Celebrating the Impact of Interns on National Intern Day

Co-authors: Dr. Amy Braun and Christina Manceor 

Contributors: Ciara Flowers and Tyler Sluder 

Editor: Maren Gonzales

Hopkins students at all stages of study have shared that internships are a key avenue to attain satisfying and sustainable employment. This year Johns Hopkins University is celebrating National Intern Day on July 27th by featuring testimonials from students at all stages of learning who completed internships. These students participated in a variety of internship programs offered by divisions across JHU. Check out the testimonials below to see how our undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. students as well as Postdoctoral Fellows used internships to develop new skills, build professional networks, learn about a career field or company, or land a full-time role!   

What is an internship?

Internships are short-term work experiences offered by companies, organizations, or other university partners to help students gain entry-level skills and exposure to a specific industry or career field. These experiences allow students to explore, experiment, learn, and refine their skills in real world environments and provide insight into a particular career path, launching them on a path toward sustainable employment in their chosen field after graduation. Internships can be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time. Occasionally unpaid opportunities can be counted towards academic credits needed for graduation.  

Why are internships important?

Research shows that internships are an effective avenue to develop skills and gain tangible experiences needed for a future career. Specifically, recent studies have demonstrated that “internships can help students develop relevant professional skills and soft skills, connect with professionals, acclimate to the world of work, and increase employment competitiveness” (Nghia & Duyen, 2019). Students who participate in internships are more likely to be invited to job interviews (Baert et al., 2021), receive job offers (NACE, 2023), and find employment more quickly after graduation (Martin & Frenette, 2018). These career impacts are visible across multiple fields. For instance, arts graduates in the Unites States who enter the job market with internship experience are more likely to find a position within a year of graduation, versus searching for 12+ months (Martin & Frenette, 2018).  

 Additionally, for employers, internships are a key tool to recruit entry-level college graduates (NACE, 2023). A recent poll conducted by the National Associate of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that “eight out of ten responding employers said that internships provided the best return on investment as a recruiting strategy, compared to career fairs, on-campus visits, on-campus panels, or other activities” (NACE, 2022).  Overall, internships are impactful connection points for both students and employers, allowing students to build their career trajectories while employers can expand recruitment initiatives and grow their organizational capacity.  

 What are the benefits of an internship?

Keep reading to learn about the opportunities, experiences, skills, networks, and professional knowledge Hopkins students and alumni shared that they gained by completing internships.  

Landing a Full-Time Job  

Claire Gorman’s internship through Hopkins’ In Baltimore program resulted in her first full-time job at her internship host site. Gorman, who recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Medicine, Science and the Humanities at Hopkins, shares, “I worked with Rendia for a year after graduation. I loved the team so much and developed my writing skills during my year there.” Her experiences in this role continue to be a foundation for her career: “Those writing skills helped me greatly in my next job as a paralegal and are now helping me in law school!”   

Hopkins Ph.D. trainees who completed internships also shared positive experiences with converting internship roles at a company into full-time employment. Thera Naiman (a recent graduate from Hopkins’ History Ph.D. program who completed an internship at the U.S. Census Bureau) credits her internship through the Hopkins Propel Program as contributing to her overall career-readiness. She reflects, “[The internship] boosted my confidence in my own ability to dive into a completely new field and gain familiarity with topics quickly. I learned a lot about human-centered design, data, and technology.” Naiman now serves as her internship team’s full-time Innovation Program Manager in the Census Open Innovation Labs.   

 For Laurie Kostecka, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate studying Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, exploring Ph.D.-level internship opportunities through Hopkins’ Biomedical Careers Initiative (BCI) Internship Program allowed her to “test-run” a career path before committing to it. She accepted an internship offer at miRecule Inc, an RNA-therapeutics-focused start-up in Rockville, Maryland and shares, “I decided to do a biotech internship through the BCI Internship program [because]… I knew I wanted to go into the biotech field — I just wanted to make sure, as it is a huge decision after graduate school.” This internship solidified next steps in her career: “When the CEO [at miRecule Inc] had a final meeting with me after my internship ended, he offered me a job as a scientist, which I happily accepted.”  

