Resource Spotlight: National Park Service Internship Programs

On Top of the World

Last summer, I took a big summer trip to Yosemite National Park. It was incredible, so much so that I began to plan for a return trip immediately after I got home. I found out a few weeks ago that I will be vacationing there again this upcoming summer, this time traveling through their High Sierra Camps. I am super excited!

Before last summer’s trip, I highlighted the Student Conservation Association (SCA), an excellent resource for finding internship opportunities with the National Park Service, with whom they are a partner. However, the SCA isn’t the only resource for finding opportunities to work with in our national parks.

  • Many internships/jobs for students are filled at the park level. If there is a national park that you are really interested in working for, contact them directly. Might I suggest Yosemite 😉
  • You can seek opportunities through the federal government’s Student Educational Employment Program. There are two programs under this umbrella, the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP). To find positions, visit and USAJobs. Again, you can also contact parks directly. If you are eligible for STEP or SCEP, let them know.
  • Since UW-Whitewater has both MBA and MPA programs, I should mention the National Parks Business Plan Internship. Up to 15 summer “consultants” are brought on board. The students are grouped into teams of two to three and are assigned to work at one of our national parks. The consultants work with park management to conduct financial and strategy analysis. Transportation to the training session, to the park, and from the park back home are covered. Plus, summer consultants receive a weekly stipend AND are provided with housing.
  • Perfect for history and public history majors is the Historic Preservation Internship Training Program. Notice for Summer 2011 positions will be put out in January. There is also the Heritage Documentation Programs, which offer work to students in documenting historic sites and structures of architectural, landscape, and technological significance throughout the country.
  • The Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program is open to diverse undergraduate and graduate students. Interns are placed in opportunities for historic preservation and cultural resources work. These summer internships include a Career Workshop in Washington, DC, a weekly stipend, and housing allowance.

If you are at all interested in working for the National Park Service, you have a ton of resources available to find that perfect internship. Hope to see you out there!

Internship Link Roundup for the Week of November 1

An Internship Isn’t Rocket Science. Or Is It?

Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking to students in the class Frontiers of Engineering & Physics (Physics 190). The course focuses on career paths and opportunities in engineering and physics. I talked about the changing nature of the workplace and what employers seek in potential employees as well as how to enhance their marketability for internships and jobs.

Physics students could pursue a variety of career paths, from direct science fields – space & earth sciences, environmental science, computer science – to non-technical fields such as law, business, journalism, and science communication. Work could be found in education (K-12 or college/university), the government, in hospitals and medical centers, and even with non-profit organizations.

So what kinds of internship opportunities might a physics major pursue? Here are some examples.


  • Abbott offers opportunities in engineering as part of their US Internship Program. Interns might work on instrument development, manufacturing support, and systems design. Abbott’s corporate headquarters is about 40 miles north of Chicago, close to the WI/IL border.
  • Further to the north, find Lockheed Martin in Eagan, MN. At this location, your internship could involve engineering-related work (computer, industrial, electrical, mechanical, or systems) with Maritime Systems & Sensors or Transportation & Security Solutions. Even though you might find opportunities in Minnesota, there are opportunities throughout the US. Interns receive mentoring and coaching from experienced professionals, and they do real work.


  • Argonne National Laboratory is a major research center for the US Department of Energy just outside of Chicago. Argonne offers internships during the fall, spring, and summer in physical/life sciences, math, computer science, and engineering research programs. There are also applied research programs relating to energy, conservation, nanomaterials, and national security. The positions are paid and participants are provided with housing.
  • Want to get away from Wisconsin? Head out to California to intern with another Department of Energy lab, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They offer 8-10 week summer internships in radiation detection, optical imaging, astrophysics, nuclear physics, high energy density physics, plasma physics and fusion energy for undergraduate or graduate students.


  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) through the US National Science Foundation is a well-know and respected program. Undergraduate researchers work as a team of around 10 at a host institution. Each student works closely with a faculty mentor on a specific research project. Student researchers earn stipends and often receive assistance with housing and travel. REU sites are all over the US, including several UW institutions. Interested students can search for opportunities by discipline, area of research, and/or by state.

Finally, no matter the physics-related path chosen, involvement in UW-Whitewater’s Undergraduate Research Program is an excellent opportunity for experience. Working with a faculty mentor and participating in UW-W’s Undergraduate Research Day, UW System Symposium, and/or the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) also offer ample opportunities to build your network.

Find information on more programs and resources for internships in STEM fields in our Find an Internship section online.

Photo by Hash Milhan

Resource Spotlight: The Student Conservation Association

Yosemite Valley

Last week was Spring Break here at UW-Whitewater. The campus was, of course, extremely quiet as students enjoyed their trips either to home or to someplace more exotic. I wasn’t traveling but was here at work, dreaming of my upcoming vacation to Yosemite National Park. This will be my first visit to a national park and a huge boost to my budding outdoorsy interests.

I realize that I might be new to this nature-loving lifestyle, but others have grown up with it. If you are one of those people or if, like me, you’re new to adventurous living, check out The Student Conservation Association (SCA). Since 1957, the SCA has been placing volunteers in conservation service opportunities. The SCA has grown to include several different programs, one of which is SCA Internships.

SCA Internships are available in many fields. There are the obvious environmental opportunities, but there are also positions working with design, historical resources, and technology. The SCA offers opportunities is all 50 states and provides a living stipend, housing, and travel costs.

The following are some examples of internships through the SCA:

To learn more about the SCA, visit their website: Search for internships at You can also follow the SCA on Twitter at @the_sca and @SCAInternships.

I know I’ll be a fan of the Wildlife Management Intern in Yosemite. Anyone working to reduce human and bear conflicts in Yosemite this June is a friend of mine!

Yosemite National Park photo by irene.

Bear photo by Ed Coyle Photography

It’s Internship Search Season!


Welcome back UW-W students! Are you all ready for the spring semester? Ready to start the search for the “perfect” summer internship? ‘Tis the season!

I’m going to use this first post of the spring semester to give an overview of some new resources and upcoming events to help you in your quest to find an internship.

  • UWW Internship Week, March 1-4
    • I’ll be pounding the pavement to promote all of the UWW internship resources, answer your internship questions, and provide guidance for your search. I’ll be running an Internship Search Bootcamp on Monday, March 1 and will be hosting Internship Outposts in various locations around campus throughout the week. FYI – there will be prizes involved! Stay tuned to the Student Internships Blog and Twitter for more information.
  • More Field-Specific Resources
  • Intern Spotlight
    • The Intern Spotlight feature on the blog started late last semester and will continue this semester. I’m so glad to have finally added this feature – the insight and advice provided by current and past UWW interns is amazing! If you didn’t see the Spotlights from last semester, be sure to check them out: Michael Van Den Bosch ’08 and Danielle Calkins ’10. If you have or had an internship experience and think that other students could benefit from your story, please email me a brief synopsis of your internship story to be considered for a future Intern Spotlight.

I’m really excited about the semester ahead! I know the internship search can be challenging, so please let me know how I can assist you in the process. Have a great spring semester!

Photo by David Pfeffer ( / CC BY 2.0)