Photo of faculty member and students in a lab

Faculty and Staff

Our staff is here to help your undergraduate and graduate engineering students prepare to search for co-op, internship, and entry-level full-time employment by providing guidance about how to write résumés, curricula vitae, cover letters, and other job search documents. 

We also offer a wide variety of career-related events and activities each academic year, including career fairs, networking receptions, information sessions, and other events that give students and recruiters opportunities to connect.

Advising Students in the Job Search

Students sometimes approach faculty or staff within their departments with career-related questions, especially those that relate specifically to their major or area of study. 

Undergraduates often ask questions about the types of industries they can work in with their major, how to choose between two job offers, and whether or not to register for internship or co-op credit.

Graduate students often have more general questions about how to find research positions (especially at the Ph.D. level), how to make job contacts in their field of interest, and how to grow their professional network.

Please feel encouraged to provide any specialized assistance you can. Thank you for your support of student career development within your department or in your classes or labs! 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary work authorization for international students who hold an F-1 visa and who have been enrolled full-time in a college-level degree program for at least one academic year. Both undergraduate and graduate students can use CPT for an internship or co-op experience that is directly related to their major or field of study.

As part of the CPT application process, students must obtain an adviser recommendation. Depending upon the type of work experience the student plans to complete and the timeframe for the experience, departmental faculty or staff (e.g., academic advisers) may be able to complete the recommendation. We provide the following guidance to help you if a student approaches you about CPT.

General Guidelines

  • Faculty members or advisers may complete recommendations for:
    • Undergraduate international students who want to enroll in ENGR 195 (internship) during a summer semester only
    • Graduate international students who want to enroll in ENGR 595 (internship) during any semester
  • Faculty members or advisers may not complete recommendations for undergraduate international students who want to enroll in ENGR 295, ENGR 395, or ENGR 495 (co-op). These recommendations must be completed by Carmen Bilén, Associate Director, Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations.
  • Faculty advisers must complete recommendations for graduate international students who want to enroll in thesis or departmental credits during their internships.

Recommendation Process

International students should review the detailed CPT information on our website and be familiar with the specific steps they must complete for the application process.

After they have obtained an offer letter and job description that meet the requirements of the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA), students must request CPT online by completing the iStart application, which is housed on the Global Programs website. This application includes a request for them to provide the name and email address for the individual they are asking to complete the request. If a student lists you as the adviser, you will receive a message from, which will provide the student's name and a link/login for you to access the recommendation form.

The form will ask you for specific information about the student, so please notify the student that you cannot complete recommendation until he/she provides you with the information you need (see below), as well as a copy of his/her offer letter and a detailed job description.

The form will request:

  • The number of credits the student has left to complete his/her degree program as of the end of the current semester
  • The course number the student intends to take—note that ENGR 195 and ENGR 595 are controlled and we must enroll the student in the appropriate course
  • The student’s graduation date (can be found on the Registrar's website)
  • Whether or not the work experience is required for graduation—note that internships are not required for any major except MNENG
  • A statement about how the work experience would relate to the student's major (to complete this, you must have a detailed job description for the student's work experience)

You will also be asked to provide your name, title, and contact information.

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation that DISSA has received it. If the student has requested ENGR 195 or ENGR 595, please forward the confirmation so we can get the student registered for the appropriate course. If the student has requested a departmental course, you may either advise the student to register for the course or assist him/her in registering for a controlled course, per the policy of your department.

Please note that students must be enrolled in and pay for their internship course before CPT can be issued.

For any questions about CPT, please contact Carmen Bilén, Associate Director, Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations.


Employers may occasionally contact you to ask you to refer your "best and brightest" students for a particular job, to recommend specific minority candidates, or to release student information so that they can contact those students directly. Before you do any of these things, it's important for you to be aware of the ethical (and sometimes legal) issues associated with such requests.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) provides detailed information for faculty members on its website. The following information is adapted from NACE's A Faculty Guide to Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Hiring (updated in 2012).


NACE's guide to ethical standards for guiding the job-search process, Principles for Professional Practice for Career Services & Employment Professionals, outlines "six essential precepts" supporting the goal of "achieving the best match between the individual student and the employing organization":

  1. All candidates should have equal access to the opportunity for open and free selection of employment opportunities consistent with their personal objectives and optimum use of their talents.
  2. Both colleges and employers should support informed and responsible decision making by candidates.
  3. All aspects of the recruiting process should be fair and equitable to candidates and employing organizations.
  4. Career services professionals and faculty involved in recruiting should provide generally comparable services to all employers, regardless of whether the employers contribute services, gifts, or financial support to the college, department, or office, and regardless of the level of such support.
  5. As required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), any disclosure of student information outside of the educational institution will be with prior consent of the student unless health and/or safety considerations necessitate the dissemination of such information. Both career services professionals and faculty will exercise sound judgment and fairness in maintaining the confidentiality of student information, regardless of the source, including written records, reports, and computer databases.
  6. Any recruitment activities through student associations or academic departments should be conducted in accordance with the policies of the career services office and accepted ethical, equal employment and legal practices.

Precepts 1, 3, and 5 are particularly relevant to faculty or staff in the context of referring or recommending students.


There are three main areas in which faculty or staff may inadvertently violate NACE's ethical standards: referring candidates in general, referring minority candidates in particular, and providing references.

Referring Candidates

Be cautious if an employer asks you to refer a few of your “top students” for a specific position. If you only refer a few students rather than advertising the position to all students in your classes or college who might be interested, you are not supporting a "fair and equitable recruiting process". If you regularly refer students to a particular employer, and if it appears that you consistently only refer male students or minority students, you may open yourself up to charges of discrimination. Furthermore, if you release student information to an employer without a student's consent, you may be in violation of FERPA.