Exploring a Career Field or Industry  

While not all internship providers can offer a full-time position after the internship’s conclusion, these experiences still provide key skill development and professional connections needed to enter a chosen career field. For example, Chris Arledge—a recent graduate from the Johns Hopkins Philosophy Ph.D. program—accepted an internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Hopkins Propel Ph.D. Internship Program in order to hone skills in coding and data science. This internship opened the door to other professional government-focused opportunities. Arledge shares, “One of the things I noticed about the non-academic job market is that people have no clue what goes on in academia. So, having demonstrable experience in the (government) workplace really helped me to have relatable examples to talk through during interviews, and I wouldn’t have had those experiences without the internship.” After the internship’s conclusion, Arledge successfully leveraged his internship experience into a government contractor role supporting NASA. He shares, “[An] important benefit of doing an internship is building connections. My supervisor [was] a great advocate on my behalf and provided an excellent reference during the job-hunting process. The internship program is a great way to meet people outside of the academy who might become instrumental in your career search.”  

Similarly, Marah Wahbeh’s two consecutive science policy and strategic partnerships internships (at Ripple Effect) provided her with the experience needed to transition into a career in science policy immediately after completing a Human Genetics Ph.D. program in May 2023.  “For my internship,” Wahbeh shares, “I worked as a policy analyst with Ripple Effect Communications. I worked on projects that were contracted by federal agencies, like the National Human Research Genome Institute. They were centered around broadening participation in STEM. Through this experience, I gained many transferable skills, most notably my stakeholder management skills and time management skills.” Wahbeh leveraged skills into her current full-time role as a Government Affairs & Science Policy Manager at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). Reflecting on the impact of internship experience on her full-time job search, Wahbeh recalls, “My internship experience gave me both the confidence and the skills that I needed to pursue opportunities…. I felt empowered knowing I had a little bit of experience in the types of jobs I was pursuing. That confidence helped me a lot during the job-hunting process.”   

Skill Development  

Mira Huang completed a master’s degree from Hopkins’ Peabody Institute in Historical Performance as a vocalist and used her Social Media Internship at Peabody LAUNCHPad to develop skills needed for her future career. She reflects, “I was in charge of creating, posting, and tracking analytics for content posted on Facebook and Instagram. Naturally, a lot of transferable skills ended up being in marketing and content creation, but I also learned a lot of general skills like networking and presenting reports.” Honing these skills provided the first steps needed for Mira to become a freelance musician as well as qualify for full-time arts administration roles. She shares, “My internship… landed me with a job in arts administration, marketing, and sales even before graduation, and without it, I wouldn’t have been to leave Peabody with the free time, income, and also connections to start freelancing as a musician right off the bat.”   

Professional Networking  

Hopkins talent reported that internships are useful for growing their professional networks with mentors and colleagues in a field. For Nikko Musuraca, a 4th year undergraduate majoring in Computer Music in Hopkins’ Peabody Institute, interning at Boulanger Initiative (BI) allowed her to work directly with the Executive Leadership Team in both general operations and day-to-day management of the organization. Musuraca shares, “Having this opportunity for experiential learning through my internship offered me hands-on experience and multifaceted mentorship at all levels of BI’s team, getting an inside look at the mechanics of an emerging nonprofit.” The internship also provided her gain her footing in the professional space: “[G]etting to interact with like-minded artists and individuals in an intimate setting has bolstered my confidence and passion for making the experience of the performing arts meaningful.”  

 For Grace Steward, who completed a BCI Internship at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in fall 2022, she plans to leverage connections made during her internship on the job market after completing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Steward shares, “In addition to developing skills relevant to science policy…. I conducted informational interviews with professionals from several areas of policy work. I spoke with Program Officers at both the NIH and NASEM, congressional staffers, federal relations staff at universities, former AAAS fellows, and grant managers at think tanks.” She is confident that these connections will help her find a full-time science policy role after graduation: “With such a wide range of connections and resources, I was able to survey the science policy jobs that match my interests and skillsets in addition to curating relationships that will hopefully serve me well when I enter the job market.”  

General Professionalization  

Internships help to ease the transition between the academia and workplace settings. Not only did Claire Gorman’s internship at Rendia help her develop transferable skills (such as writing professional emails, updating data, and strategies for increasing customers engagement), but Gorman also reports that gaining experience in office environment was an essential part of her internship: “The people at Rendia were so kind and supportive and taught me how to make friends with coworkers and how to be a helpful, efficient worker.”  

