Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Curricula & Programs > Beyond the Curriculum > Internships
Michele Hluchy discovered that most jobs and many internships in the environmental industry require a 40-hour OSHA-approved training course in dealing with hazardous materials. Partnering with Thomas Barnett, from ABB Preheater, Inc., she developed a course students can take to fulfill that requirement. This slide is from her presentation about it at the 2007 workshop on Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals.


Internships offer opportunities for students to get a taste of what it's like to work as a geoscientist. They also offer opportunities for departments and employers to forge mutually beneficial relationships.

Benefits of successful internship programs

Successful internship programs are win-win-win opportunities.

For geoscience departments

  • Enhances your reputation on campus, among administrators, faculty, and students
  • Links to local/regional employers of your alumni, past, present, and future
  • Ongoing relationship provides additional opportunities for present and future students to participate in internships
  • Enhances your reputation among other employers in your region
  • Selling point for student recruitment efforts

For students

  • Real-life experience working as a geoscientist, "testing the waters" to see whether they enjoy a particular job in a particular company
  • Improved post-graduation chances at employment
  • Opportunity to apply classroom learning to real situations
  • Opportunity to meet geoscientist mentors outside of academia

For employers

  • Increased productivity
  • Source of new ideas
  • Connection to potential source of future employees
  • Cost-effective staffing

Designing successful internship programs

Designing a successful internship program requires thoughtful planning, just like any other learning exercise. As with other learning situations, internships work best when all parties involved are clear about the goals and expectations, when the work is meaningful and relevant for the student, when the 'instructor' provides sufficient explanations about how to do the work and is available to answer questions, and when the student is motivated. Read more about this.

Examples of internship programs

Ready to create an internship program at your college or university, but looking for examples so you don't have to reinvent the wheel? Here are a few.

Internship opportunities with national organizations

In addition to local and regional employers, you may also want to consider connecting to, or telling your students about, internship opportunities on the national level.

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