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Education >> Summer Internship Program

Summer Internship Program

HSyE's Summer Internship Program provides hands-on experiences for industrial and systems engineering students and faculty across the country. Work spans applied and research problems with 60+ local healthcare facilities affiliated with our federally-funded centers. Despite the renewed national interest in applying industrial systems engineering to healthcare problems, most can only be improved by those familiar with healthcare.


This experiential education program is intended to bridge that gap. Accepted summer fellows join ongoing projects and gain experience applying systems engineering methods to a variety of healthcare problems. Participants explore their interests over the 8-12 week summer program working on projects developed by industry partners.

Program Value

Many graduates of our program continue working on discovered problems as part of their research, and embark on successful healthcare industrial engineering careers. For Northeastern, the program has led to increased visibility, stronger local relationships, research collaborations, and numerous co-publications and grant proposals. For participating students and health systems, the annual increase in applications and project requests with zero advertising by the program is further evidence of its value.

In-Service Schedule

A hallmark of the summer internship program is the one-hour in-service lectures, held 3 days a week every week of the program. One day focuses on engineering concepts, another day focuses on methods and skills, and the last day focuses on healthcare.

Click below for an example of a past in-service schedule.

Timeline and Logistics

Program location

Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Internship period

May 29th - August 17th, 12 weeks


On and off campus options available

Hiring Process

Accepted interns will be required to complete HR paperwork for Northeastern University and provide necessary documentation for onboarding at area health systems. This includes immunization records, and a negative TB test within the last 3 months.

Past Project Examples

Readmission statistical process control

Design and develop end-user templates which implement the desired Statistical Process Control methods and help quickly detect improvement in readmission rates.

Real time locating systems

Improve utilization of data from the RFID/IR real-time locating system which Dana Farber Cancer Institute implemented in January 2011. See the project summary.

Physician assistant staffing

Provide a tool to a neurosurgery department that would evaluate Physician's Assistant (PA) workload and create an optimal PA staffing model. See the project summary.

On call rooms assessment

To gain an understanding of how the rooms are utilized and identify areas of greater demand to reallocate unused space accordingly. See the project summary.

Medical facility planning

Develop new medical facility layouts through queuing and simulation modeling

Network analysis

To characterize existing improvement networks in terms of their contentedness, vitality, formal and informal communities, and other metrics used in social network analysis. See the project summary.

Patient flow

To prepare reliable input for architecture design and layout planning for the new Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary building, and this way create adequate spaces for services in the new building. See the project summary.


Determine if the facility design at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary provides optimal flow for patients in the lobby area and monitoring potential areas for queue bottlenecks. See the project summary.

Past Program Overviews

2014 Program Overview - Part 1

2014 Program Overview - Part 2

2014 Program Overview - Director's Reflections


"I never imaged one summer could so powerfully influence and prepare me for what I'm now certain I want my career focus to be."

Spencer Barrett

2014 Summer Intern

"Having Elena join our team over the summer was fantastic. She brought enthusiasm to data analysis and was creative and skillful in her work. Elena was able to easily jump into our team's projects such as conducting a value stream mapping event and brought value immediately."

Sarah Kadish, Director Process Improvement

Dana Farber Cancer Institute

"Sabrina did great work for us. Her work gave us a much better understanding of the room utilization. She provided and organized the data to move the initiative to use these rooms more appropriately along. Sabrina was a bright, cheerful, and willing intern. The final product was exactly what we needed and she left us with the tools to modify the model as things change at our organization and/or if we want to test different scenarios."

Janet Razulis, Brigham & Women's Hospital

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