Thera Naiman also shared that her internship at the U.S. Census Bureau helped her navigate a new professional setting outside of academia: “The internship was my first experience working in a high-speed and completely remote collaborative work environment. It really enhanced my project management skills—I learned how to use Slack and Asana and gained a sense of what it takes to efficiently run a program with lots of different stakeholders.”  

How can students make the most of their internship experience?

Hopkins students and alumni provide valuable insights about how to maximize the benefits of an internship, and how to get started with pursuing internships. Keep reading to hear their suggestions!  

InBaltimore Interns  

Claire Gorman (B.S. in Medicine, Science and the Humanities, 2020)  
Customer Success Intern @ Rendia  

“Talk to the JHU career center first! JHU has awesome connections with employers that can help students find opportunities they wouldn’t have found themselves. Be open to trying new things—you never know what career you might stumble into and love!”  


Peabody Interns  

  Nikko Musuraca (B.M. in Computer Music, 2023)  
Business Management Intern @ Boulanger Initiative  

“There’s plenty of opportunity all around you and the best way to begin is to ask questions; to your friends, fellow peers, professors and educators, even staff or other administrators that you interact with. Look locally, and don’t be afraid to cast a wide net or pursue an opportunity in a place or with an organization that might be new to you and your experiences.”  

Mira Huang (M.M. in Historical Performance – Voice, 2022)  
Social Media Intern @ Peabody LAUNCHPad  

“My advice regarding internships is to try anything, and to try hard. Internships have lower stakes than full jobs, which makes them a safe space to explore, find what you’re good at, find what you like. But, keep in mind that internships only give you as much as you give them.”  

BCI Interns  

Marah Wahbeh (Ph.D. in Human Genetics, 2023)  
Science Policy and Strategic Partnerships Intern @ Ripple Effect Communications 

“Talk to peers in your network who have done internships…. [Network] with people who are in positions that you see yourself in one day, and [ask] them about potential opportunities and advice on how to pursue internship opportunities…. Finally, there are many, many opportunities out there with skills that you can gain and learn that are transferable to many, many other positions…. [Be] open to pursuing opportunities that look a little bit different from the path you were looking for, as long as those skills are transferable, and the experience will give you something back that you can take to a new opportunity that is more aligned with what you were hoping for.”  

  Laurie Kostecka (Ph.D. Candidate in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2023) Research Intern @ miRecule Inc.   

“My three months at miRecule allowed me to expand my scientific knowledge and gain new skills as well as have an introductory experience to life in the biotech world… After interviewing with various companies, I chose to do my internship at miRecule. I am very grateful for the opportunities provided by the BCI program and I encourage others to participate as well.”  

Grace Steward (Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, 2024)  
Science Policy Fellow @ the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology  

“My internship experience was invaluable. If you are at all thinking about transitioning to a non-academic career after your PhD program and aren’t sure about your trajectory, I would really recommend taking the time in an internship to both develop your professional skills and get a sense of your interests outside of research. Additionally, make the effort to build connections in your industry of interest while on internship. This includes asking for contacts for informational interviews from your coworkers. Although a thesis advisor may be able to connect you to postdoctoral training positions, they may be less equipped to help you network outside of academia than your internship connections.”  

Hopkins Propel Interns  

Chris Arledge (Ph.D. in Philosophy, May 2023)  

Data Science Intern @ the U.S. Department of Commerce 

“I’d say read your emails and reach out to the PHutures contacts. I learned about the program through one of those emails that we just routinely look over and delete. And I sent a quick email to the contact, attended an informational session and that started the process. It was easy and I probably wouldn’t have done an internship without it.  But outside of that process, try and connect with JHU alumni on LinkedIn. It feels weird at first, but many people are willing to help if you just reach out. Also, don’t feel bad about cold contacting people at companies you might want to intern at. Lots of people are willing to chat if you just reach out.”  

Thera Naiman (Ph.D. in History, 2023)  
Census Open Innovation Labs Intern @ the U.S. Census Bureau 

“The internship program is a very low-risk way to test out a new field, so I encourage PhD students to apply for any positions that seem even somewhat intriguing! The application process itself, especially the interview, will give you a clearer sense of what the position entails. PhDs are long and can be isolating once you’re in the dissertation phase, and I found that taking a few months away from research and writing was energizing and productive for me.”  


Interested In Learning About Internship Opportunities at JHU?

Below are several internship programs available to Hopkins undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. students, as well as Postdoctoral Fellows across all schools and divisions at JHU. If you are a student or employer interested in participating or learning more, please reach out to the contacts below!  


