Youth and Education in Science

Information for Students Nominated for Cooperative Summer Fellowship Programs

As a student nominated by your field camp director, field instructor, or GIS credentials, you will be invited to apply for this paid internship with the USGS. 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 nominees 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 2021, the general salary range will be $14.95 to $21.75 per hour (depending upon locality). Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the home project site and housing for the summer.

Field Assistant interns work on a range of different projects involving fieldwork, laboratory work, or frequently combinations of both. New projects are available each year. Selected projects from 2019 and 2020 include:

  • Geological and geophysical studies of the San Andreas Fault system
  • Characterization of surface-water quality and quantity
  • Pollinator health and habitat
  • Marine microfossil indicators of past warm periods
  • Geodetic monitoring of Cascade Range Volcanoes and Yellowstone
  • Salmonid monitoring and evaluation
  • Landslide hazards in post-glacial landscapes
  • Hydro-ecology of artic thaw in Alaska 
  • Sediment dynamics and transport in rivers
  • Field mapping and luminescence geochronology 
  • Huckleberry phenology response to drought 
  • Waterbird research on a restoration island in the Chesapeake Bay
  • Volcanic hazards in the Pacific Northwest

Placement Procedures used to Match Interns with Projects

  • Candidates (who must be US citizens) are nominated for the internship by their field camp director, field training professor, or GIS credentials. They submit resumes, transcripts, and cover letters to the USGS YES office through USAJobs.
  • USGS scientists across the nation submit proposals for a project to host an intern. Consistent with the earth systems approach used in modern research, these proposals come from a wide variety of disciplines, including geology, hydrology, ecosystems, and other areas of the earth sciences.
  • A panel is convened of USGS scientists representing all disciplines, who review candidate applications and project proposals, in order to determine potential matches. The panel attempts to find at least 2 to 4 potential projects for each intern, based on the student’s interests, educational background, and goals.
  • Candidates are informed of the projects that have been selected as a potential match for them, and are asked to review each project proposal.
  • USGS Scientists are informed of the candidates that have been identified as potential matches for their project, and are asked to conduct a phone interview with each student. They then submit a ranked list of their preferences.
  • The final match-up of interns to projects is determined by way of scientist and candidate preference. USGS scientists have the ultimate choice in candidate selection, although student preferences will be accommodated whenever possible.
  • Once interns have been placed with a project, they will be contacted by their science mentor to set up a start date, and will receive instructions on the hiring process by the USGS Human Resources office.

Application Procedure

Nominees will be using the USAJOBS website for submitting their application material. Unless you already have one, you will need to create a user account in order to submit your application. It's a fairly straightforward process, while providing the added benefit of allowing you to apply to any other future federal position that you might be interested in.  USAJOBS has recently added an additional layer of security by using for your password.  You will want to have your cell phone nearby when creating your account, as a confirmation code will be sent to you as a text in order for you to log in.  

What you will need to gather together for your application:

  1. Résumé. (Note: we prefer that you upload your résumé as a PDF or Word document, rather than use the USAJOBS resume builder.) Be certain that your résumé includes:
    • This internship job announcement number found on the email you received inviting you to apply
    • Current and permanent mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses. (Please specify the date if any of your current information will no longer be valid.)
    • Dates of your availability for the internship
    • Veteran status (government requirement)

    Please be certain that your résumé does NOT include: your birthdate, your SSN, your gender/ethnicity, and any disability.

  2. Cover Letter. The cover letter should contain a statement about your professional goals and interests and how this internship might contribute to your career objectives. It may also include pertinent biographical data that does not appear on the résumé.
  3. Unofficial Transcripts. Request an unofficial transcript from your college or university, and upload in PDF format to USAJOBS.

Begin the application entry process:

In the email you received from USGS, you will find a link to apply for this position via USAJOBS.  If you have any difficulties finding the link or did not receive this email, please contact us at

Complete applications must be RECEIVED ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 17, 2021 at midnight Eastern time. No late applications or parts thereof will be accepted after the deadline. You will receive an email confirmation once your complete application has been received and forwarded to the USGS Youth and Education in Science office (usually within a week of your application submission).