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GRADUATING STUDENTS AND INTERNSHIPS

SPA offers talented undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to apply their analytical and technical skills to challenging projects within a corporate culture that fosters learning and growth.

During an internship, you will gain valuable experience while performing interesting work that supports national security decision makers with timely and objective assessments.

U.S. citizenship required. Successful candidates will be subject to a security investigation, must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information, and also meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree (or higher level) program at an accredited college/university and have completed at least your sophomore year.
  • Pursuing a degree in the following areas: Operations Research, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, Public Policy, Political Science, National Security or Finance/Accounting.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work well within a team and with little supervision.
  • Have a 3.0/4.0 overall GPA.

Click here to view current internship opportunities.

Testimonials

From Shakespeare to Sources Sought: Becoming an SPA Intern
By Barclay Blankenship, Intern in Corporate Development

Quite often, the general response to the news of my summer internship, whether from family, friends, or college peers, was a response of, “Well…I hope it works out.” Having an internship as a college student generally induces some sort of sympathy from the listener, intermixed with tentative support. Vivid images come to mind of pouring liters of coffee for executives or setting up camp next to the copy machine. In fact, many are genuinely surprised that I’m getting paid. Supporting this reality, a 2014 New York Times piece dishearteningly titled, For Interns, All Work and No Payoff, identified some of the many harsh realities surrounding graduate and post-graduate intern life in the US. However, I am proud to say that at SPA I have only made copies for my own use. As an intern, I am gaining useful experience and feel I am making valuable contributions to the work being done at SPA.

As an English major, I approached my internship with the Corporate Development department with little knowledge of Government policies or contracting in general. I became uneasy, wondering whether I would be able to contribute in a meaningful way. What people fail to tell you about being an intern is that everyone is likely just as horribly nervous as you. It’s easy to make the assumption that everyone knows what they’re doing and you don’t. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Within a short amount of time, I have been exposed to a professional world unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Although somewhat jarring at first, I’m beginning to understand the ebb and flow of an office work day, from the slight morning bustle as people shuffle into the office on Monday morning, to the ritualistic sounds of Diet Cokes being snapped open in the early afternoon. During my first month here, I’ve had the opportunity to help edit responses to Government requests, including a Sources Sought, and help write a proposal outline. Additionally, I have attended group meetings focused on ensuring SPA maintains effective relationships with clients and debating a multitude of strategies for proposal writing and RFP responses.

An internship with SPA is sought-after for a plethora of reasons. Not only does it offer a challenging work experience in a professional environment, but it also provides direct exposure to experienced individuals with extensive knowledge of their professions. Out of 1,907 applications submitted this year, only 26 individuals were chosen as interns for this summer. As I recently learned during an introductory lunch for interns and new employees, an internship at SPA has become harder to land than an acceptance letter from Harvard. As surprising as this was to me, it made sense. Within recent years, the visibility of the company has increased significantly, with SPA receiving more and more intern applications from outside of the Virginia/DC/Maryland area (including mine, sent from a small college town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.) Those applying as interns recognize it could also open the door for a full-time position in the future. This makes an internship opportunity more attractive and competitive than ever before.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Education (NACE) found that almost 50% of college internships are unpaid. Another survey by NACE, which focused on a pool of 20,000 seniors of the 2011 graduating class, showed that those who worked paid internships during college had a significantly higher rate of job offers after graduation compared to those who completed unpaid internships. Basically, we’re the lucky ones.

SPA also surrounds us with welcoming, capable people. Everyone is happy to be here, knowing the work they do is impactful, important to them, and important to others. Friends with different internships have told me their day consists of waiting around for things to do or eating lunch alone in their offices. In contrast, I was welcomed by members of another department to share pizza and conversation on a Friday afternoon. I can’t speak for all interns, but a smile and morning greeting have the power to make a person feel embraced.

Is it possible to prepare for an internship? I recommend finding a balance between researching what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for, and not worrying as much about being unprepared. I’m encouraged by the meaningful work I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute so far, and know the work ethic I’m developing over the summer will leave me with new-found gratitude for my “early” 9am classes.


Commitment to EEO and Affirmative Action

SPA is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action. It is, and will continue to be, the policy of the company to afford equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals. We recruit, hire, train and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, SPA complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

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Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

As provided by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, SPA observes the following:
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information.