong engineering talent. Internships and co-ops are periods of institutionally supervised, engineering-related, work experiences that supplement formal academic classwork.  Experiential learning opportunities help ISU engineering students see the practicality of their coursework, develop workplace skills, and generally prepare students to hit the ground running when they secure that first post-grad position.

Employer Benefits:

While there must be a strong student development component to the work experience, companies also benefit in a number of ways.

  • Opportunities for early engagement with top engineering talent with the goal of converting them to post-grad employment upon graduation.
  • More informed post-grad hiring decisions because on-the-job performance is added to the selection process.
  • Higher post-grad offer acceptance rates and reduced recruiting costs.
  • Reduction of training and higher productivity of entry-level hires.
  • Increased retention rates of new employees due to a stronger connection to the company.
  • An injection of creative energy and a transfer of knowledge about state-of-the-art equipment and practices being used at the university.
  • Accomplishment of productive work with professional services from students.
  • Improved recruiting due to enhanced visibility and reputation on campus when student employees return to campus and talk about their experience.

These work experiences are extremely important to our students, which is why the College of Engineering has worked to create a barrier-free environment.

Experiential Education Program work period options:

Cooperative Education (co-op):

A semester or semester plus summer of full-time engineering related work experience Co-ops should not involve two semesters (summer excluded) of back-to-back work experience.

Engineering Internship:

A single work period of full-time engineering related work experience of at least 10 weeks during the summer.

Parallel Co-ops: 

Part-time work of at least 20 hours per week during the semester while taking 6 to 9 credits of coursework. We do not allow part-time summer internships.

There are no fees charged to employers or students; however, employers are required to pay their student employees in an engineering capacity. To view information on wages for Co-ops and Interns follow this link. Students maintain their full-time student status but are not assessed tuition.  Students are enrolled in an “R” credit course for a satisfactory/fail grade while on an internship or co-op.

STEM Internship Program (Iowa Economic Development Athority)

Iowa Student Internship Program

The Iowa Student Internship Program provides grants to small and medium-sized companies in bioscience, advanced manufacturing, or information technology. This helps to offset the financial portion of intern wages. For application deadlines please see the websites linked below.

Stem Internship Program

The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Internship program provides grants to Iowa companies that offer internships to students of Iowa community colleges, private colleges, regents universities, or to students who graduated from an Iowa high school and attend a college or university outside of Iowa. For application deadlines please see the websites linked below.

Summer Youth Internship Grants

Iowa’s Summer Youth Internship Grant program supports the creation of internship programs for Iowa’s youth between the ages of 14 and 24 that help prepare them for high-demand careers in the workforce. The target audience for participants includes high school youth who are at risk of not graduating, from low-income households, from communities underrepresented in the Iowa workforce, or youth who otherwise face barriers to success and upward mobility in the labor market. Funds may be used for services and resources that support internship programs, including direct participant wages, training resources, and more. please see the websites linked below.

Engineering Career Services is eager to work with you to establish an experiential education program at your facility.  This does not involve a great deal of effort but does require a commitment to assist with the development of learning objectives, provide mentoring and supervision of the student worker and complete an online survey to provide feedback on the student’s engineering competencies.

For additional information, please review the Employer Reference Guide and contact Engineering Career Services if you have any questions or are interested in employing an intern or co-op student at your company.