High School Engineering Summer Internship


Draper’s High School Internship Program provides high school students the opportunity to apply their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to real-world problems having open-ended components, design constraints, and specified deliverables. The program is a six-week, paid summer research internship for rising juniors and seniors (students must be 16 years of age or older) from July through August. Teams of three to four students work on defined projects under the supervision of a Draper engineer or scientist. Upon completion of the internship, the teams present their results to members of their engineering group, fellow students, and other invited guests from within Draper.

Although the program focuses on laboratory work, students have the opportunity to attend Draper scientific seminars and presentations. Students tour a number of different labs within the organization over the summer.



Guidance for autonomous parachutes. This project supported a guided airdrop system for troop resupply using autonomous guided parachutes that communicate with each other during flight. The students worked to develop guidance algorithms to incorporate the locations of neighboring parachutes into their own flight paths, such as but not limited to a single leader to multiple followers strategy or multiple leaders with the goal of landing closer together.

Advanced structures for flight. Inspired by how different birds have different wing types (e.g., birds of prey, waterfowl, songbirds), this project aims to develop wing types that can morph from one type to another. Students developed prototypes of origami and kirigami structures that enable specific, tunable structural characteristics as well as motion degrees of freedom. Students worked with both Draper staff and Harvard faculty.

Network Security Models. Students created innovative network designs for threat models within an environment that was determined by the group, employing an open source network simulation tool.

Airdrop payload release point computation. Students developed an Android GUI Mission Planner Application that computed the aerial release point for an airdrop payload, integrating weather information, payload weight, airplane type, and parachute characteristics. They also developed an Android Application for Ground Station, which displayed telemetry data, configured a device with mission variables, and uploaded and downloaded firmware files.

Enabling deep sea exploration by underwater autonomous vehicles. This project supported a research program in underwater implosions in confined areas. Students created a user interface providing detailed visualizations of information in a database of pressure profiles created by underwater implosions. This project enabled engineers to quickly choose and analyze design decisions for underwater autonomous vehicles.

Phage Hunting for Better Bacterial Diagnostics. Students hunted for new bacteriophages (viruses that only infect specific species of bacteria) that infected clinically relevant bacterial strains from a variety of natural sources including raw sewage and farms. Once isolated, these new bacteriophages were subjected to genetic mapping using molecular biology techniques for identification. The DNA from these newly isolated bacteriophages was then prepared for genome sequence analysis to enable DNA engineering. The students were successful in identifying multiple phages for three distinct species of bacteria representing broad host ranges for each species. This work was in support of medical device development.



The program will be announced in the winter - check back regularly on this web site for updates. Applications can be submitted using the web submission portal starting in February. The application period spans February through March, with selection occurring in April. Projects will be announced prior to the application due date, and applicants must rank the projects in order of interest as part of the application. 

Applications are only accepted through the web submission portal during the application period. Applications include a resume, a transcript, a Letter of Recommendation, and four short answer questions. Finalists will be interviewed prior to an offer being made.

This program is limited to US Citizens only. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older.



Please contact hs_program@draper.com. Please do not send application materials to this address. Applications will only be accepted during the application period through the web submission portal.


The Draper High School Engineering Summer Internship is accepting applications from local high school students interested in participating in a six-week, paid summer research internship for rising juniors and seniors. The internship provides an opportunity for students to work with mentor scientists and administrators toward the execution of a research project, while obtaining professional experience in support of academic preparation for a career in engineering or a related STEM field.

Although the program focuses on laboratory work, interns have the opportunity to attend Draper scientific seminars and presentations. Students will tour a number of different labs with the organization over the summer. To complete the internship, each student will present the results of their research project to members of their engineering group, fellow students and other invited guests from within Draper.

Three projects have been selected for the student internships. Teams of three to four students will be assigned to each project and work on the assigned project for the duration of the internship under the supervision of a Draper engineer or scientist.



Projects located in Cambridge, MA:

Project A (Visualize UAV Data):  A Graphic User Interface (GUI) is a platform that users can interact with in order to engage with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators, instead of text-based user interfaces, typed command lines or text navigation. In order to develop and demonstrate navigation software for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), a GUI is necessary. For this project, a team of students will have the opportunity to work with a Snapdragon Flight UAV and develop a GUI for visualizing the UAV’s navigation software, for both development and demonstrations. Familiarity with and interest in visual design, using Linux systems, MATLAB or Robot Operating Systems (ROS) are a plus.