Rather than recommend individual students to an employer, it's safest to notify all students you know who have expressed an interest in a particular type of position and encourage them to apply. At the same time, forward the job announcement through your departmental listserv (where it may be seen by all your students or all students in the department) and post it in the Nittany Lion Careers career management system.

Referring Minority Candidates

You may be asked for assistance in referring minority candidates to employers to help them fulfill their diversity hiring objectives.

You may inform minority student populations of special activities specifically aimed at them. However, don’t only inform specific students who are members of these groups. Again, failure to publicize opportunities more widely could constitute a failure to provide a "fair and equitable" system. It's best to pass on the employer's request via signs in your department or a message on your department listserv, or by sending it to the Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion.

Providing References

If an employer asks you to provide a reference for a student, be sure that you have written authorization from the student prior to speaking to the employer. Sharing student information without such consent could constitute a violation of FERPA.

Once you have received student consent, be sure that your reference contains only information that is based on fact and related to the position to which the student is applying (and it is appropriate for the student to provide you with all relevant information in advance). Avoid discussing any personal matters related to the student, especially information that should not by law be considered by an employer making hiring decisions.

Grading End-of-Semester Reports

Engineering students who complete internship and co-op experiences are eligible to receive credit, if desired, for completing specific assignments related to their work experiences, including self-evaluative End-of-Semester Reports that are graded PS (pass) or FL (fail).  Certain faculty and staff members in each engineering department have been designated as graders for these reports and can access and grade them through a web interface.

If you are a designated grader:

  • Log in to the Assignment Management System with your username and password.
  • Select Grading Managers.
  • Enter your user ID and password (provided to you when you were designated as a grader) and select Login.
  • From the pull-down semester tab at the top left, select your desired semester (usually the current one).  The items that appear highlighted in yellow have been approved by the students’ supervisors and are ready to be graded. 
  • Select a report by clicking on the report icon on the left.
  • Once you have read the report, go to the Grade pull-down tab on the right side of each listing, select PS (pass) or FL (fail).

Generally, a report may be graded as satisfactory as long as the student has followed the guidelines.  A report that is exceptionally poorly written or that plagiarizes text from the employer’s website or elsewhere should be considered unsatisfactory, even if the student has essentially followed the guidelines. Please contact us if you have any questions about this process.

Posting Jobs

eCareer is a free online engineering job posting system that you can use to advertise co-op, internship, or research positions in your department or laboratory.

You must register for an account in order to use the system. Here’s how:

  • Go to the Nittany Lion Careers employer login site.
  • Select the Register button on the right side of the login screen.
  • Complete the requested information—required elements will be denoted by a red asterisk (*)—and select Submit. Your registration will be reviewed and approved by our staff, usually within 1–2 business days. Once approved, you will receive an email verification message, which will include a unique password that will allow you to log into the system. Upon your initial login, you will have the option to change the password to something that is easier for you to remember via the Account tab.
  • Complete all sections within the Account tab, and provide information about your department or laboratory in the Profile tab.

Your account is now ready and you can post positions under the Jobs tab.  Job descriptions should include information about the work itself, desired majors to be considered for the position, and citizenship requirements (if any).

Since most students choose to receive academic credit for co-op and internship positions during the fall and spring semesters, we require that these postings, in particular, incorporate the following skills sets and learning objectives for students:

  • Ability to understand, simulate, and design products, materials, facilities, processes, systems, and/or work environments
  • Ability to conduct experimentation and testing to collect, analyze, and interpret data in order to make sound decisions through modeling and quantitative analysis
  • Assumption of increasing levels of responsibility in project, personnel, and budget management
  • Effective work and leadership on international, multicultural and multidisciplinary teams, in recognition of the global, societal, and ethical contexts of engineering work
  • Effective presentation of work and ideas through strong oral and written communications that demonstrate independent learning

Co-op and internship postings should also include information about the timeframe for the positions. Students should be working full-time (30–40 hours per week) at their co-op or internship locations for 10–12 weeks in the summer or 12–15 weeks in either the fall or spring semesters.

If you already have an Nittany Lion Careers account, log in now.


We solicit information from students who have opted to receive credit for their experience and from their supervisors by means of mid-semester and end-of-semester evaluations.

The student evaluations ask about:

  • Their level of satisfaction with the technical work they are doing or have done during their internship or co-op
  • Their perception of their own preparedness for their internship or co-op, based on their technical coursework at Penn State
  • The degree to which their employer helped them with adjustment to, and integration into, the workplace
  • The degree to which they used their coursework in their internship or co-op
  • Their views about their own professional development as a result of the internship or co-op

The employer evaluations ask about:

  • Their assessment of students' preparedness for internship or co-op experiences
  • Their impressions of students' quality of work and professionalism
  • Their overall impressions of their student workers' development during the internship or co-op experience

Data from these evaluations is provided to specified individuals within the College of Engineering.  If you already have access to our Co-op & Internship Assignment Management System as a Grading Manager, use your account information for this system to log in. If you have not used this site in the past, please contact us to obtain an account.

Referring Employers

Do you have employers contacting you about hiring your students or scheduling a recruiting visit?  Please refer them to us!  We can help them connect with engineering students through Nittany Lion Careers, where they can post internship, co-op, and full-time positions. We can also offer advice on how they can increase their visibility with engineering students and help them to increase their face-to-face interactions with engineering students through a variety of career-related events on the University Park campus.

Classroom Presentations

Our Engineering Career Envoys are available to provide brief in-classroom presentations about career-related topics.  Depending upon your needs, a member of our staff may also be available for a presentation on a specific topic.

Please contact us to request a speaker for your classroom.


Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032