For an EBIO major, an internship is a great way to get involved in the field and learn more about possible career paths. According to several sources 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 can grant course credits when you're currently employed in a position that's connected with your major. This can be any paid and non-paid position associated with life sciences, including working in industry, natural resources conservation, non-profit organizations, wildlife rehabilitation/reintroduction, STEM outreach/education, and for assisting life science faculty and graduate students in lab/field research. You can receive up to 6 EBIO upper-division elective credits via enrollment in EBIO 3930 (Internship).
Applying for EBIO 3930 Enrollment
After you've been hired, you can apply for enrollment in EBIO 3930 if you've completed >9 course credits from EBIO classes; your GPA in classes must be >2.50 and your overall GPA must be >2.00. 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. EBIO 3930's enrollment deadline is extended well beyond a semester's drop/add deadline to the 10th week of Fall and Spring Semesters, and the 6th week of Summer Session D, so you can apply for enrollment even if you're hired after those deadlines.
Enrolling in EBIO 3930 requires submitting a formal application and securing the department's permission. Key information you'll need to provide when applying includes written responses to the following prompts:
- 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 most 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, and a scientist in your field?
- 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 at the end of your internship (i.e., narrative, poster, etc.). All information can help the department see the intellectual rigor of your position.
To help your application be successful, you should write responses to these prompts and email those to EBIO Internship Coordinator Dr. Harrison Carpenter for review and feedback. If the responses fill the department’s requests, your application will be submitted electronically.
The formal application requires you to tell how many EBIO 3930 course credits you're requesting. You may enroll for 1-6 course credits, based upon your hours of work time in your internship. For every 40 hours of work time, you can request 1 course credit (i.e., 40-79 hours of work time = 1 course credit; 80-119 hours of work time = 2 course credits, 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.
How to Find Internships Across the US
Although applying for open internships is up to you, Dr. Carpenter can be contacted for advice/assistance in searching. Dr. Carpenter regularly receives advertisements for open positions, and posts them on a board outside his office (the EBIO Writing Lab, Ketchum 1B82).
To find an internship on your own, you can visit webpages from CU's Biology Advising office, Pathways to Science, the Student Conservation Association, and Plantae; the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University produce regularly updated lists as well. Subscribing to the Society for Conservation Biology's job announcements can tell about open internships as well as full-time, post-graduation caeer opportunites. In addition, internships are regularly advertised by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Conservation Jobs Board, Intern Abroad HQ, Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP), Long-Term Ecological Research Network, Society for Conservation Biology, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey and US National Park Service.
The National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program offers hundreds of internships every Summer. For some more information about how REUs work and some suggestions for writing a letter of application, click here.
Currently Accepting Applications
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.
Environment for the Americas' internship program is geared toward connecting diverse people who are passionate about engaging others in natural resources, guiding young people into careers in the sciences and conservation, bird conservation, and education. Learn about the programs and positions available by visiting their internship opportunities webpage.
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.
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.