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10 Environmental Science Internships for High School Students

If you have a passion for environmental science, then you should definitely look into the internships below! Consider exploring these programs to deepen your understanding of environmental science, gain practical insights, and showcase your dedication to applications and resumes.

Environmental science internships can significantly enhance your college applications by demonstrating your commitment to both academic and hands-on learning. Admissions committees highly value candidates who exhibit a genuine passion for their chosen field. The impact of an internship on your application can be influenced by its alignment with your academic goals and the reputation of the hosting institution.

Internships with prestigious organizations, such as leading environmental research centers, conservation organizations, or sustainability initiatives, can carry substantial weight. However, regardless of the organization's prestige, emphasizing your responsibilities, accomplishments, and the skills you've acquired during the internship is crucial to effectively showcase your dedication to environmental science and your potential contributions to the college community.

Specific internships in the field of environmental science for high school students can vary widely in terms of availability and popularity. The top ten options can change from year to year, but here are ten specific environmental science-related internships that have been recognized for providing valuable experiences for high school students interested in the field:

How do I choose the internship that’s best for me?

When selecting the ideal environmental science summer program or internship, keep the following points in mind:

1. Outline your Goals: Begin by clearly defining your goals for participating in an environmental science internship. Determine whether you aim to acquire specific environmental knowledge, develop practical research skills, explore a particular aspect of environmental science, or gain a comprehensive understanding of the field.

2. Look for Research Opportunities: Look for internships that provide research experiences. Engaging in research allows you to delve into unexplored areas of environmental science, fostering hands-on experiential learning and contributing to the advancement of the field.

3. Align with Your Interests: Choose a program that resonates with your environmental science interests and career aspirations. Whether your passion lies in ecology, conservation, climate science, or environmental policy, selecting a program aligned with your interests will enhance your engagement and fulfillment.

4. Assess Program Components: Thoroughly evaluate the internship program's components, including its curriculum, faculty expertise, available facilities, and resources. Consider factors like program duration, location, financial considerations, and the availability of scholarships or financial aid. Additionally, seek insights from past participants and assess whether the program offers the academic rigor and practical experiences you seek.

By following these steps, you can make an informed decision and select the environmental science internship that best aligns with your goals and interests.

Location: NASA centers across the country

Stipend: Awarded based on academic level and session duration

Program dates: Spring session (Mid-January - Early May), Summer Session (Late May-August), Fall session (Late August - Mid-December)

Application Deadline: May 26 (Fall), August 30 (Spring), October 20 (Summer)

Eligibility: Be a U.S. citizen; Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale); Be a full-time student; Be a minimum of 16 years of age at the time of application (no exceptions)

NASA provides internship opportunities for high school students interested in space science and environmental research related to Earth's atmosphere. For example, NASA's Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) High School Internship Programs offer an incredible opportunity for high school students passionate about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These programs provide a gateway to the world of space exploration and environmental science, allowing students to work on real NASA projects, collaborate with leading scientists and engineers, and gain hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data. Whether participating in the High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program, engaging in online learning experiences, or securing internships at NASA centers, these programs empower young minds to explore STEM fields, ignite their curiosity, and potentially inspire the next generation of space scientists and environmental researchers.

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! The startups range across a variety of industries, such as environmental science and sustainability. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, environmental science and sustainability, healthcare and medicine, media and eco- journalism and more. 

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Interns are offered one-on-one training in communication, time management and other such valuable skills and will also have the opportunity to attend group training sessions with other interns in their cohort. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Location: Various SCA agencies around the world

Stipend: Expense paid (~$1,000 to offset travel costs)

Program dates: Varies

Application Deadline: Rolling Application

Eligibility: For the paid internship, you have to be 18 or older. There are youth programs (18 and younger) available as well.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) offers an internship experience for high school students passionate about conservation and the environment. SCA's high school programs provide a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in hands-on conservation work, whether it's preserving national parks, restoring wildlife habitats, or addressing environmental challenges through public outreach. These programs not only offer practical skills and knowledge but also instill a deep appreciation for the natural world and a sense of responsibility toward its protection.

Location: A fishery or aquatic center in your area

Stipend: $3,000

Program dates: 8 weeks over the summer

Application Deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors, rising high school seniors, and rising college freshmen

The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is a highly competitive internship program designed for high school students interested in fisheries biology and aquatic sciences. This program offers a remarkable opportunity to delve into the world of fisheries research and conservation. Participants work alongside professional fisheries biologists, gaining hands-on experience through fieldwork, data analysis, and laboratory research. Each student that is accepted into the Hutton Program and matched with a mentor will participate in a unique internship opportunity for the summer. Hutton Mentors are located all over the country and work with a wide variety of organizations, resulting in a unique internship opportunity at each location.

