Field Museum Women in Science Internships

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) and the Women's Board of The Field Museum are proud to offer the Women in Science Internships. 

The internships are hosted in many departments throughout the Museum and aim to give individuals the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in the sciences. The FMWIS Internship Program is hosting five high school and five undergraduate paid interns for six weeks in summer 2018. Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one project. 

We aim to build a foundation and set the standard across the museum for diversity within the sciences through student internships. Interns will engage in collections-based research and practice communicating science to a broader community.

Program Dates: Monday, June 25 through Monday, August 6, 2018.

Please be aware that this internship is full-time, five days per week, 8:30am to 4:30pm (unless otherwise arranged with the supervisor). Applicants must be a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana resident. New projects are offered each summer, with information posted in mid-February.

Application 

Applications for 2018 internships are now closed. 

2018 Projects

A Monarch’s View of the City

Each year, people across North America bear witness to one of nature’s most dramatic events: the annual monarch butterfly migration. However, over the last two decades, the monarch population has decreased by 80 percent and experts now agree that a key threat to the species is the loss of milkweed plants across the Midwestern United States. City residents have a role to play in reversing this troubling decline. This summer we will expand on our existing research to better understand A) the role of habitat patch size in supporting all life stages of the monarch butterfly and B) the social and demographic factors that shape urban residents’ involvement in monarch conservation activities. In part A, we will test the minimum patch size needed to rear a monarch from egg through all of its life stages and into adulthood. In collaboration with conservation ecologists, interns will collect one season of local field data using an established protocol. The interns will analyze and compare 2018 data to past years of data collected through a citizen science program run through the University of Minnesota's Monarch Lab. Part B of the project will have interns working with an environmental social scientist to explore publically available datasets and scholarly literature.

Intern responsibilities

  • Work as part of a team in the field to collect data on patch size, floristic makeup of the patches, milkweed density, habitat connectedness, and monarch larval stages
  • Organize ecological data and compare findings with data from citizen science projects
  • Gather and process information from publically available demographic datasets and scholarly literature to inform the social science framework of the urban monarch project

Qualifications

  • An undergraduate or high school student at time of application.  Those who are undergraduates at the time of the application should apply for the undergraduate internship.  Those who are high school students at the time of the application should apply for the high school internship.
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent residence or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Experience or be interested in collecting ecological data in The Field Museum
  • A valid driver’s license and vehicle
  • Plant identification skills, knowledge of Photoshop, and knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel, and familiarity with the Chicago region are helpful but not necessary
  • Ability to represent The Field Museum in a professional and mature manner

Collaborative Curation of Native North American Human Remains and Objects

Interns selected for this project will assist Field Museum Repatriation staff in the care and curation of collections from Native North American cultural groups. These internships are focused on training future biological anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, biologists, and collections managers in both the technical and ethical aspects of human osteological curation, collections management, and research. 

There will be a particular emphasis on improving the care and understanding of North American human remains within the Museum’s collections, in collaboration with indigenous representatives. The osteological inventories we conduct will aid in repatriation by allowing us to affiliate individuals with their descendant communities. Additionally, the project involves the rehousing of remains (also following recommendations from indigenous representatives) so that the Museum can provide the best long-term physical and spiritual care for these remains.

Selected interns will gain experience in osteological analysis, digital records curation, database management, NAGPRA law, historical research on Native American communities and groups, and information dissemination. 

Intern responsibilities

The undergraduate intern will:

  • Assist with osteological analysis of human remains within the museum’s collections
  • Develop experience in the physical care and museum curation of sensitive collections by working to digitize records and rehouse inventoried human remains, following both museum collections standards and the direction or request of collaborating descendant communities

The high school intern will: 

  • Focus on cultural research related to North American collections, NAGPRA law and procedures, and digital records curation
  • Update and digitize museum records regarding North American archaeological collections and help to build a database for culturally unaffiliated collections
  • Conduct research on the history of museum collections, and on cultural practices of Native North American groups
  • Assist with re-associating connected collections, which will inform how certain objects or human remains are maintained within the collections and aid repatriation staff in cultural affiliation determinations

Qualifications

For the undergraduate intern:

  • An undergraduate student at time of application. 
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent residence, or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Prior coursework and/or experience in human osteology
  • General knowledge of digital photography
  • Familiarity with data entry

For the high school intern:

  • A high school student at time of application. 
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent residence, or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Familiarity with research, data entry, and database development

Supporting Environmental and Social Wellbeing in the Putumayo Basin of South America

This project will support the Keller Science Action Center’s Andes-Amazon team in our ongoing research and conservation action of the Putumayo basin of Peru and Colombia. Interns will assist the social science team in compiling and synthesizing the extensive materials on the biological and social diversity of the Putumayo region in the museum, including materials associated with previous rapid inventories, literature, and collections of objects, photographs, and written documents housed in the South American anthropology and Economic Botany collections. Interns will take inventory and create a database of the existing materials, as well as write a final report that provides a review of the materials and synthesizes their findings on biocultural diversity in the Putumayo basin. In addition, interns will learn about the social science team’s research methods for quality of life planning in Peru and will help create training materials that support environmental and social wellbeing for local communities, including written guides, pamphlets, and videos for dissemination to partners in the Putumayo basin and across Peru. Overall, the intern's project will support the social science team’s work incorporating collections into biocultural conservation programs in Peru, and developing quality of life planning with the Peruvian government (including the Protected Areas Service and the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion in 2018-2019.

