First-Years & Seconds Years: How to Find Summer Internships and Opportunities

Megan Saunders

Written by Eryn Cohen

See Bottom of Page for List of Summer Internships & Opportunities

As a Career Peer Educator, I have been asked this question time and again: “How do I get a summer internship as an underclassman?”

It’s no secret that the summers after your first and second years can be confusing! It’s difficult to know where to look for opportunities, and it often seems like companies are only looking to hire rising fourth-year students and graduates. Not to mention, there’s the problem of what I like to call “cyclical inexperience.” 

In other words, companies are looking for students with a certain set of skills and experiences, but students often have no way of acquiring these without first finding a company willing to take a chance on them.

However, in this blog, I’ll be sharing a few tips and resources that will help you find worthwhile opportunities, build up impressive skills and experiences on your resume, and ultimately aid in securing an internship offer, thus breaking the cycle of inexperience.

Gaining Resume Skills

Even though an internship is often the most coveted summer experience, there are lots of other ways to enrich your time away from school by instead focusing on skill-building. There are many programs that may not have the traditional format of an internship but can offer some valuable career experience.

  1. UVA Propel (Page for Summer 2021 coming soon)

UVA Propel is a summer program where students have the opportunity to work on teams and consult for local Charlottesville start-ups. Projects address a wide variety of business challenges and help students gain experience with market research, marketing strategy, digital transformation, product development, and social entrepreneurship. There are five, two-week sessions throughout the summer, with each session limited to 100 students. While rising third-year and fourth-year UVA students have priority registration, there are almost always extra spots for underclassmen, especially in the later sessions.

  1. Forge (Formerly HackCVille)

Forge, formerly known as HackCVille, offers a variety of programs that allow students to gain relevant skills in their fields of interest such as software engineering, data science, digital marketing, and user experience design.

Launch: Through this summer program, Forge will first help you learn important professional skills such as interviewing and business writing, in addition to helping you refine your resume and LinkedIn page. Soon after, you’ll complete training in a track that most interests you (see the ones listed above). At the end of the program, Forge will help you secure an internship for the rest of the summer with one of their trusted business partners. As an added bonus, students accepted into this program will usually walk away with at least $2,000 (but oftentimes anywhere from $6,000-$8,000)!

Crash Courses: Forge offers these courses on a rolling basis. They are condensed versions of Skills Courses with past courses on topics such as visual design and Go, the coding language.

Forge also offers some other opportunities, such as Skills Courses and their Impact Program, at other various points throughout the school year.

  1. Coursera

Coursera offers free online courses to UVA students. UVA students will have access to lectures and practice materials, and the best part is: you can go at your own pace! Coursera offers everything from introductory physics courses to coding for entrepreneurs to agile methodology. Definitely take a look around and see if anything piques your interest!

  1. Linkedin Learning

This is another great resource that offers over 5,000 courses to people looking to expand their business and technological skill sets. Through LinkedIn Learning, you will be able to receive personalized recommendations, watch expert-led course videos, and test your comprehension of the materials you’ve learned. After completing a course, you can even add a certification of completion and the skills you’ve gained to your LinkedIn profile.

Finding Opportunities

It’s all too easy to find yourself overwhelmed by a flooded inbox and seemingly endless job postings. The question is often not how to find job opportunities, but where to start.

  1. Handshake

Handshake is one of the most widely used recruiting tools, especially for UVA students. This is where you’ll be able to search for opportunities, apply for jobs, and schedule interviews. Companies and organizations of various sizes will use Handshake as their primary channel through which to reach students.

When you find an opportunity that interests you, there are a few things you should remember:

  •  Do external research. Click on the company and the website. Read about what they’ve done. Handshake is a great tool, but some of the opportunities listed might seem much better on paper. 

  •  Give them a call. Some of these companies will receive hundreds of cover letters, and it’s likely yours may get lost in the abyss without so much as an acknowledgement that you even applied. So what do you do to distinguish yourself? Reach out to them via email, LinkedIn, etc. and set up a call to learn more. Many of these opportunities will have a point of contact listed, but you may have to scour a LinkedIn page or two to find the contact information. Never underestimate the importance of networking!

