Science Writing Internships
Former science writing intern Sarah Hansen
SERC's science writing internships are for anyone who loves learning about science and crafting stories to explain it! As a SERC science writing intern, you'll interact with Smithsonian scientists, interns and educators. Your work will appear on SERC's Shorelines blog and in SERC's On The Edge print newsletter. You'll also gain social media experience, creating posts for SERC's Facebook (@Smithsonian.SERC), Twitter (@SmithsonianEnv) and Instagram (@smithsonianenvironment) accounts.
For summer 2021, SERC plans to hold internships virtually. Conversion to on-campus internships will depend on the status of COVID-19 in Maryland, California and the general U.S. SERC's science writing internships are open to undergraduate students, master's students and recent graduates up to one year after graduation.
Learn more about our two 2021 science writing internships below. Applicants may apply to both, as long as they meet the student/recent grad eligibility requirements and are available to work for the full duration of the internships. Questions? Contact SERC science writer Kristen Minogue (email@example.com).
Summer Science Writing Internship (Virtual)
Mentor: Kristen Minogue (science writer)
Deadline: February 15, 2021
Duration: 11 weeks
Start Date: Flexible, mid-May to mid-June
The summer science writing intern will gain experience with all facets of SERC communication. Main priorities include interviewing research scientists and interns, reading new scientific studies and writing blog pieces about the latest SERC projects and discoveries. Other responsibilities include creating content for social media, helping produce the On The Edge print newsletter and updating the SERC website.
Desired Qualifications: Strong scientific background (some natural science coursework; not required to be a science major) and a flair for writing about science for a nonscientific audience.
Apply online through the SOLAA portal. The 11-week summer science writing internship requires two letters of reference. For the science writing internship, the application must also include one to three writing samples explaining science in a public-friendly way in the essay/personal statement portion of the application. Writing samples can include school papers, student newspaper articles or pieces you've written for a personal blog—anything that tells a story about science in a nontechnical, engaging way! Multimedia pieces are also welcome, as long as at least one of the samples is written. Total length of all writing samples should be no more than 10 double-spaced pages. Contact Kristen Minogue (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about pieces to submit.
Tips for applying on SOLAA (because we know it's confusing): First, register at the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments system (SOLAA). Once you have set up an account, click "Start Your Application" and select "Smithsonian Environmental Research Center" from the Office/Museum/Research Center drop-down menu. "Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Internship Program" will then appear under the search results. Click the green "Apply Now" button. After completing the first few pages of the application, you'll reach a section called "Program Choices." You can choose up to 3 programs to work with at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Choose "Science Writing And Communications" to be considered for the summer science writing internship.
Coast-to-Coast Science Writing Internship
Mentors: Kristen Minogue (science writer), Andy Chang (marine biologist)
Deadline: Feb. 15, 2021
Duration: 18 weeks (May/June to September/October)
Start Date: Between May 4 and June 8
The coast-to-coast science writing intern works for 18 weeks, from summer through mid-autumn, covering the work of SERC scientists in the center's Maryland and California branches. For the first four to six weeks, the intern will learn the basics of SERC communication by focusing on stories in SERC's Maryland headquarters on Chesapeake Bay, under the mentorship of SERC Science Writer Kristen Minogue. Once familiar with SERC's social media and other communication channels, the intern will switch focus to SERC's California branch on San Francisco Bay, a.k.a. SERC-West.
SERC-West is based at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center, a marine field station at San Francisco State University's Romberg Tiburon Campus. The marine biologists of SERC-West work in San Francisco Bay and along the Pacific Coast studying invasive species, oyster restoration and other critical conservation issues. The coast-to-coast intern will act as the main point of contact for SERC-West communications, writing about SERC’s West Coast scientists and pitching stories to California media outlets. While covering SERC-West stories, the intern will continue to receive guidance from Kristen Minogue and additional mentorship from SERC-West marine biologist Andy Chang.
Desired Qualifications: Strong scientific background (some natural sciences coursework; not required to be a science major) and a flair for writing about science for a nonscientific audience.
Apply by Email (not through SOLAA): Send a cover letter, resume with references (name, title and contact information) and unofficial transcript(s) to ScienceWritingIntern@si.edu by 11:59 Pacific Standard Time Monday, February 15, 2021. One to three writing samples explaining science for general readers are also essential to include for the application to be considered. Writing samples can include school papers, student newspaper articles or pieces you've written for a personal blog—anything that tells a story about science in a nontechnical, engaging way! Multimedia pieces are also welcome, as long as at least one of the samples is written. Total length of all writing samples should be no more than 10 double-spaced pages. Contact Kristen Minogue (email@example.com) if you have any questions about pieces to submit.
The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, martial/parental/caregiver status, and disability. The community at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to this position. As such, while candidates must meet the minimum qualifications related to education and student/alum eligibility for Smithsonian internships, we will be looking for candidates who possess many, but not necessarily all, of the skills and experiences listed above.