Excellence through Partnership

Our program trains students in the real-world knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in applied research, clinical, development, and production settings. In addition to technical training, students receive hands-on experience with crucial soft skills including teamwork, communication and inclusion.

For over 20 years, we have worked closely with hiring managers and professionals to prepare students to meet their talent needs. By combining applied training and soft skills, interns are able to hit the ground running and are uniquely qualified to solve your field’s critical problems.

Engagement Opportunities

With nearly 100 students in each cohort, we have a highly trained group of materials scientists, engineers, and bioinformaticians/data scientists ready to solve your problems! From our initial recruitment process, which identifies students with the right mix of technical and soft skills, to our unique hands-on, team-based curriculum - we identify and train students to be successful in collaborative work environments. FAQs about internships are provided below.

Student Projects
Working in small teams, students delve into hands-on projects which allow them to apply their technical knowledge to real-world problems. Employers who sponsors projects gain both a fresh set of eyes on their problems and access to program resources such as capital equipment and services. Sponsoring projects also provides an opportunity to engage with prospective interns prior to the program’s annual interview and networking events.

For further details on life science or materials science student projects, partners can respectively connect with Dr. Leslie Coonrod or Dr. Laura McKnight.

With nearly 900 alumni, we offer a significant talent pool ranging from recent graduates to experienced professionals. We will gladly share your posting through our social media groups and with targeted alumni seeking new opportunities.

From equipment donation, sponsorship of workshops and gifts to support scholarships, there are a range of giving opportunities. We would love to hear your ideas for collaboration and how to support students.

Internship FAQs

Q: What type of organizations host interns?
A: A list of our most recent host organizations is found below the FAQs on this page.. We partner with a wide range of organizations spanning from Fortune 500 companies, startups, national labs, and research institutes.

Q: What is the typical academic background of the students entering this program?
A: Student backgrounds vary by program track and span multiple STEM disciplines. A list of typical backgrounds for each track and the degree awarded to students is listed below.

Program Track

Typical Backgrounds of Students

MS Degree Awarded

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Biology, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and related disciplines


Molecular Sensors and Biotechnology

Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and related disciplines


Polymer Science

Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Polymer Science, Biochemistry


Semiconductor and Photovoltaic Device Processing

Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science

Chemistry or Applied Physics

Optical Materials and Devices

Physics, Biophysics, Materials Science

Applied Physics

Q: What are my financial commitments as a partner?
A: There are no fees to engage with the program. Internship salaries are determined by the host organization. The average annualized compensation for the most recent cohort is $74,500. We are happy to provide feedback on competitive salaries for your specific geographical location and sector.

Q: Am I required to commit to internships every year as a partner?
A: No. All we ask is that you communicate potential employment opportunities when they arise so we may provide qualified candidates.

Q: How do I select an intern?

A: Materials Science tracks: Student resumes are distributed in August and candidates begin interviewing in September. Interviews may occur in-person, by phone, or video. Internship offers are extended directly to students. Nine-month internships typically begin in January. For more information about the hiring process and timeline please contact Dr. Laura McKnight.

A: Bioinformatics and Genomics track: Student resumes are distributed in December and candidates begin interviewing in late January to early February. Interviews may occur in-person, by phone, or video. Internship offers are extended directly to students. Nine-month internships typically begin in April. For more information about the hiring process and timeline, please contact Dr. Leslie Coonrod or visit the Genomics in Action website.

Q: Is there an impact on IP (intellectual property)?
A: No. Interns are employed directly by the partner and the university has no claim to the IP generated during an internship. Students submit technical papers each term for class credit, but these papers are reviewed by the company to ensure content does not infringe on sensitive data. The program encourages students to compose technical literature reviews when possible. Data within technical papers will not be shared.

Q: When can I hire an intern as a “regular” full-time employee?
A: An offer for a “regular” full-time position can be made at any time (including the initial offer) without affecting their “student” status. As long as the student completes their coursework and meets the program’s academic requirements, they will receive their graduate degree.

Q: Do students need to return to the University of Oregon campus to complete their course work after the internship?
A: No, students do not need to return to UO to complete coursework, and may transition from intern to employee without interruption if you choose to hire them.

Q: What if an intern I hire doesn’t work out?
A: Open communication is encouraged with us throughout the internship so if issues do arise, we can help address them. If it is necessary to terminate an intern, we will support your decision. Because of this proactive approach, unsuccessful internships are extremely rare.

Q: Are there other ways to engage with the program?
A: In addition to hosting internships, we have engaged with partners in a number of ways including:

  • Connecting alumni with full-time opportunities.
  • Co-hosting technical seminars, workshops, and conferences.
  • Identifying immersion projects for students during their coursework.
  • Connecting partners with our core facilities who are able to provide cutting edge characterization and data analysis services.
  • Co-sponsoring Inclusion and Diversity initiatives to increase representation in STEM.
  • Mentoring students in professional skill building including attending layperson talks, networking events, and conducting mock interviews.
  • Providing input on curriculum and program development.

Q: Can you help me connect with other Knight Campus and UO resources?
A: We are happy to facilitate introductions across the Knight Campus and UO. Learn more about what is happening in our ecosystem – from the Knight Campus to UO Strategic Initiatives, Research and Innovation.



Senior Director, Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program
 Laura McKnight, PhD | 541-346-7198 |

Bioinformatics and Genomics Program Director
Leslie Coonrod, PhD | 541-346-4173 |


Internship Hosts

Students have completed internships at a wide variety of host organizations including Fortune 500 companies, startups, national labs and research institutes. Internship opportunities presented to students since 2019 include:

Bioinformatics and Genomics: AbSci, Adaptive Biosciences, Allen Institute for Immunology, Epic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Galaxy, Genentech, Genomics Institute  at University of California Santa Cruz, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Johannes Gutenberg University, Joyn Bio, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, NanoString, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory , Providence Health and Services, Phylagen, Scisco Genetics, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Thermo Fisher Scientific (Life Science Solutions Group), University of Colorado, Anchutz Medical Campus, University of Oregon (Genomics and Cell Characterization Core Facility), US Department of Agriculture, Virginia Commonwealth University

Optical Materials and Devices: Applied Materials, DigiLens, Inc., Fiberguide Industries, First Solar, HRL Laboratories, Integrative Economics, Intel, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, MKS Instruments, Nanohmics, Northrop Grumman, Onto Innovation, Oregon Physics, Ouster, Penn State University Applied Reserach Laboratory, SA Photonics, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Analytical & Instrumentation Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Life Sciences Group

Polymer Science: Actylis, Arclin, Ascend Performance Materials Chemicals, Brewer Science, Emerald Kalama Chemical, Encapsys, FormFactor, Forrest Technical Coatings, Gates Corporation, Genentech, Hexion, Isovolta, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Lonza, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nike, Purple, Serán Bioscience, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Analytical & Instrumentation Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Laboratory Products & Services Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Life Sciences Group, Willamette Valley Company, WR Grace

Semiconductor and Photovoltaics Device Processing: Advent Diamond, Wolfspeed, FormFactor, HP, HRL Laboratories, Intel, Keysight Technologies, KLA Tencor, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microchip, MKS Instruments, Nanohmics, Onto Innovation, Oregon Physics, Qorvo (High-Volume RF Devices), Qorvo (Low-Volume RF Filters), Thermo Fisher Scientific - Analytical & Instrumentation Group

Molecular Sensors and Biotechnology (launched in 2019): Actylis, Brewer Science, Lonza, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nanohmics, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Serán Bioscience, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Analytical & Instrumentation Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Life Sciences Group, WR Grace