Intern responsibilities

  • Conduct archival research in Spanish and English on written, photographic, and audiovisual materials and on collections of objects and artifacts relating to the biological and social diversity of the Putumayo region and its history housed in the museum
  • Create database of materials pertaining to biological and social diversity and environmental conservation in the Putumayo region in English and Spanish
  • Write report on the biocultural diversity of the Putumayo based on research findings
  • Help create training materials, including pamphlets and videos, for quality of life planning in Peru
  • Learn about qualitative and quantitative social science research methods and how they are used in quality of life planning in South America

Qualifications

  • An undergraduate or high school student at time of application.  Those who are undergraduates at the time of the application should apply for the undergraduate internship.  Those who are high school students at the time of the application should apply for the high school internship.
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Ability to read and write in Spanish (intermediate or advanced level preferred)
  • Interest in and willingness to learn about other cultures and ways of life
  • Interest in/passion for environmental conservation and wellbeing in South America
  • Self-starter and able to work independently on specific projects
  • Strong writing and analytical skills
  • Good organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Experience using a database and Microsoft Office (Word, Office, PowerPoint)
  • Experience working on video editing (Final Cut Pro, etc.) preferred but not required
  • Experience with graphic design and/or webpage design desirable but not required
  • Willingness to work in a fast-paced environment and on a team
  • Anthropology or social science training preferred (for the undergraduate intern)
  • Experience traveling/studying abroad/living in Latin America or South America desirable (for the undergraduate intern)

 

Lichen Distribution in Australasia and Antarctica Based on Recent Herbarium Collections

The herbarium of the Field Museum is housing more than 2.8 million specimens from wide geographic ranges. The collection increases constantly with newly collected specimens from all over the world. These specimens are identified, prepared for the storage, and integrated into herbarium databases by a collaborative effort of many people at the museum, such as collection managers, curators, and volunteers. Recently, museum scientists collected hundreds of lichens (symbionts of fungi and algae or cyanobacteria) in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Antarctica. The selected Women in Science interns will help prepare the collections for the deposition in the herbarium of the Field Museum. Many of these specimens need to be identified by morphological, chemical, and genetic characters which require microscopy, chemical separation of lichen acids, and DNA analysis. The interns will also use these data to determine the number and variability of lichen species across Australian and Antarctic regions.

Intern responsibilities

  • Preparation of specimens, including unpacking, inspecting, and mounting, for the deposition in the Field Museum herbarium
  • Herbarium database cataloguing an inventory of existing and newly collected lichen specimens
  • Sample preparation of lichen specimens for DNA isolation and thin-layer chromatography for genetic and chemical identification
  • Use of dissecting microscope for morphological characterization and contaminant detection

Qualifications

  • An undergraduate or high school student at time of application.  Those who are undergraduates at the time of the application should apply for the undergraduate internship.  Those who are high school students at the time of the application should apply for the high school internship.
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent residence, or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Microsoft (Excel, Word) experience is required
  • Pays close attention to details
  • Well organized and an ability to handle large amounts of data

Curating the James and Sylvia Konecny Fossil Collection

One of the challenges for collections management is organizing an active and growing collection. Many new specimens are being prepared, and then studied, and are now available to be processed and integrated into the main body of the collection.  Each year newly collected specimens are added to the growing backlog. Processing of the collections (cataloguing, numbering, labeling, packaging, organizing and integrating) often lags behind collection, particularly in vertebrate paleontology where the long process of preparation (taking the rock or “matrix” off the bone) can add substantially to the delay. Pete Makovicky has been collecting fossil vertebrate specimens since 2001, and his collection is in need of processing.

Intern responsibilities

  • Scan and run Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software on specimen labels, number specimens, upload this data to our database and create labels for the specimens
  • Photograph selected specimens and research these fossils for posts for the Field Museum’s Geology Wednesday Facebook blog

Qualifications

  • An undergraduate or high school student at time of application.  Those who are undergraduates at the time of the application should apply for the undergraduate internship.  Those who are high school students at the time of the application should apply for the high school internship.
  • Talented and motivated individuals interested in the sciences; those who identify as female are highly encouraged to apply
  • Applicants must be connected with a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana address (whether it is your permanent residence, or that of a person you know who you would live with during your internship)
  • Applicants must be 16 years old by June 25, 2018
  • Experience using a database, Excel, OCR, or photography would all be helpful