The InBaltimore Internship Program is a 10-week subsidized internship initiative which offers a mutually beneficial partnership between Baltimore City employers and Johns Hopkins University. By hiring Johns Hopkins students, employers have the opportunity to support Baltimore City with Hopkins talent, provide 10 undergraduate students with hands-on experience, as well as build a culture which promotes community involvement as an excellent public relations tool.  

2024 Summer Internships will be posted on Handshake in January  


Peabody Internship Pathways – new program launching in Fall 2023!  

To help students develop key skills and gain tangible experiences in preparation for their future careers in an evolving 21st century arts industry, Peabody is launching the Peabody Internship Pathways program to provide students with experiential learning in real-world industry settings through collaboration with external employer partners. The academic year internship program will focus on mentored skill-building opportunities intended to enhance undergraduate and graduate students’ learning while simultaneously providing impactful career experiences and connections. When hiring Federal Work Study students, employer partners may be eligible for reimbursement of a substantial percentage of interns’ wages for positions that qualify under off-campus Federal Work Study guidelines.  

2023-2024 internships will be posted in August 2023. Students and employers interested in learning more about the program can contact Peabody LAUNCHPad at launchpad@jhu.edu.  

Contact: Christina Manceor, Assistant Director of LAUNCHPad   

Website: https://peabody.jhu.edu/life-at-peabody/career-services/opportunities/peabody-internship-pathways 

BCI Internship Program for STEM Ph.D. Trainees and Postdoctoral Fellows.   

The BCI internship program provides paid internships for Johns Hopkins Ph.D. students and Postdoctoral Fellows interested in exploring careers outside of academia. Applicants from all STEM disciplines can gain experience in career fields such as Biotech/Pharma, Consulting, Data Science, Science Communications, Science for Business, Science Administration, and more. All opportunities are only available to Johns Hopkins talent. Since the program’s founding in 2013, BCI has facilitated 106 internships at 35+ organizations such as AstraZeneca, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), Ely Lilly, and more. 100% of applicants offered interviews.   

Key Data:

  • 85% of applicants accepted full-time internship offers  
  • 15% of applicants accepted part-time internship offers   
  • 15% offered full-time positions at internship host site after completing internship  
  • 46% of 2023 interns are international scholars or underrepresented minorities   
  • 23% are underrepresented minorities (US citizens or permanent residents)  
  • 23% are international scholars  


Hopkins Propel  

Hopkins Propel is an experiential learning program that enables doctoral students to gain real-world experience, kickstart careers, and make valuable industry connections. This summer 8 students from the humanities and social sciences will explore careers in non-profit, publishing, advocacy, and policy making organizations. The program is excited to host primarily remote internship opportunities, allowing doctoral students to gain valuable experience while not being set back on their educational pursuits.   

Key Data:   

  • So far 2 students have gotten full time jobs from the internship program.   
  • This year we had 8 students participate.   
  • Approximately 40% of the program are international students. 

Internship Opportunities:

  • Publishing Intern  
  • Non-profit Intern  
  • Policy/Advocacy Intern
  • Communications Intern  


  • Tyler Sluder (tsluder1@jhu.edu)  
  • Website: https://imagine.jhu.edu/phutures-propel-internships/ 

Additional JHU Internship Programs   



Baert, S., Neyt, B., Thomas, S., Tobback, I., & Verhaest, D. (2021). Student internships and employment opportunities after graduation: A field experiment. Economics of Education Review, 83, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2021.102141  

Martin, N. D. & Frenette, A. (2018). Lost in transition: College resources and the unequal early career trajectories of arts alumni. In A. Frenette (Ed.), SNAAP DataBrief: Arts graduates in a changing economy (part 2) (Vol. 6, No. 2). Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. https://snaaparts.org/uploads/downloads/Data-Briefs/SNAAP-DataBrief-Vol6-No2.pdf  

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (2022). Winter 2022 quick poll on spring recruiting and career services. https://www.naceweb.org/talent-acquisition/trends-and-predictions/winter-2022-quick-poll-on-spring-recruiting-and-career-services/  

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (2023). NACE’s guide to internships. https://naceweb.org/internships    

Nghia, T. L. H., & Duyen, N. T. M. (2019). Developing and validating a scale for evaluating internship-related learning outcomes. Higher Education, 77, 1–18 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0251-4  

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