Youth and Education in Science

Information for Nominators and USGS Science Mentors


The USGS Cooperative Summer Field Intern program is seeking undergraduate students who have strong preparation in skills valuable to USGS. We are particularly interested in providing opportunities for students for whom an internship is a unique opportunity, and could help propel them toward a professional path. Note: Nominees must be US Citizens.

Nominated students are matched with selected USGS projects, depending on the needs of the scientists and the interests and abilities of the applicants. Although not all applicants will receive internships, every effort is made to provide as many placements as possible that will result in professional growth for the students and scientific contribution to the projects. The USGS Human Resources Office will determine salary in accordance with government regulations and student education/experience. For 2019, the general salary range will be $15.81 to $18.90 per hour (depending upon locality). Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the home project site and housing for the summer.

The USGS receives nominations from three sources:

  • Geology Field Camp Directors - through a partnership with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers
  • Biology/Ecology Field Program Leaders - through a partnership with the Ecological Society of America
  • GIS Certification Institute - for students with specialized GIS training.

The USGS has two requirements for people who want to be nominators:

  • Training Rigor: our partners help assure that students have strong backgrounds in the recruited fields.
  • Code-of-conduct: in keeping with the values and policies at the USGS, we require that programs have an enforceable code-of-conduct in place that addresses sexual harassment and bullying in field situations.

Geology Field Camp

Geoscience summer field camp directors from eligible field camps may nominate students for this summer field assistant program.  Our partner, the NAGT, determines eligibility and invites field camp directors to nominate each fall. See the current list of schools that host geology field camps to find out if your field camp is able to nominate a student to NAGT for this program. 

Ecology/Biology Field Training

The USGS has a large mission area in ecosystems and environmental health. We are working with the Ecological Society of America to identify students who have field training and experience in biological field methods. This partnership is new in 2018-19 and we are refining the criteria for that training. Contact the ESA or the USGS if you are interested in this opportunity for students.

GIS Certification

GIS is an increasingly important skill across USGS in many research areas. Our partner in identifying students with this skill is the GIS Certification Institute. Students can register their training and skill set at GISCI, which will then identify students for nomination. It is not necessary that students be fully accredited in GIS - we are looking for some progress toward that.

USGS Scientists

USGS scientists interested in hiring an intern through this program must submit a project proposal through this internal form by the deadline of 12/21. Projects are reviewed and highest rated projects receive partial funding for the summer. The criteria are:

  • the engagement of the student in the science
  • the mentoring plan for the student in both science skills and professional development

Students hired through this program are initially appointed for 10-12 weeks. The appointments can be extended for up to 4 years, depending on budgets and science center needs. If appointments are extended beyond one year, benefits and a plan for advancement kick in.