There is nothing like real-life experience in the field!
Internships lead to other opportunities
Gives you a valuable experience in teamwork of a professional nature
Most internships pay at least as much as you could make with a job during that time
Internships at university campuses let you get to know the institution really well
It can give a good introduction to research
Gives you a chance to test-drive the job!
You get a different kind of knowledge than what you get from classes--a very applied kind
Build professional networks that will last forever
You can get a chance to know if you really like the field, or NOT?
Finding an Internship:
There are many paths to locating an internship that is right for you.
Through a faculty in your major
If you have eligibility for college work study in your financial aid package, a faculty can help turn that into an internship!
College Work Experience (Karen Groppi has on-campus sustainability internships for units)
ACCESS: if you have a major in a biomedica lfield
Internet research: some good things to search on are the acronymns "REU" or "SULI"
Get a page on Linked In: a professional networking
MESA bulletin board has an internships section. Even if there is a posting for an internship from a previous year, chances are good that the contact information is still good, and that the internship is a continuing one
MESA emails sent out to MESA members listserve
MESA website links
Volunteering can lead to internships down the road, once people get to know you and your work habits
Make your own proposal! Don't be shy--find a local company, prepare a resume and ask for an appointment for a short interview.
Job Shadow experiences can naturally lead into internships. The job shadow is a class requirement for some Engineering classes.