Environmental Studies majors are required to complete an off campus environmentally related internship with a non-academic institution. This is normally done during the junior or senior year. Internships are an opportunity for students to work with professionals in the environmental field outside of academia. Students will work with a faculty sponsor and their site supervisor to develop a set of learning goals, strategies to meet these goals and methods of evaluation for the internship, including the nature of the final project.

Before you begin your search for an internship, we recommend that you stop by the Career Exploration on the first floor of Kagin. Career Exploration will help you find an internship and will instruct you in completing all the necessary paperwork. You can also search through the Career Exploration web page.

Finding an Internship Quick Start Guide

The following are some common questions about Environmental Studies internships:

How do I find an internship?

You are responsible for finding and securing your own internship with the assistance of faculty and staff. You should begin your search and planning well in advance of the semester during which you intend to complete the internship. You may need to develop a résumé, if you don’t already have one, and you will most likely want to interview for available internships to determine whether you think you would like to work for a particular organization.

To begin your search, we recommend that you stop by the Internship Office in Kagin. There you can find information about creating a résumé and finding an internship. In addition, the resource library contains collections of internships categorized by location and the nature of the organization. Career Exploration maintains a list of internship opportunities categorized by the nature of the organization. You are not confined to these listings. You are free to identify other opportunities as well.

How do I earn credit for an internship?

In order to receive Macalester credit for your internship, you must complete an internship learning contract and student waiver. You will not be given credit if this paperwork is not completed. You must meet with your faculty sponsor and internship site supervisor to complete the learning contract. Finally, you need to meet with the director of the Internship Program to review and sign your learning contract and registration materials. You are also expected to keep and turn in a log of your hours.

The Environmental Studies major requires you to complete a 4-credit internship as part of the ENVI 488/489 course. Generally a 4-credit internship requires approximately 140 hours (or about 10 hours per week over a semester).

What is a faculty sponsor?

Faculty can be a valuable resource to you in helping you to find an internship that meets your academic goals and interests. They can put you in touch with colleagues or organizations that may be seeking interns. While searching for an internship, you will want to secure a faculty member to sponsor your internship. You must select as your faculty sponsor an Environmental Studies faculty member or an affiliated faculty member and register for the internship as ENVI 624. You and your faculty sponsor should work together to plan all aspects of your internship and complete your learning contract. The role of an internship faculty sponsor is to oversee your experience and award a grade or credit for the completed internship based on feedback received from your site supervisor, whether or not you completed your assignments, and what you demonstrate that you have learned from the internship.

What are learning contracts?

A learning contract outlines what you intend to learn and accomplish during your internship, and are filled out once you have secured an internship. It represents an agreement between you, your internship site supervisor, and your faculty sponsor on mutual intentions and expectations for the internship. In your learning contract you should describe your learning goals, specific strategies for achieving those goals, and methods for documenting their accomplishment. You are detailing what you want to learn, what your supervisor needs to have done, and how your faculty sponsor wants you to demonstrate what you have learned. You may want to produce a rough draft of your learning contract to review and discuss with your faculty sponsor and site supervisor before filling out the final version.

Evaluation usually ranges from feedback from the site supervisor, to evaluation of the final materials by the faculty sponsor, to self-reflection for the personal goals. The final grade is a combination of the site supervisor’s evaluation and your faculty sponsor’s evaluation of your final product.

What should I do during the internship?

Students should check with their faculty sponsor about every two weeks, assuming everything is going well, to provide a brief update on how things are going. However, if something is not going well, you should contact your faculty sponsor immediately. About the middle of the term, you and your faculty sponsor will meet to finalize the nature of your final product. While your faculty sponsor is available to help you, it is important for you to know that you are mostly on your own. Faculty are not looking over your shoulder or calling your site supervisor regularly to check up on you. This is a very important opportunity for you to take a professional attitude toward yourself. You are responsible for making sure that you meet the hour requirements and meet any other expectations set for you by your site supervisor and faculty sponsor.

Who can I contact for more information?

You can contact Career Explorations at 651-696-6128 on the 1st floor of Kagin. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday. You can also contact Michael Porter, Director of Academic Internships, at (651) 696-6251 or [email protected].