ORISE Offers Students One Stop Shop for Internships and More
Phillip Keane posted on April 17, 2017 | 1044 views

Finding a job in STEM as a fresh graduate can be a huge pain in the behind; I can say this with a certain degree of authority thanks to having sent more than 100 job applications before getting my first graduate engineering job.  Even ten years later, about to complete a second master’s degree, I can confirm that it doesn’t get any easier.

Jobs can be scarce, many graduates are all fighting for the same position and employers are looking for that elusive combination of experience and education…while hoping to pay as little as possible for both.

So, it’s good to see that a new website has appeared to consolidate STEM internships and jobs across the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) agencies and labs into one location, making that job search a little bit easier.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) recently unveiled its website portal specializing in jobs, internships and fellowships all aimed at greenhorn STEM students and new graduates. As ORISE is comprised of elements of the DoE, all of these opportunities fall under the auspices of the DoE and related agencies.

“A great deal of user research was performed before work on the actual website began, including conducting focus groups with people who the website is designed to target,” said ORISE director Jim Vosburg. “We used this research to design the website for ease of navigation and to match the design and content with what our target audience wants and needs.”

Usability is being touted as a big part of this website’s appeal. Does the reality live up to the hype? Only one way to find out.

Screenshot of the site homepage. Tidy. (Image courtesy of ORISE.)
Screenshot of the site homepage. Tidy. (Image courtesy of ORISE.)

The home page is clutter free, and offers drop-down menus along the top. It maintains the aesthetic and ease of navigation on both home computer and mobile devices, which is obviously important these days, given that students consume most of their media on hand-held devices.

Weirdly, clicking on the “Careers” tab will actually lead you off the ORISE site and onto the main ORAU website. So don’t do that. And minus points for usability.

If you want to look for internship, fellowship and job opportunities for students and grads, you need to click the “Students and Graduates” tab and you will be presented with the options as seen in the picture below.

Students and Graduates section of the site. Get a job!  (Image courtesy of ORISE.)
Students and Graduates section of the site. Get a job! (Image courtesy of ORISE.)

When I click on the “Recent Graduates” link, I am presented with a list of 245 entries for opportunites ranging from “materials experimentalist” to “sensor evaluation fellowship” to “aviation helmet research.” (That last one sounds cool. I would definitely apply for that if I were a U.S citizen) Clicking any of these links takes you offsite and onto the hosting agency’s website, where you can apply for the position.

Going back to the main “Students and Graduates” there are other links to what is on offer for different experience leves. There are more than 50 opportunities for undergrads, nearly 100 for seasoned graduates and a whopping 320 positions for post-doctoral students.

All in all, I can confirm that this is a decent repository for STEM internships, felllowships and jobs, especially if you are post-grad or higher. To be fair, it’s one of the better sites, not just in overall usability (despite the confusing “Careers” tab) but also in the number of opportunities provided.

We’ve all heard about the impending skills crisis in STEM, and in particular in the engineering fields. There simply aren’t enough engineers to meet the coming demands if America (and other countries) want to stay ahead of the game.

ORISE is addressing this by analyzing workforce trends and developing recruitment strategies to provide reliable data for ensuring that the nation has the intellectual and human capital necessary for responding to critical science and technology needs. 

This website is one such rung in that ladder. If you’re a student or graduate in engineering or another STEM field and you’re looking to put that expensive education to good use, you could do a lot worse than visiting this site.

Go ahead and check out the ORISE site. It could be the best thing you ever did.

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