NAGT/USGS Cooperative Summer Fellowship Program
About the program
The USGS places interns wherever the project scientists need them, typically during the summer. Interns have been based out of Reston, VA; Menlo Park, CA; Miami, FL; St. Petersburg, FL; Denver, CO; Woods Hole, MA; Baltimore, MD; Seattle, WA; Dover, DE; Trenton, NJ; Vancouver, WA; Indianapolis, IN; Lincoln, NE; Columbia, SC; Santa Cruz, CA; and many other locations. A scholarship fund established in 2023 can help defray the expenses of moving to the internship location. Interns employed through this program are hired at a rate commensurate to their educational level and experience, typically at a GS-5 Grade, Step 1, with an adjusted locality payment. In addition to providing valuable, real-world science experiences for students, the internships open a doorway to potential long-term employment with the USGS.
Nomination and selection process
New nomination process starting in 2023!
Department and program heads and chairs will be invited to nominate a student who meets the following criteria for eligibility:
- Current senior standing or has graduated with a geoscience degree within the last six months
- Successful completion of a capstone experience, which could include field camp, a senior research project or thesis, or similar experience that meets capstone learning outcomes
- Shows promise and for whom the internship could be transformative
- US citizen
The most successful interns are curious, flexible, have good foundational training, and an ability to work with a degree of independence appropriate for an advanced undergraduate.
The nomination materials consist of:
- Student name and contact information
- Brief description of the capstone experience the student has successfully completed
- Statement about why this student is being nominated, referring to the eligibility requirements and characteristics of successful interns
An NAGT committee will compile the nominations and check that all nominees meet the eligibility requirements. The list of nominees and their materials will be sent to the USGS Youth and Education in Science (YES) office. The USGS will contact students and invite them to apply for an internship by providing a letter of interest, their resume, and transcripts. At the same time, USGS scientists interested in working with interns will be sending information about field, laboratory, or office-related scientific projects to the YES office. The USGS will then match candidates according to skills and interests with up to five projects. The list of matched candidates is then sent to USGS scientists for discussion, review, interviews, and selection. USGS personnel make final selections, hiring the selected nominees for available field, laboratory, or office related scientific positions throughout the country for up to 5 months.
- October 30: Deadline for submitting nominations
- November: USGS YES office invites applications from nominated students
- December: Student applications are due to the USGS YES office
- February – March: Selections are made
Contact the Executive Secretary, Kurt Burmeister (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Support for interns - Gary Fuis and Stacey Andrews Scholarship
Gary Fuis (1944-present) is a Scientist Emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Science Center. Gary was also a NAGT/USGS Cooperative Summer Fellowship Program intern in 1966, the program's first year. Stacey Andrews (1951-2020) worked for the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Alaskan Geology and Division of Water Resources. She was also an avid and talented painter (see right, "Dream Horses"). High-resolution images (.jpegs) of Stacey's paintings can be obtained from Gary Fuis.
Started in 1965, the NAGT/USGS Cooperative Summer Fellowship Program is the longest-running internship program in the Earth sciences, placing its first six interns in 1966. Since it began, more than 2800 students have participated in this program with a large number going on to become full-time employees of the USGS.
This cooperative program was launched at the Geological Society of America meeting in Kansas City in early fall of 1965 when William "Bill" Pecora, then the newly appointed Director of the USGS, held a meeting with a small group of distinguished professors and officers of the NAGT. Pecora felt strongly that the USGS needed to be more engaged in geological education. He had a plan for how this might be accomplished and wanted to get the professors' reactions to an initiative that would provide better linkage to academia while, in the process, providing better summer field assistants for the USGS. Pecora suggested that the USGS would provide support by way of internships for outstanding undergraduate geoscience majors, while NAGT would advertise the program to faculty and students, solicit nominations, distribute applications, and assist in processing all materials.
On the NAGT side of the partnership, the program is run by an Executive Secretary. That position has been held by:
- Jacob Freedman, Franklin and Marshall College (1967–1979)
- Marv Kaufman (interim), (1979)
- Thomas Hendrix, Grand Valley State University (1980–1992)
- K. Rachel and Richard A. Paull, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (1993–1999)
- Beth Lincoln, Albion College (2000–2002)
- Penny Morton, University of Minnesota–Duluth (2003–2018)
- Kurt Burmeister, California State University–Sacramento (2018–present)
You can read about the first three years of the program in a 1968 article in the Journal of Geoscience Education by John Moss, entitled THE NAGT-USGS COOPERATIVE PROJECT: A new focus on education in field geology.