Optical Engineering Summer Graduate Intern | JPL

Feb. 9, 2023

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA

ALL candidates welcome

POC and to request an interview: Jim McGuire (james.p.mcguire@jpl.nasa.gov)

Time type - Full time
posted on - Posted Yesterday
job requisition id - R3464

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 the 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 and tolerancing, opto-mechanical design, analysis and implementation; and alignment, test, and calibration of optical instruments and systems.

We invite you to join the Optical Technology Group within the Optics Section to serve as an Engineering Graduate Student I. You will report to the Group Supervisor. The Optical Technology Group specializes in optical systems design and engineering, with expertise that spans the full breadth of optical disciplines and is applied from architectural concept through operations. Most recently, much of the work involves the design and implementation of imaging spectrometer instruments for airborne or space-based applications, including missions to Europa, to the Moon, and orbiting Earth.

You will work the Optical Technology Group that specializes in developing state-of-the-art imaging spectrometers for applications that span Earth remote sensing, water detection on the moon, and planetary exploration. This task will be under the Carbon Plume Mapper (CPM) project. The CPM imaging spectrometer instrument will enable detection and measurement of methane and carbon dioxide plumes from super-emitters to help enable reduction of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Your responsibilities will include the assembly and alignment of a grating measurement testbed that will characterize the efficiency of different as-built gratings that will inform grating designs on future flight programs. Duties may include the design of optomechanical hardware to mount optics or aid in alignment or characterization measurements.


  • Must be currently enrolled in, or accepted to, an accredited college or university pursuing a 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 full time during the summer for at least 12 weeks.
  • Minimum GPA 3.0/4.0
  • Coursework providing an understanding and application of standard principles, theories, concepts and techniques in mechanical and/or optical systems including hardware configuration, mechanisms, and integration and test
  • General knowledge of applicable industry and/or academic practices and standards in mechanical design
  • Experience with the MATLAB coding language
  • Willingness and flexibility to receive direction and mentoring from project leadership
  • Experience with optical systems, such as telescopes and spectrometers
  • Hands-on experience building optical instruments, including experience  with optical alignment and metrology
  • Proficiency in Zemax OpticStudio or CODE V optical design software tools
  • Proficiency in Microsoft tools (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

The typical hourly range for this job in Pasadena, California depending on education level $36-43

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.

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