Location: Various sites across North Carolina

Stipend: N/A

Program dates: 3-5 weeks during June, July, and August

Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

Eligibility: Ages 15-18

The Conservation Corps North Carolina (CCNC) Youth Conservation Crews are a commendable initiative that offers young individuals a chance to engage actively in environmental conservation efforts. These crews comprise high school students who work together on diverse conservation projects throughout North Carolina's natural landscapes. Participants gain hands-on experience in trail maintenance, habitat restoration, and various environmental stewardship activities. Beyond practical skills, the program instills a deep sense of responsibility and an understanding of the importance of protecting our natural resources.

Location: University of Pennsylvania

Stipend: No information about stipend availability

Program dates: July 9 - August 15

Application Deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Open to all high school students

The Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science program, often referred to as TREES, is a remarkable opportunity for young individuals eager to explore the world of environmental science. Only a select group of eight high school students are annually chosen to collaborate individually with mentors on their designated projects. This program is fully funded, and starts with the development of fundamental laboratory skills and later transitions to self-directed research endeavors. These research projects provide students with hands-on exposure to the scientific research process and equip them with the ability to effectively communicate their findings. The program reaches its culmination when participants present their results at a public presentation. Additionally, participants will partake in a range of enrichment activities, spanning from college readiness to career exploration, enriching their overall experience.

Location: Rockaway, NY

Stipend: $1,200

Program dates: July 6 - August 17

Application Deadline: May 1st

Eligibility: 9th- to 11th-grade students who live or attend school in or near the Rockaway peninsula are eligible to apply to Environmentor. The program is entirely in-person.

The Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE) | Environmentor Internship is a dynamic program dedicated to fostering environmental stewardship and equity among high school students. The RISE Environmentor program offers students an exceptional opportunity to engage in shoreline research along the Rockaway, New York coastline, all while being guided by scientists from nearby universities and research institutions. Program participants will undergo training in water safety and CPR, in addition to enjoying summer activities like kayaking, surfing, and biking. Interns are encouraged to commit to a four-day workweek and can receive a stipend of up to $1,200 for their dedication and contributions. Moreover, students have the chance to accrue community service hours by actively participating in RISE community service weekend events.

Location: Local marine sanctuaries

Stipend: No information about stipend availability

Program dates: January 6

Eligibility: Students ages 12-18

The NOAA Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassador program is an inspiring initiative that empowers young individuals to become advocates for ocean conservation and environmental stewardship. Through this program, participants gain in-depth knowledge about marine ecosystems and engage in meaningful projects that promote ocean awareness and protection within their communities. Program participants work in their communities by spearheading projects focused on environmental and ocean conservation, such as organizing beach cleanups, and actively imparting their acquired knowledge and abilities to the local community. Ambassadors receive backing in the form of toolkits, presentations, and expert guidance to further enhance their initiatives and maximize their positive impact.

Location: The Morton Arboretum

Stipend: Yes

Program dates: Seasonal Projects

Application Deadline: April 14

Eligibility: Undergraduate or High School Student over 16

The Morton Arboretum Research Technician Fellowship is a great opportunity for individuals aspiring to delve into the world of ecological research and conservation. This program offers immersive hands-on experience in environmental science, where fellows work alongside renowned scientists and researchers on a diverse range of projects related to plant conservation, ecosystem management, and biodiversity preservation. As research technicians, participants not only gain invaluable skills in fieldwork, data collection, and laboratory analysis but also contribute to cutting-edge research efforts aimed at understanding and safeguarding our natural world.

Location: Downtown Seattle

Stipend: $18.43 an hour

Program dates: July 17 - August 18

Application Deadline: May 15

Eligibility: High school students who are at least 16

The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area's Clean Water Ambassadors Internships provide interns with hands-on experience in environmental stewardship, focusing on water quality and conservation efforts within the pristine Mountains to Sound region. Under the mentorship of experts, participants engage in critical research, restoration projects, and community outreach initiatives to protect and enhance the area's water resources. The Clean Water Ambassadors Internships not only equip students with practical skills in water monitoring and conservation but also instill a deep sense of responsibility for safeguarding our natural environments. This program fosters a commitment to preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Mountains to Sound region.

Location: Various community sites

Stipend: $2,000

Program dates: June - August

Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

Eligibility: Students aged 15 - 18

The Northwest Youth Corps' Youth Community Program is an initiative that empowers young individuals to connect with their communities through conservation and service projects. This program provides a valuable platform for youth to engage in hands-on environmental stewardship, from trail maintenance and habitat restoration to urban greening initiatives. Participants not only acquire essential skills in teamwork, leadership, and environmental science but also develop a profound sense of civic responsibility. The Youth Community Program fosters a strong bond between youth and their local environment, promoting community engagement.

It's important to do your own research on each program, visit their websites to gather application specifics and due dates, and directly contact the organizations for the most current insights into internship openings tailored to high school students interested in environmental science.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to seek advice from your school's career services department or science educators for support in identifying suitable internships within your region.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to further explore the field of environmental science and play a more direct role in uncovering parts of our past, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business!


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