  1. Networking

There are so many great ways to approach networking: Virginia Alumni Mentoring (VAM), LinkedIn, cold emailing, etc. (to learn more, click here). While you shouldn’t set up a call with someone just to ask about job opportunities, networking is a great way to gain insights into the career path of someone in your industry of interest. You can ask current professionals what they did to prepare for their role and about the opportunities they pursued when they were underclassmen. 

Also, by fostering relationships with these professionals early, and keeping up with them, it’s more likely that they’ll be willing to go to bat for you during the application process.

Additionally, feel free to network with other students! Most third-year and fourth-year students will be happy to mentor you or just offer some advice about what they did not so long ago. 

  1. Send an Email to a Professor

Some professors often receive emails from colleagues and former students regarding job opportunities for current students. While it may be a shot in the dark, it may be worth it to send an email to a current professor who’s teaching a class that aligns well with your career goals. In this email, feel free to ask them if they know of any summer opportunities or if they have any ideas for how to gain more experience. They’ll likely be happy to help.

  1. Career Fairs

Be on the lookout for career fairs; they pop up throughout the semester. You can find many of them under the “Events” tab on Handshake. This is a great way to talk to a high volume of professionals in a small time frame to learn a little more about opportunities currently available. Additionally, there are oftentimes industry-specific career fairs, which will definitely help you focus on your area of interest!

Internships, Externships, Summits, and Conferences List

*Some of these experiences are closed for Summer 2021, so be on the lookout for updated dates/deadlines for Summer 2022.


  • For over 40 years, the UVA Internship Placement Program (IPP) has connected students with quality professional internships. The IPP team matches you with a customized internship placement based on the best opportunities for your interests, skills, and goals.


Other Opportunities Sourced from UVA’s Engineering Page

Internship Opportunities for 1st and 2nd Years


  • Opened Aug. 17th

  • Explore Microsoft is a 12-week summer internship program specifically designed for 1st and 2nd Year students and provides the opportunity to experience the main phases of the product development cycle: Design, Build and Quality.


  • Due Oct. 13 (recruiting at Grace Hopper, SHEP and NSBE conferences)

  • Twitter Academy is a paid 12-week summer internship program designed for second-year students interested in gaining hands-on and real-life experience in the tech industry. This program is for historically underrepresented (black, Latinx and/or Native American) students in Tech.


  • Due Oct. 28

  • STEP is an internship for 1st and 2nd year undergraduate students with a passion for Computer Science.


  • Due Oct. 7

  • Facebook University (FBU) for Engineers is a paid eight-week training program designed to provide mobile development experience to current 1st and 2nd Year students who are historically under-represented in computer science.


  • The application opens in November

  • Our software development internship program provides hands-on learning and building experiences for college freshmen and sophomores who are making an early commitment to computer science.


  • Palantir Path is an internship for sophomores and juniors who are early in their journeys as technologists. Path aims to help students bridge the gap between what you learn in school and what’s necessary to solve the real world’s ambiguous, complex problems.


  • Civic Digital Fellows are mission-driven software engineers, data scientists, product managers, and designers who spend their summers innovating at the intersection of technology and public service.

  • As a Fellow, you’ll receive a $4,000+ stipend, housing, and travel to and from Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital will be your home for 10 weeks—from the first week of June until mid-August.

  • Fellows must be U.S. citizens (due to federal hiring regulations), enrolled full-time in an accredited institution of higher education and 

  • must be returning to school after the internship.

GOOGLE SUMMER OF CODE (Open Source Projects)

  • Application opens March 29, 2021, for Summer ‘21

  • Students contact organizations they want to work with and write up a project proposal for the summer. If accepted, students spend a month integrating with their organizations prior to the start of coding. Students then have three months to code, meeting the deadlines agreed upon with their mentors.


  • Deadline Summer the year prior

  • The Fellows Program is an intensive career accelerator for Black and Latinx college and graduate-level computer science students. For 9 weeks between June and August, you’ll intern at a top tech company and engage in racial equity advocacy work. You’ll participate in a series of learning experiences designed to give you the tools and resources you need to navigate the tech industry, build a lasting career, and advocate for yourself and your community.


  • Deadlines: Summer internship (late Feb), Winter internship (late Sept)

  • Outreachy is a paid, remote internship program. Outreachy's goal is to support people from groups underrepresented in tech. We help newcomers to free software and open source make their first contributions. Interns are paid a stipend of $5,500 USD for the three-month internship. Interns have a $500 USD travel stipend to attend conferences or events.

