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Science Writing Internships

Young woman in blue jacket and sunglasses measuring a tree stem in a marsh
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.

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 typically offered 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 Goodhue (goodhuek@si.edu).

Updates for Summer 2022: We are still solidifying plans regarding on-site and remote aspects of the summer 2022 internship program, including whether we will offer both science writing internships or only the 11-week summer internship. Last summer, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center ran a combination of remote, on-site and hybrid internships. We were unable to provide on-site housing for students in summer 2021, in accordance with COVID-19 safety precautions, so interns who worked on site commuted to SERC multiple days a week. Please check this page frequently, as we will update it when more information becomes available.

Summer Science Writing Internship (Virtual)

Mentor: Kristen Goodhue (science writer)
Deadline: February 15, 2022
Stipend:
$600/week
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. 

To apply:
Apply online through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments system (SOLAA). 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. Put these 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. Multimedia samples should be included as links in the Personal Statement, or as attachments in an email to Kristen Goodhue. Total length of all writing samples should be no more than 10 double-spaced pages. Contact Kristen Goodhue (goodhuek@si.edu) if you have any questions about pieces to submit. She gets these questions often, and is happy to help!

Pro tip for applicants: Don't just talk about your past experience. Show us how this internship would give you something new! Smithsonian internships are meant to be learning experiences, especially for students who have had fewer opportunities outside of schoolwork. Let your application reviewers know how this experience would benefit you beyond another line on a resume.

Tips for applying on SOLAA (because we know it's confusing):

1.    Register at the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments system (SOLAA).
2.    Once you have set up an account, click the yellow Start Your Application button.
3.    Under Program Category, Choose Internship. Under Office/Museum/Research Center drop-down menu, select Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Click the blue Search button.
4.    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Internship Program will appear under the search results. Choose the green Apply Now button.
5.    After completing the first few pages of the application (personal and academic info), you'll reach a section called "Program Choices." You can choose up to 3 labs/programs to apply for at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
6.    In the Personal Statement/Essay portion of the application, write your statement and then copy your writing samples underneath it. At least one writing sample must be written. If you have any multimedia samples you wish to include, either copy links to them or email them as attachments to Kristen Goodhue (goodhuek@si.edu)

Coast-to-Coast Science Writing Internship
(Summer-Fall, Virtual)

Note to applicants: We are still awaiting confirmation on whether funding will be available for the coast-to-coast internship in 2022. If offered, the deadline would be no earlier than Feb. 15, 2022. We will post details as soon as they are available, so check back frequently for updates! 

Mentors: Kristen Goodhue (science writer), Andy Chang (marine biologist)
Duration: 18 weeks (May/June to September/October)

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 Goodhue. 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 Goodhue 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 Goodhue (goodhuek@si.edu) 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.