Women in Science Undergraduate Internship

Program information:

2015 Program Dates: Monday, June 22-Monday, August 3, 2015.

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) and Women's Board of The Field Museum are proud to offer three undergraduate internships. Applicants apply to individual projects and must apply to each project separately to be considered for more than one. The Field Museum Women in Science Undergraduate Internship program is a 6-week long internship. 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 resident

Applications are due March 27, 2015 and internship recipients will be notified by email no later than the week of April 20th, 2015.

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' and send it directly to womeninsciencefellowship@fieldmuseum.org

2015 Project Descriptions


 2015 Undergraduate Internship #1

Intern (Undergraduate) Women in Science, Riffles In The Stream: Exploring Water Quality Through Historical Distributions Of Water Beetles In Illinois And The Surrounding Area: Human life relies on access to fresh, clean water free from pollutants and pathogens. If accurate ecological and distributional data are available, we can use aquatic organisms, such as insects, to evaluate water quality, with one of the most sensitive of these groups being the riffle beetles, or dryopoid water beetles. Former curator Harry G. Nelson collected this group extensively and his collection is now part of the FMNH Insect Collection. At last count (1971), the Harry G. Nelson collection of dryopoid water beetles comprised over 100,000 specimens, both pinned and in alcohol, making it one of the largest and most important collections of its kind, particularly for the upper Midwestern United States. Despite this, it is largely unknown to water beetle workers and the data is locked away on paper field notes and on the labels of uncatalogued specimens. An inventory of the collection and digitization of Harry Nelson’s field notes will provide the first steps towards making this data accessible to the broader research community. 


 2015 Undergraduate Internship #2

Intern (Undergraduate) Women in Science, Let's Discover The Invisible World: Using Next Generation Sequencing To Uncover The Microbial World Inside Spiny Ants: Symbiotic interactions are responsible for the evolution and diversity of life on the planet. To better understand the evolutionary significance of these associations in nature, further studies addressing the diversity of hosts and symbionts are necessary. Insects as hosts are considered an ideal group of organisms for the study of endosymbionts, since they are tolerant with the coexistence of microorganisms internally and externally on the body. There are about 15,000 species of ants widely spread distributed over the globe. The great diversity of the group is due to the great ecological success, resulting in various forms of nesting, feeding preferences and social behaviors with division of labor between castes. The spiny ants (genus Polyrhachis) have a wide distribution, diverse habits, and are often associated with endosymbionts, the “invisible world”. However there are few studies in this area, so there are many remaining questions about these associations. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Illumina MiSeq2000 can facilitate the discovery of the microbiota associated with the host, showing to be an excellent tool for the characterization of communities previously little studied, such as the microbial diversity associated with insects and how the evolution and ecology of the host may structure host-associated bacterial diversity. The 2015 FMWIS project will investigate the microbiota associated with spiny ants from across their distribution and in the context of their evolutionary history (phylogeny). This study may reveal important aspects of the biology of the Polyrhachis ants, the influence on endosymbionts in this diverse group, in addition to types of symbiotic interactions involved. 


 2015 Undergraduate Internship #3 

Intern (Undergraduate) Women in Science, Incredible Morphological Diversity In The Most Diverse Group Of Vertebrates: The Fish Collection at The Field Museum contains over 2 million specimens. These specimens are from all taxonomic groups, from all over the world, and collected from as recently as last year to as long ago as the late 1800s. Clearing and staining is a process these specimens can undergo to allow scientists to visualize their skeletons. This project will assist in building the cleared and stained collection in Fishes at The Field Museum. The intern will learn the techniques and methods of clearing and staining, based on specimens of many different types of fishes. The intern will then work with the supervisor to select a variety of cleared and stained specimens that can then be imaged and used for education and outreach activities. 

Please direct all questions to womeninsciencefellowship@fieldmuseum.org