Project B (Simulation of Novel Space Systems):  Miniaturized satellites have reduced the costs associated with satellite construction and launch and created new opportunities in space. In order to survey a space-based target vehicle for condition and its location, extremely small femto-satellites can be employed. For this project, a team of students will investigate novel approaches to space systems that will service satellites, including uncooperative disabled target satellites, using femto-satellites. This will be in collaboration with work conducted by US Naval Academy interns, who will mentor the students in system simulation design. Geometry and Algebra II are required, and Trigonometry/Pre-calculus and Physics coursework are preferred. Some programming experience (MATLAB, Python, or C/C++) is desired but not necessary. 

Project C (Sea Condition Buoy):  Ocean buoys are instruments used to collect various metrics about ocean conditions, such as water temperature and aspects of the waves they encounter. For this project, a team of students will aim to create a small and affordable buoy that can detect environmental conditions including water temperature, current direction, and wave and swell height. Students should have a familiarity with Physics coursework, and readily be able to employ critical thinking skills. Some programming experience (MATLAB, Python, or C/C++) is desired but not necessary.

Projects located in Reston, VA:

Project D (Turtlebot Test Platform): Turtlebot is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) ground robotics platform which consists of a mobile base, a 3D depth camera, and an onboard computer running open-source software known as the Robot Operating Systems (ROS). ROS is an open-source set of software libraries and tools that have been used to build robotics applications and offers a variety of packages for communication, control, and autonomous operation of the Turtlebot platform. For this project, a team of students will build a mature and reliable Turtlebot platform to gather data and test augmented reality tools, such as the Microsoft HonoLens, for more intuitive and capable human-robot interaction. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the performance of the platform by designing scenarios where the Turtlebot must navigate through an environment with unexpected obstacles to a user commanded position. Some programming experience (Python or C/C++) is helpful but not necessary. Familiarity with and interest in ROS and using Linux systems are a plus.

Please select and rank in order your preference of Projects in the form below.

Project D is to be selected only if an applicant will be residing in the greater Reston, VA area for the summer of 2018.  If residing in greater Cambridge/Boston, MA in summer of 2018, please only rank Projects A, B, and C.


U.S. Citizenship or green card required for the summer internship.


The program takes place for six consecutive weeks, beginning Monday, July 9 through Friday, August 17, 2018. Students must be able to commit to that entire time period to participate in the internship. During these weeks, students will work Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which includes an unpaid lunch hour each day. Interns will be paid $10.75  per hour.



  • Students must be 16 years of age by the start of the internship.
  • Student must be entering their junior or senior year of high school.
  • Students must live within commuting distance of Draper’s Cambridge, MA  facility for Projects A, B, and C, or within commuting distance of Draper's Reston, VA facility for Project D.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or green card holders.



  1. Online application form.
  2. Official high school transcript.
  3. One letter of recommendation from an instructor in a relevant science/engineering course.
    Please have instructor send recommendation to hs_program@draper.com. Please have instructor include recommendation and student name in subject field (i.e., Recommendation - John Doe).

DEADLINE: Completed applications due March 16, 2018, 5:00 p.m.

Please note that Draper cannot accept hand-delivered application materials.


Application period: February 19 - March 16

Application Review: March 17 - 25

Phone/Skype interview:  March 26 - April 6

Selection and Notification: Starting April 9

Internship Dates: July 9 - August 17


If you have any questions, please send email to hs_program@draper.com



High School Internship Form

* denotes a required response

Part 1 - Personal Information







Part 2 - Short Answer Questions

Briefly describe any of your past or present extracurricular activities, especially those related to science and / or technology, and related disciplines.

Please list any honors, awards or special recognitions you have received.

List any community or national organizations to which you belong.

Briefly describe any special interests you may have.

Please describe yourself as a student, your interest in science and / or engineering, and why you should be considered for participation in this research internship.


Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx ppt pptx.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx ppt pptx.


Please select your preference for projects starting with first. If you have no preference, please select "No Preference".