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Experiential Learning with Ecological Engineering

Navigating the career development and job sectors as a student can be overwhelming and difficult. Ecological Engineering offers resources to assist you in learning about this process. We highly recommend looking into undergraduate research and internships in industry as a way to improve your engineering skills for your future career!

Get help from your advisor

Ecological Engineering Head Advisor, Rachel Jones, is available to help you search for jobs/internships/research experiences and workshop your application materials (i.e. resume, cover letter). Just send her an email to set up an appointment.

General Resources

  • Career Development Center: find information on career and major exploration, see dates for events such as workshops and career fairs, get assistance with professional documents such as resumes, etc.
  • Handshake: the new OSU career management platform; a robust tool for finding internships, part-time jobs while you're in school, and entry-level positions as you transition from college to career
  • BEE Facebook page and BEE LinkedIn group: see postings for jobs related to biological and ecological engineering

Search and application tips

  1. Search a variety of databases. Here are some that we recommend:

    1. ​​​Handshake: OSU’s career management platform, can specify “internship” at beginning of search

    2. Josh's Water Jobs: database of water-related positions across the world, can specify “internship” at beginning of search

    3. Indeed: general job search database, can filter results to just show internships

    4. NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): NSF funded research at institutions across the country

  2. Use a variety of search terms dependent on your interests. Examples: environmental engineering, water resources, conservation, wildlife, natural resources, sustainability, etc.

  3. Expand your search beyond Corvallis or your hometown. To find an exciting internship/research experience, you may have to commute to (or even live in) another part of the state or country. In your searches, we recommend searching by state and not city. Highly competitive summer internships often include housing or a housing allowance, but this isn’t always the case so check before you accept a position.

  4. Don’t automatically dismiss entry-level jobs that list work experience as a minimum requirement. Often, companies list work experience as one of their minimum or preferred qualifications for entry-level positions in order to weed out applicants who have absolutely no experience outside of the classroom. If you have had significant and relevant outside-the-classroom experiences (at least 2 internships or research/work positions), please don’t hesitate to apply to positions that list 1-2 years of work experience as a requirement. In your cover letter or personal statement, you will detail your extracurricular work and explain why it counts as work experience.

  5. Search LinkedIn to see if any BEE or OSU alumni currently work at the company where you are applying. If there are alumni there, reach out to them for information about the company and advice on the application and interview process. Make sure your LinkedIn page is updated before you reach out.

  6. Spend time tailoring your resume and cover letter/personal statement (if required) to the individual position. Rachel Jones can help to review your application documents and provide editing assistance, but please contact her at least a few days in advance of the application deadline. You can also get drop-in resume and cover letter help from the Career Development Center.

  7. Choose appropriate references (if required). The best people to act as your references are instructors (ones that you have actually interacted with) or previous employers/supervisors. These individuals have a good sense for your abilities and strengths. You should supply your references with a list of your academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

  8. Organize your application documents. Make separate file folders for each position you apply for and save the job description along with the resume and cover letter that you submitted in these folders. If you are selected for an interview, you will be very happy to have these documents to review, especially the job description as it may have been taken down/deactivated.

  9. Take your FE exam before (or shortly after) graduating. Many entry-level positions will specify that they require EIT certification. If you haven’t passed your FE exam prior to applying, indicate in your application when you plan to take the exam. Dependent on the company and position, it may not disqualify you from consideration, as long as you meet the other criteria.

Internships

Internships are typically short-term work assignments related to your major or career interests. Completing an internship is an excellent way to develop the hands-on skills and professionalism needed for a successful transition into the work place. Visit the Career Development Center internship page to find more information on what an internship is, why should you consider an internship, what will be expected from you, etc.

**NOTE: The Ecological Engineering program is not currently involved in the Multiple Engineering Co-op Program (MECOP) or the Civil Engineering Co-op Program (CECOP).

 

BEE 410 Internship Credit

If you are an Ecological Engineering student who has identified an internship opportunity outside of OSU, you may consider earning academic credit for your internship by enrolling in BEE 410 Internship. Ideally, the intern will be assigned one or more projects that can be completed in one quarter.  Internships are graded (A-F) and your grade is based on a final report as well as an evaluation from your workplace supervisor.  Internships are NOT funded by the Department of Biological & Ecological Engineering. Tuition must be paid to gain academic credit. Please speak to Head Advisor, Rachel Jones, for more information.

Undergraduate Research

Participating in an undergraduate research program is highly recommended, especially if you are thinking about going to graduate school.  Undergraduate research experience will give you an edge in applying for graduate school, research fellowships, and employment. 

 

Undergraduate research at OSU

  • URSA Engage: The goal is to provide first and second year students, and transfer students in their first year at OSU, opportunities to pursue research or a creative activity under the guidance of an OSU mentor
  • Beginning Undergraduate Researcher Support Program: This program supports research opportunities for undergraduates who are engaging in formal research for the first time. Summer/fall and Winter/spring funding.
  • OSU University Honors College: Research experience leading to a thesis is a hallmark of the University Honors College.

 

Undergraduate research outside of OSU

  • NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs): The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds a number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program.  An REU site is typically at a university and consists of approximately 10 students who work in the research programs of the host institution.  Almost all REU internships are paid and many offer travel and housing assistance.  These are competitive experiences and the application process varies by individual site.  To look at opportunities by subject area, keyword, or location use the Search for an REU Site. REU application deadlines vary but are typically in the January-March timeframe. 
  • NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program: This program offers undergraduates across the United States mentored internship experiences at NASA Centers and research support facilities. The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program is NASA’s largest nationwide internship program.  Searchable site here
  • Department of Energy Scholars Program: The DOE Scholars Program introduces students or recent college graduates to DOE’s mission and operations.
  • IBP-Pathway to Science - Education and Career training opportunities in STEM
  • NSP Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) REUs: Summer research opportunities associated with the LTER Network. 

 

BEE 401 Research Credit

Students who conduct undergraduate research at OSU can receive up to 6 credits of BEE 401 research credit which can be applied as engineering electives. Please speak to Head Advisor, Rachel Jones, for more information or visit the Blanket Hour Credit webpage.