Field Museum Women in Science Internships

Photo by Mikayla Delson


Generous support provided by The Women's Board of The Field Musem.
Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) and 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 young 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 6 weeks in summer 2016. 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.

2016 Program Dates: June 20th, 2016 through August 1st, 2016.

Please be aware that this internship is full-time, 5 days per week, 8:30am to 4:30pm (unless otherwise arranged with the supervisor). Applicants must be a Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana residentFind out more information about the 2016 individual internship projects below!

Applications are due March 6, 2016.

Application Instructions:

  1. Locate internship application title on our jobs page
  2. Fill out provided application (complete one application for each project you are applying to)
  3. One letter of recommendation from a non-family member is required. Please have the referee title it 'Name_Undergraduate_Reference' if you are an undergraduate, or 'Name_HighSchool_Reference' if you are a high school student, and send it directly to

Please direct all applications and questions to (No phone calls, please)

Learn more about additional Field Museum Careers and Internships

2016 Projects

  1. Digital Co-Curation: Philippine Heritage Collections



    Interns will research artifacts in The Field Museum’s Philippine Heritage Collections relating to hunting, fishing, and food preparation. With this object-based research serving as a point of reference, and with the help of the Digital Co-Curation Team, interns will engage members of Chicago’s Filipino American community in multiple interviews asking questions of how these persons relate to the objects observed and their experiences with the larger topic at hand. These interviews will be compiled for the Museum’s database and co-curation web portal. Additionally, interns will assist in the hosting of a small discussion session at The Field, whereby FilAm community members will be present for participation. The final video of this project will combine the stories gathered from interviewees, the discussion held at The Field, and the experience of the interns themselves.

    Interns will be equally responsible for learning about the Philippines collection through research of related catalog documentation and publications. Interns will be responsible for documenting their findings in the Museum’s KE EMu collections management database. They will also be responsible for conducting interviews at The Field Museum or via satellite with participating individuals from the Filipino American community. Interns will record these interviews and archive them to document the Museum’s co-curation efforts. Finally, they will be responsible for assisting in the discussion session hosted by the Digital Co-Curation Team at The Field Museum.

  2. Early Elementary Science Partnership (E2SP)

    The Early Elementary Science Partnership (E2SP) is a four-year collaboration between The Field Museum, Northwestern University faculty, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and ten Big Shoulders Fund Schools that is transforming how preK-3rd grade teachers engage their students in science. The goal of E2SP is to ignite children’s early passion for science and give them the skills necessary to succeed in later grade levels by preparing preK-3rd grade teachers to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and build the capacity of these schools to strengthen and support science instruction. The project will enter its third year in the fall of 2016, and major program planning will take place over the summer, most notably the development of NGSS-designed Earth and Space Sciences model units for preK-3rd grade classrooms. The E2SP programming team, comprised of staff from each partnering institution, will work collaboratively to research, write, prototype, and finalize the model science units. The FMWIS interns would be active participants with specific responsibilities throughout the entire collaborative process, and would contribute to E2SP by developing a Field Museum focused field trip, which will be embedded into one of the units.

  3. Evolutionary Genetics of the Immune System in Crow-Like Birds


    Toll-like receptors are proteins important in the innate immune system. They recognize conserved molecular elements of pathogens and are tuned specifically to particular pathogens, e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi. Humans have 10-15 of these genes, and most have been found in birds as well. In 2015, we began three separate projects on Toll-like receptors: one looking at an invasive species (House Sparrows) and immune systems, the second looking at how these genes have evolved in all birds (being carried out by Peruvian graduate student Natalia Piland), and the third on variation in these genes in Chicagoland crows before and after West Nile Virus came through Chicago in 2000 (last summer’s high school internship project). The results of last summer’s project suggested that Toll-like receptors were evolving strangely in crows. The lack of genetic variation in crows may be a contributing factor to their steep population declines due to the invading West Nile pathogen. This summer, I propose to expand on our examination of Toll-like receptor genes and sequence several of these genes in a number of members of the crow family of birds. The goal is to see if these genes are evolving differently in corvids more generally.

  4. Global Wellness in Urban Chicago


    In 2010, Alaka Wali began an ongoing effort to study and collect herbal remedies, knowledge, and cultural practices surrounding how people achieve and define well-being and health in Chicago neighborhoods. With 200+ objects in collection and extensive ethnographic research underway, the Global Wellness in Urban Chicago project has recently launched a website to document our efforts. This summer we are seeking two interns to interview Chicagoans about their personal knowledge of herbal remedies and conduct research on the history and classification of the herbs in the collection. These internships present a unique opportunity to study how different communities and medical traditions define wellness in response to compromised access to healthcare and other pressures of urban life. Interns will be able to customize their activities to fit individual interests and strengths.

  5. Riffles in the stream: Part II: Bringing water beetle specimens to light through digitization

    One of the most environmentally-sensitive groups of aquatic insects is known as the riffle beetles, or dryopoid water beetles. Thanks to former curator Harry Nelson, The Field Museum is home to one of the largest collections of these beetles in the world. Last summer’s interns focused on understanding where he collected, by databasing all of the collecting localities. This summer, interns will begin to figure out what he collected, through databasing the individual specimens from these localities. Additionally, the interns will begin to disseminate the story of these specimens, through a series of social-media posts and a complete written history of the water beetle collection.

Other Programs