Additional programs for 1st and 2nd Years


  • Deloitte offers multiple opportunities to gain experience and learn more about the organization.


  • This multi-year, career development program brings together 1st and 2nd Year female students and those students from ethnically diverse backgrounds.


  • More details available in February

  • Capital One hosts various summits for 1st and/or 2nd Year students, including ones for Developing Leaders, Software Engineering, Women in Business, Finance, and Human Resources. Contact our team and we'll connect you with a recruiter from Capital One to learn more about the timelines for summits.


  • Deadlines vary

  • Learn about federal internships and opportunities for students of all years.


  • Applications open and ongoing

  • CSIIP connects STEM students to paid summer opportunities with companies in Virginia. The program requires that students have completed at least 30 credits before the internship begins.


  • Deadline: Oct. 13, 2020

  • We are a student-run research team and synthetic biology interest group. Every year, we select a new team from our pool of applicants; those applicants will participate in the International Genetic Engineering Machine competition through the Spring semester, Summer, and Fall. Team members work together to discover problems that can be solved using synthetic biology, design and engineering solutions to those problems, and implement functional prototypes of those solutions that will be presented in October during the iGEM Conference in Boston.


  • The Standout Program is designed to give students immersive experiences in a culture where diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ways of thinking are valued and included to make a meaningful impact from Day 1. Our desire is to have a diverse group of top candidates for this program. Underrepresented students including, but not limited to, female and/or Black or African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, or two or more races are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) has an Electrical Engineering/ Electrical Engineering Technology Internship available within our Hardware and Infrastructure (HWI) Production Engineering team located in Indianapolis, IN. This position is for a student who will work together with electrical engineers and other engineering disciplines on a variety of tasks related to the production and repair of military equipment. The ideal candidate should have excellent academic credentials and experience in working in a team environment, as well as excellent interpersonal skills

Opportunities for 2nd Years


  • Deadline: Friday, Oct. 9

  • Citi's Sophomore Leadership Program was developed to provide exceptional sophomore students with a ten-week summer internship in New York City. The program will offer interns training; mentorship and exposure to different Institutional Clients Group (ICG) businesses during the internship.


  • Join us as an intern and you’ll learn, grow and contribute to one of the world's leading financial companies. We offer programs globally and in nearly every business area. All of our programs combine exceptional training with real-world work experience.


  • As a sophomore summer analyst, you will be supported with extensive training and exposure to our most experienced leaders throughout this program. Your role during the internship will provide you with a valuable analytical-based work experience focused on the financial markets that will give you true insight into life as an investment banker or markets professional. You will also have the support of a mentor and buddy who can help you navigate the workplace and ensure you are best positioned for success.


  • Rolling applications

  • The Sophomore Summit provides a unique opportunity to explore a variety of internships and full-time career paths in corporate retail at A&F Co.; it invites students from across the country to learn about our business, hear from former interns, interact with company leaders and team up to complete a hands-on case study that brings our roles to life.


  • At our Standout Emerging Leader event, you'll learn about how P&G consults with its partners to develop joint business plans for our retail customers. From Day 1, our strategic selling professionals lead in-market strategies across multiple categories and brands. You'll experience firsthand how our selling teams shape this strategy by drawing on creative and analytical insights. Our objective is to position our Company, our Customers, and our Shoppers to win.


  • Deadline: early Fall

  • Over the course of the 8-week Sophomore Career Exploration Program, interns will develop personal and professional skills to support their success in the workforce. In addition to their daily responsibilities, interns will experience a cohort-model of learning, while receiving a mentor pairing with a more experienced professional at the New York Fed. They will also have the opportunity to learn more about and be considered for the junior-level intern program for rising seniors which serves as a recruitment pipeline for the New York Fed’s entry-level hiring.


  • This program is for undergraduate students who have successfully completed their sophomore year of college. It's designed to provide firsthand exposure to careers in finance to a select group of students from underrepresented populations (women, people of color, LGBTQ). The nine-week, paid internship program includes one week of training, and rotations through two different departments. Each project-based assignment lasts four weeks. This program runs from June through August.

  • This program runs from June through August.