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Tips on Finding Geology Internships

written by: Michelle Burton•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 9/15/2010

Geological societies, science clubs, and even museums offer geology internships to promising students across the U.S. To find the right internship, you just have to know where to look, the organization’s requirements and expectations, and when to apply.

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    Purpose of an Internship

    An internship is one of the best ways for students to gain hands-on job experience before graduating from college. The purpose of an internship is to train and help students develop skills related to their career field. Internships are not staff positions, so most are unpaid. Paid internships do exist, but they are extremely competitive and uncommon in today’s economy.

    If you are planning to apply for a paid internship, your grades and academic record must place you at the top of your class. In many cases, unpaid internships may require the same standards, so bring your ‘A’ game.

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    Finding Geology Internships

    When searching for geology internships, the first place to look is your career center or career coordinator’s office. Your career coordinator will have listings for internship opportunities in your local area, across the U.S., and abroad. While your career center can be a valuable tool in your search, it is not the only tool. Your career center also assists the hundreds of other students seeking an internship, so you will have to do some digging on your own.

    The next stop in your search should be school clubs. Check with your school’s geology club, scientific field club, or other relative clubs for prospects. Visit each office for details. To broaden your search, visit your state or local geological society website or office (where possible). To locate your local or state geological society, use your favorite search engine. Simply enter your location + “geological society” for official web addresses.

    Do not hesitate to visit geological societies in other states or the U.S. Department of Interior Geological Survey (USGS) at http://www.usgsgov. Remember, some internship’s may last the entire school year, while others may last for one summer only. If you don’t mind spending the summer in another state or even abroad, flexibility might help you secure a geology internship even faster. Use the same steps to locate other state geological societies.

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    Geology Internships: Councils, Societies, and Institutes

    Internship opportunities are plentiful through various councils, societies, and institutes. You may browse through an extensive list of opportunities at the official Washington and Lee University Department of Geology at http://geology.wlu.edu/intern.html. The following is just a preview of WLU’s list.

    National Council for Science and the Environment

    http://www.ncseonline.org/Jobs/

    Geological Society of America Internship Information

    http://www.geosociety.org/profdev/

    National Air and Space Museum Summer Internships

    http://www.nasm.si.edu/getinvolved/intern/

    Lunar and Planetary Institute

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lpiintern/index.shtml

    National Energy Technology Laboratory Professional Internship Program

    http://see.orau.org/ProgramDescription.aspx?Program=10046

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    There are a number of online and offline sources for internship opportunities that offer hundreds of listings and contact information. It is perfectly fine to submit a letter of interest and any relative credentials to companies that do not advertise for internships. Some might be willing to extend an offer if they like what they see. If possible, pick up a copy of The Internship Bible, Peterson's Internships, or The Best 109 Internships. For used or discounted copies (either will get the job done), try Amazon.com.

    To narrow your online search, stick to recognized names in and reliable websites such as:

    • www.idealist.org (excellent for internships with environmental groups and other non-profits)
    • www.internshipprograms.com
    • www.internabroad.com
    • www.volunteerinternational.org (volunteer opportunities abroad)

    Tip: If you come across s site or source you do not recognize or the source requests a small “fee” to deliver a list of internships or to access the website, please research the source. If you cannot find a working phone number, a physical address (not a P.O. Box), or any information online about the source, chances are it is not a reputable source. Please visit The Riley Guide for tips on avoiding scams at http://www.rileyguide.com/scams.html.

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    References

    United States Department of Interior Geological Survey

    http://www.usgs.gov/

    The College Board, not-for-profit

    http://www.collegeboard.com

    The University of North Florida

    http://www.unf.edu

    Washington and Lee University, Department of Geology

    http://geology.wlu.edu/intern.html