Interns & Fellows

Public Engagement

Click on the tabs below to learn about each project! 

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall 
Project Supervisor: Dr. Alison Cawood, Citizen Science Coordinator 

Citizen science is the active participation of volunteers in scientific research. It can take the form of collecting data, working alongside researchers in the lab and the field, and communicating project results. At SERC, citizen scientists engage in projects ranging from archaeology to invasive species research. Citizen science project coordination involves a wide range of activities, including volunteer recruitment, training, and management, communicating the methods and results of SERC citizen science projects to volunteers and to members of the public orally and in writing, working with scientists to identify roles for volunteers in their research, and tracking the progress of ongoing citizen science projects.

Internship: The citizen science intern will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of citizen science projects, involving a variety of labs and topics, over the course of the internship. Responsibilities will include working with adult and student volunteers in the field, participating in volunteer training activities, creating content for the citizen science project webpages, and working with partner organizations to implement citizen science activities.

Desired Qualifications: Interest in citizen science, science outreach, science communication, or science education. Strong communication (written and oral) and interpersonal skills. Strong scientific background (college-level coursework in natural sciences), although the applicant does not have to be a science major. Willingness and ability to work in field conditions in hot weather. Teaching and/or volunteer management experience is a plus.

Season: Spring ,Summer ,Fall 
Project Supervisor: Karen McDonald, Education Program Coordinator

The Education Department is challenged with interpreting and disseminating Smithsonian environmental research findings to a wide range of audiences including K-12 students and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, professionals, and the general public. Interns play an integral role in helping staff develop and implement activities, programs, guide books, workbooks, web pages, and interactive video conferences. Applicants interested in education internships should feel comfortable talking to small and large groups of people. Interns are given opportunities to learn content material pertaining to ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and basin and are trained in teaching methods. Desire to be an informal environmental science instructor using canoes and boats, and/or trails and docks is a must.

Interns will be instructed on procedures within the Education Deptartment and be expected to complete safety training. Interns will be assessed on their ability to work as a team member in the Department, demonstrate program leadership, and show responsibility in student supervision. 

Desirable: Applicants majoring in environmental education or environmental science.

Summer Internship (Maryland)
Project Supervisor: Kristen Minogue, Science Writer 

Deadline:  February 15, 2017

The science writing internship is for anyone who loves learning about science and sharing it with nonscientists. Communications at SERC covers a wide range of activities: media outreach, Web updates, newsletters, social media and blogging. In addition to pitching stories to mainstream media outlets, the communications desk also keeps in touch with the larger Smithsonian communications offices on the Mall. It manages the look and content of the SERC homepage ( and the Shorelines blog, which hosts stories on the research and discoveries of SERC scientists. It also maintains social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter (@SmithsonianEnv), Tumblr and Instagram. Its main product, the Shorelines newsletter, highlights the most important stories from SERC scientists and educators every spring, summer and fall.

Internship: The science writing intern will gain experience with all facets of SERC communication. Main priorities include going out in the field with research scientists and interns, taking photos and writing blog pieces about their projects. Other responsibilities include working with the SERC communications officer to manage SERC’s social media accounts, produce the summer newsletter and update the SERC website. The intern will also gain exposure to the wider world of Smithsonian communications through monthly meetings on the Mall.

Desired Qualifications: Strong scientific background (natural sciences coursework; not required to be a science major) and skill writing about science for a nonscientific audience. One to three published or unpublished writing samples explaining science for general readers are essential to include with the essay part of the application. Ability to use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint) required; familiarity with photo editing software, Wordpress and HTML a plus.

To apply:
Apply online through the SOLAA portal. For the science writing internship, writing samples must be included in the essay portion of the application. View full instructions in our FAQs.