The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Scholars Program offers stipend-paid summer internship opportunities to undergraduate- and graduate-level university students as well as upper-level high school students who are pursuing or plan to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Internships through the AFRL Scholars Program are currently offered through the Directed Energy, Space Vehicles, and Munitions Directorates of AFRL with locations at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Maui, Hawaii. Throughout their internships, AFRL Scholars gain valuable hands-on experience working with full-time AFRL scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research and technology. Overall, the selected interns are able to contribute to unique, research-based projects which often contain a strong emphasis in optics and photonics. This paper celebrates the continued success of the AFRL Scholars Program and shares a statistical overview of its growth over the past few years. In particular, the analysis focuses on how these STEM-related internships will hopefully meet the needs of an aging AFRL workforce in the years to come. This paper also provides an overview of two optics and photonics related internships at the undergraduate and graduate levels, respectively. Both interns received the Outstanding AFRL Scholar Award in their respective categories and are currently pursuing careers in optics and photonics based on their experiences as AFRL Scholars.