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Hands-On Learning Opportunities

The FSHN-PPP (in partnership with IBRL) offers separate paid and for-credit opportunities for students across many disciplines at Illinois. Applications are always welcome, but opportunities are limited. For a list of current student interns, please see here.


**To apply for a hands-on learning opportunity, please click here!**

Paid Undergraduate Internships

The FSHN-PPP & IBRL host classes, industry projects, faculty research, and conferences in the facilities year-round. Student employees receive training and mentoring to assist with these activities and gain experience working in the pilot plant and lab facilities performing a wide range of tasks including, but not limited to:

  • Operating, maintaining, and installing pilot-scale processing equipment
  • Analyzing laboratory samples to support decision-making and project reporting
  • Facility operations including inventory, cleaning and organizing, continuous improvement, and performing safety reviews
  • Working directly with industry leaders, top researchers, and talented graduate students on their research projects

Students work closely with the facilities’ technical staff in a team-based environment on projects across a wide range of subject areas. Staff maintain strong networks across the industry and have a variety of backgrounds including academia, industry (mid-size and multinational), and government laboratories.

Candidates are hired in to the program as “Student Interns”, then are expected to complete established safety and technical trainings to receive promotion to “Junior Student Technician” or “Senior Student Technician”. Students at these levels receive higher pay and additional responsibility including direct management of projects, additional autonomy and schedule flexibility, and training of students at the lower levels.

Students will generally be assigned to work primarily with one permanent staff member, but will have opportunities for rotation and additional experiences. We will do our best to assign projects based on interest, but current projects in the facility will dictate priorities. Both facilities operate year-round, so preference is given to students who are able to work over typical break periods, particularly over Summer break where ISFP production occurs. A minimum of 10 hours per week (no greater than 20) is required during the semester, but additional hours are typically possible over break periods.

Applications from Freshmen through Juniors are accepted any time, but hiring is completed based upon program needs. The major hiring cohorts are most often completed at the beginning of the the Spring and Fall semesters.

Undergraduate & Graduate Internships for Credit

Independent Study courses are available to students who are interested in receiving credit for their work in the Pilot Plant.

ABE 497 is available for undergraduate students and ABE 597 is available for graduate students (similar independent study courses available in other disciplines). One or two credit hours can be taken for either course, but each student interested in credit must schedule a meeting to discuss expectations with Dr. Beth Conerty.

In general, students receiving course credit will be given ownership of a specific project for the duration of the semester. Students will also step in to assist with industry projects brought into either pilot plant facility in order to gain experience interacting with clients, running industry trials, and operating pilot-scale equipment.

For more information about receiving credit, please email Dr. Beth Conerty at bconerty@illinois.edu.

Learning Assistants

This is a structured program for FSHN students in the Spring semester of their Sophomore year, and is dependent upon funding availability from their respective endowments.