Optical Engineer Summer Intern | JPL

Feb. 16, 2023

Location: Pasadena, CA
ALL candidates welcome
POC and to request an interview: Jim McGuire james.p.mcguire@jpl.nasa.gov

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


This unique opportunity is part of Optics Section, which provides world-leading capability and expertise in a wide range of technologies that are critical to the development of optical instruments. Section leadership and expertise are specifically applied to the development of advanced ground and space-based optical systems in the following areas: research and development of optics-related technologies; system architecture and concept definition; detailed optical system design, opto-mechanical design, analysis and implementation; and alignment, test and calibration of optical instruments and systems.

We invite you to join the Optics Section within the Optical & Optomechanical Design And Engineering Group to serve as an Engineering Undergraduate Student I. You will be reporting administratively to the Group Supervisor. The Optical & Optomechanical Design And Engineering specializes in Opto-mechanical engineering for ground, airborne, and space-borne optical instruments covering all phases of the project lifecycle from concept development through hardware integration and test.

Your responsibilities will be to assist the team in design and mechanical modifications of Ground Support Equipment (GSE) which will be utilized in assembly and alignment of flight hardware in later stages of the project. Other tasks include OGSE (Optical GSE) set up, layout in optical and mechanical software, import solid models into CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, and help develop the OGSE the configuration layout. There will be opportunities to perform stress analysis and design of simple test components.

The SBG VSWIR (Surface Biology Geology, Very Short Wavelength Infrared) project will be a spacecraft in low earth orbit and perform Hyperspectral imagery in the visible and shortwave infrared. This mission has five research and application focus areas: Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, Hydrology, Weather, Climate, Solid Earth.


  • Must be currently enrolled at least half-time at a local accredited college or university pursuing a Bachelor's degree or Graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Material/Science, Physics, Robotics, Structural Engineering, or related technical discipline
  • Must be available to work part time during the school year 8 to 30 hours
  • Minimum GPA 3.0/4.0
  • Coursework providing an understanding and application of standard principles, theories, concepts and techniques in mechanical and optical systems including basic propagation of light, hardware configuration, mechanisms, and integration and test
  • General knowledge of applicable industry and/or academic practices and standards in mechanical design
  • Willingness and flexibility to receive direction and mentoring from project leadership

What would help:

  • Be a self-starter and task-oriented team player with strong customer service skills and excellent interpersonal, organizational, communication, and planning skills
  • Working knowledge in engineering of optical systems
  • Experience with SolidWorks or NX mechanical design software tools
  • Experience with Python, MATLAB, or LabView languages
  • Experience with Zemax Optics Studio or CodeV optical design software tools

The typical hourly rate for this job in Pasadena, California depending on education level is $19 as a freshman, $22 as a sophomore, $26 as a junior, $29 as a senior

JPL has a catalog of benefits and perks that span from the traditional to the unique. This includes a variety of health, dental, vision, wellbeing, and retirement plans, paid time off, learning, rideshare, childcare, flexible schedule, parental leave and many more. Our focus is on work-life balance, and living healthy, fulfilling lives as we Dare Mighty Things Together. For benefits eligible positions, benefits are effective the first day of the month coincident with or immediately following the employee’s start date.

For further benefits information click Benefits and Perks

The hiring range displayed below is specifically for those who will work in or reside in the location listed. In extending an offer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory considers factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s job related skills, experience, knowledge, and relevant education/training. Hiring range for this job may be adjusted based on primary work location outside of Pasadena, California. This adjusted range will be provided to candidates by the Recruiter when applicable.

The typical full time equivalent annual hiring range for this job in Pasadena, California.

$0 - $0 see information above

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

EEO is the Law.

EEO is the Law Supplement

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.