Published on
Jul 2, 2024

Parallax Advanced Research and the Ohio Aerospace Institute are non-profit research organizations dedicated to advancing the nation’s innovative advantage. One shining example of how our enterprise does this is through an internship program. This program serves as a gateway for students to gain practical experience in their fields while simultaneously shaping the next generation of leaders.

Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. At its core, our internship program aims to nurture talent by providing hands-on experience with real-world projects. Interns are integrated into teams led by experienced professionals who guide and mentor them throughout their tenure. This mentorship not only enhances technical skills but also instills a deep understanding of the enterprise’s mission and impact within the community.  

Erica Curtis, a human factors researcher at Parallax Advanced Research, started as a research intern and during her internship not only gained professional research experience but also found her niche. Erica describes that what led her to discovering her passion was, “being able to meet so many people with so many different backgrounds. I was able to see the different career paths that were taken by other researchers and decided to switch my major to human factors engineering, something I had not thought of before. I also love my job. I get to do so many cool things and get paid for it. My team is extremely encouraging, they want me to be the best version of myself. Them believing in me and being so encouraging continues to push me to do different types of projects still to this day.” Erica has her master’s degree in human factors engineering and begins her Ph.D. program this coming August.

Erica Headshot


One of the distinguishing features of internship programs is the integration of practical applications and knowledge with theory learned in the classroom in a professional setting. Parallax and OAI interns work on real-world projects in their respective fields, whether it’s financial analysis, developing software, or conducting groundbreaking research. This hands-on approach not only sharpens the student’s technical abilities but also fosters a sense of responsibility and purpose, helping to further prepare the student for the workforce.  

Megan Schimmoller is a former human resource intern with Parallax. When asked what opportunities during her internship helped advance her career, she replied, “Having real world experience before graduating. I gained experience recruiting and conducting phone screens, sat in manager level interviews, created interview guides, and was able to work with an applicant tracking system (ATS) before I graduated. I was also able to work in a human resources information system (HRIS), which led me to see how much I like the HRIS part of HR. I felt I had a smooth transition to my full-time role.” Megan was brought on as a full-time employee following graduation. She is on her fourth year with Parallax, in total, and is a human resource generalist now managing the recruiting and onboarding program she began supporting as a student.  

Megan's headshot


Collaboration is a core value at Parallax. Interns are encouraged to collaborate not only with their peers but also across departments and with external partners. Parallax offers cross-training opportunities that help student interns not only gain a better understanding of Parallax departments, but also the associated career paths that make up each, allowing students to expand their interests, skills, and knowledge. A favorite example of how successful a cross-training program can be involving a former Parallax executive administrative intern who discovered a love of government contracting because of cross-training with the contracts team. That intern started as a contract’s administrator and is now a deputy program manager. Connecting students with their passions and watching them continue to thrive within the community is an amazing part of a successful internship program.

Beyond technical skills, the internship program at Parallax emphasizes the importance of personal and professional development. Like a full-time employee, development dollars can be utilized by interns to attend conferences, seminars, earn certifications, and more. Interns can participate in the Parallax retirement program earning a company match learning financial responsibility and planning. Resources are also available to learn about paying off school debt and meeting financial goals. With student wellness always at top of mind, Parallax provides the ultimate flexibility for interns to allow a healthy, manageable work and school schedule and overall work life balance.  

Erica was asked to describe her internship experience, “I’m grateful and lucky that my supervisor and I had a great relationship (and still do), and I was able to use skills I was learning in school directly with work. The hours were flexible with school, and I was encouraged to take time off. If needed, the team would lighten my workload. Moments when I was unsure of myself, as we all sometimes feel during school, everyone was so encouraging and kept me going.”  

As employee wellness shifts to being a top priority for employers across the country, showing interns the importance of their own wellbeing is essential.  

The Parallax Advanced Research and Ohio Aerospace Institute internship program demonstrates the transformative power of diverse hands-on experience, mentorship, and encouragement. As we continue to inspire and empower future generations of leaders, our internship program serves as a testament to the impact of investing in the talent preparing to enter the workforce and nurturing their potential to shape a brighter future for us all.


About Parallax Advanced Research & The Ohio Aerospace Institute  

Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit research institute that tackles global challenges through strategic partnerships with government, industry, and academia. It accelerates innovation, addresses critical global issues, and develops groundbreaking ideas with its partners. With offices in Ohio and Virginia, Parallax aims to deliver new solutions and speed them to market. In 2023, Parallax and the Ohio Aerospace Institute formed a collaborative affiliation to drive innovation and technological advancements in Ohio and for the nation. The Ohio Aerospace Institute plays a pivotal role in advancing the aerospace industry in Ohio and the nation by fostering collaborations between universities, aerospace industries, and government organizations, and managing aerospace research, education, and workforce development projects. More information on both organizations can be found at Parallax and OAI websites.