The NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) has many internships available for Summer 2021. Click here for current listings.
For an undergraduate, an internship is a great way to get involved in the field and learn more about possible career paths. Students who are interested can also earn up to 6 hours of upper division academic credit by enrolling in EBIO 3930. According to several sources, internships have many benefits that can jump-start your career; it's been found that internships are the number one and number two benefits seen in candidates' job applications. Plus, interns are more likely to be engaged in their studies and succeed in completing their degrees.
EBIO majors often find internships with government agencies, non-profits, commercial research and consulting firms, or animal welfare organizations. Many internships grant salaries to their hires, but some do not. Either way, elective course credit can be given for an appropriate internship, and unlike other for-credit classes, EBIO 3930 has no enrollment deadline (although tuition will be billed; see below).
Students are expected to find and secure their own internship positions, but EBIO's Internship Coordinator Dr. Harrison Carpenter can be contacted for advice and suggestions. You can help Dr. Carpenter by telling him about you and you interests in an email. Think of some answers to questions like these:
- During what semester could I undertake an internship?
- How many credit hours should I look for?
- How many hours/week would I be available?
- How willing/able am I to commute outside of the Boulder area?
- What types of skills do I have that prepare me for an internship? (GIS, research methods, good writing ability, etc.)?
- What would I like to learn in your internship?
To receive EBIO credit an internship experience, the position must relate to the study and/or applications of science. Be sure to visit CU Career Services to search available internships and receive emails when new internship positions open! A list of open internships can be found on this page, on the internship page at the biology advising website, on the EBIO Club's Facebook page, and on a board outside Dr. Carpenter's office (the EBIO Writing Lab, Ketchum 1B82). Feel free to come by, look at the postings and talk with Dr. Carpenter.
For the latest opportunites in Colorado (and elsewhere), see the broad lists of opportunities from CU's Biology Advising office, the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Pathways to Science, the Student Conservation Association, and Plantae; the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University produce regularly updated lists as well.
If you're housed within the Boulder area, note that organizations along the Front Range frequently hire interns:
The Denver Zoo is an 80-acre facility located within Denver’s City Park, and affiliated with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It houses species from all over the world, including hoofed mammals, carnivorous mammals, primates, pachyderms, birds, reptiles, and fish. The zoo’s animal collection contains more than 4,000 specimens representing over 600 species. Within the areas of Animal Care and Animal Behavior, the zoo offers both paid and unpaid internships throughout the year.
Interns work alongside aquarium professionals, gaining knowledge through hands-on career experience. Interns will assist aquarium staff with the various duties in each department, and will develop and conduct an Independent Project under the guidance of an intern supervisor. Topics will be chosen based on area of interest balanced with aquarium needs. Once the topic of interest is defined, interns will develop the project, write a project report and give an oral presentation to aquarium staff. Volunteer positions are always available; formal paid internships can be found on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums website.
The NEON is a continental-scale ecological observation facility, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle, that gathers and provides data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON is designed to collect high-quality, standardized data from 81 field sites (47 terrestrial and 34 aquatic) across the US Data collection methods are standardized across sites and include in situ instrument measurements, field sampling and airborne remote sensing. Field sites are strategically selected to represent different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. NEON data and resources are freely available to enable users to tackle scientific questions at scales not accessible to previous generations of ecologists. The Battelle-NEON headquarters is in Boulder, and supports interns every Summer.
Founded in 1995, Butterfly Pavilion was created by the Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium as the first stand-alone non-profit invertebrate zoo in the nation. Home to literally thousands of butterflies, Butterfly Pavilion is a 30,000 square foot facility situated on an 11-acre campus provided by the City of Westminster. As a publicly supported facility, Butterfly Pavilion is primarily supported by admission fees, community support and by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Their aim is to foster an appreciation of invertebrates while educating the public about the importance of conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world.
Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to the rehabilitation and release of wildlife. Since opening in 1982, Greenwood has become the largest wildlife rehabilitation center of this kind in Colorado. Rehabilitating over 100 species of orphaned, injured and sick wildlife, Greenwood cares for between 2,000 and 3,000 animals every year. Internships provide hands-on experience teaching skills such as handling techniques, cleaning and sterilization procedures, habitat enrichment, diets, food preparation, and feeding methods, and treatment procedures.
Since 1982, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program (RMRP) has served the northern Colorado community through rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured birds of prey. Working with veterinary experts, specially trained volunteers provide all aspects of raptor care, ranging from compassionate medical care to constructing cages that serve as temporary homes for recovering birds. RMRP seeks to inspire the protection and appreciation of raptors and the spaces where they live through rehabilitation, education and research, admitting approximately 300 raptors each year.
Internship opportunities throughout the US (and the world!) can be found on websites maintained by:
- American Zoo and Aquarium Association
- Conservation Jobs Board
- Environmental Careers Organization
- Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP)
- Long-Term Ecological Research Network
- Ornithological Societies of North America
- Society for Conservation Biology
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- US Geological Survey
- US National Park Service
Enrolling in EBIO 3930
Once you've secured an internship position, you may enroll in EBIO 3930 (Internship) for 1-6 hours of credit; credits count toward EBIO electives. For each 40 hours of internship work, you can be granted 1 hour of course credit (i.e., 40-79 hours of internship work = 1 hour of course credit; 80-119 hours of internship work = 2 hours of course credit, etc.). EBIO 3930 is graded Pass (P) or Fail (F). If your internship overlaps a break between semesters, you should enroll during the semester in which your internship begins; you will be given a grade of Incomplete (I) for that semester and a final grade will be given after your internship has concluded. Regardless of the dates upon which an internship begins/concludes, if you enroll during Summer you may not see a grade until the end of Term D (mid-August). During your internship, you may be asked to submit periodic brief reports; on conclusion, you'll be required to either write a brief, academically formal paper or construct a poster, to tell of your experience.
To qualify, you must have completed a minimum of 9 credit hours from EBIO classes (or comparable classes from other science departments); your overall GPA must be >2.00 and your GPA in EBIO classes must be >2.50. You also must have been hired before you can apply for credit. No retroactive credit can be given for previous internship experience, even if that experience was with your current employer. Internship credits from other institutions do not transfer. To ensure there is no conflict of interest, a faculty member or institute researcher supervising the student’s work is not permitted to sponsor the internship. If a student is interning out of the country, they must contact Education Abroad.
To apply, contact Dr. Carpenter, describing your position. If the position is suitable for EBIO 3930 credit, you will be sent an electronic Application for Course Credit and accompanying Internship Agreement via DocuSign. In the application, you will be asked to provide a range of information about the position and your work:
- Position Description. Describe the nature of your position and/or your duties. What will be the most substantive aspects of your position? What will you do the majority of the time?
- Educational Relevance. What do you hope to learn from this experience? How will the position help you grow as a science major?
- Learning Activities. Describe, in detail, the academic work that you will do in conjunction with your internship (i.e.,analysis, data collection, etc.); the reflective learning activities you will engage in during your internship (i.e., reporting, writing, etc.); and the final report you will give to your Faculty Sponsor (i.e., narrative, poster, etc.) All information can help your Faculty Sponsor see the intellectual rigor of your position.
Provide the requested information, and include your signature as well as your Supervisor’s name and contact information. After you submit the application, it will be sent to your Supervisor for signature.
Are You Looking for Interns?
If you're employed by a government entity, conservation group, research agency or employer, and are seeking undergraduate interns with preparation/experience in the biological sciences, please contact Harrison Carpenter at email@example.com.