Field Museum Women in Science Internships

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) and the Women's Board are proud to offer the Women in Science Internships. This program aims to build a foundation and set the standard for diversity across the museum and within the sciences through student internships.  

Interns work in departments throughout the museum. They gain knowledge and experience in the sciences by engaging in collections-based research and communicating science to a broader community. The program hosts five high school and five undergraduate paid interns for six weeks in the summer each year.

All interns work 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 updates posted in mid-February. Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one project. 

Application

Applications for 2019 internships are now open! The program runs from Monday, June 24, 2019 through Monday, August 5, 2019.

All applications are due Friday, March 22, 2019. We will notify all applicants chosen to be a 2019 Women in Science intern the week of April 15.

Application Instructions

  1. Visit our application site and sign up for an account.

  2. Once you’ve created your account and logged in, select, “View Programs” and click on “Women in Science Internships.”

  3. Fill out the application, selecting the internship(s) you would like to apply to and answer all applicable questions.

  4. One letter of recommendation from a non-family member is required as part of the application process. You will submit your recommender’s name and contact information, and they will receive an email asking them to submit this letter of recommendation via the application platform.

  5. All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received by 11:59pm CST on Friday, March 22, 2019.  

 

2019 Projects

Expand each listing below for more details on each project.

In the course of this project, interns will gain insight into principles and practices of museum collection management, and will be engaged in collection digitization endeavors. This will include learning archival data standards for fossil plants, care of specimens, and techniques for scientific photography and photomicrography. This is primarily a collections-based internship.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Data entry
  • Primary specimen identification
  • Specimen relabeling
  • Conservation, as needed
  • Photography and photomicrography of fossil plant materials

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 24, 2019
  • Willingness to be engaged in tasks that may frequently be repetitive
  • Typing, attention to detail, and good grammar/spelling highly desirable

Over the course of a multi-year partnership program called the Early Elementary Science Partnership (E2SP) the program collaborators developed a suite of science units designed to be implemented in participating E2SP science classrooms. These units were intentionally aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and support best practices in science curricular resources such as connections to local phenomena, opportunities for student-driven exploration, and incorporation of authentic student assessment.  Last summer, the E2SP program team and select E2SP teachers collaborated to revise a subset of the units in order to update them according to lessons learned through implementation. Through these revisions, the units are more closely aligned to NGSS, have stronger elements of best practices, and are ready to be broadly shared with teachers across the Chicago area. Other units have been identified as ready for major revision work, and this summer the E2SP program staff plan to update another subset of the original units. The FMWIS interns would be active collaborators in the revision work and would be responsible for making adaptations to one particular science unit. The interns would be fully supported by the E2SP team in terms of understanding the scope of the unit revision and in having thought partners as they are collaborating on the revision work.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Become familiar with the Next Generation Science Standards as they relate to science unit development and early elementary education
  • Become familiar with curriculum development educational principles and best practices
  • Brainstorm proposed changes to the unit and develop a revision plan
  • Conduct science content research to ensure connections to local phenomena
  • Revise, prototype, and edit the unit according to the E2SP curriculum style guide
  • Attend E2SP Programming Team Meetings as needed
  • Undergraduate Intern will also be responsible for mentoring the High School Intern with support from Internship Supervisor

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 24, 2019
  • Interest and/or experience in the field of science education, specifically but not limited to early elementary
  • Interest and/or experience in science content
  • Interest and/or experience in curriculum design
  • Comfortable working in a collaborative environment

Amphibians exhibit the greatest diversity of reproductive modes among tetrapod vertebrates. This diversity in reproductive modes and calling patterns associated with reproduction are thought to be critical in understanding amphibian interactions, coexistence, and community organization. However, for many tropical frog species, basic information on reproductive patterns is lacking. Vocal communication is an essential part of reproductive success for many frog species. Temporal, spatial, and frequency differences in mating call may be mechanisms by which multiple frog species can coexist at breeding sites. This project will test for acoustic (temporal and frequency) resource partitioning in a tropical frog community. Additionally, this project will contribute to increasing the availability of curated tropical frog call recordings.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Work as a team to use bioacoustic techniques such as automating species identification of recorded calls (model creating, classification, and validation)
  • Measuring and comparing features of frog calls

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 24, 2019
  • Interest in learning new technological skills
  • Ability to think creatively
  • Ability to conduct research via the internet and interviews with scientific staff
  • Organized and able to meet deadlines

Recent molecular studies of land plant evolution overwhelmingly indicate that ferns together with horsetails and whisk ferns (monilophytes) are the closest relatives to all seed plants. However, within the monilophyte clade the phylogenetic relationship of several fern species remain elusive due to only limited sequence data available. Today, next-generation sequencing technologies open new avenues for molecular phylogenetics and phylogenomics studies. In this project, next-generation data will be used to assemble and annotate the plastid DNA of ferns. We will integrate newly discovered genes to existing data to reconstruct an improved fern phylogeny.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Computational work will include assembly and analysis of next-generation sequencing data
  • Plastid genome annotation (describing genes in a DNA sequence)
  • Literature search of similar genomes
  • Phylogenic analyses to reconstruct the evolution of ferns

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 24, 2019
  • Microsoft office (Excel, Word) experience is required
  • Pays close attention to details
  • Well organized and an ability to handle large amounts of data

Early land plants, or bryophytes are used as environmental indicators of climate change and are pivotal in our understanding of early land plant evolution. The internship will join a research and collection team investigating the genus Frullania Raddi, representing an exceptionally hyper-diverse and taxonomically complex genus with a worldwide distribution. Specifically, the project will explore a morphologically variable and poorly understood species complex from the South Pacific. Hypotheses of species differences will be investigated based on support from multiple lines of evidence, including morphology and nucleotide sequences. The research may have significant conservation impact as Conservation International recognized this biodiversity hotspot as the epicenter of the current global extinction crisis. The internship will also offer a novel experience being part of a community science project involving a wide variety of participants including K-12, undergraduate students and the general public.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Imaging specimens
  • Databasing
  • Independent research project
  • Assisting the team in research projects and community science projects

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 24, 2019
  • Keen attention to detail
  • An interest in biology
  • Microsoft Office experience (Excel and spreadsheets)
  • Ability to work as part of a team and independently