Above photo courtesy of current CONS student Liz Shotman.
An internship experience is a required part of the CONS curriculum. It serves multiple purposes, including an introduction to a real-world employment situation, a chance to look over a potential employer from the inside, and a possible introduction to a topic for the required scholarly paper.
Most students complete this requirement during the summer between their two academic years of coursework, and most find internships in the DC area, but other options are available if you wish to pursue them.
A CONS internship is an opportunity for professional and scholarly development through the auspices of a conservation or development agency. An understanding is reached between the student and the supervisor such that the student will have the opportunity to explore a complex conservation issue and the working environment of the agency.
Download detailed overview of internship and scholarly paper process (PDF).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does the internship have to be full-time?
A: No, a CONS internship can be a full-time summer position, a part-time position during the school year, etc. Arrangements are up to the student.
Q: How long should the internship last? A: Internships should be long enough for you to make a significant contribution to the organization where you work. This might be full-time for two or more months in the summer, or part-time for a semester or year.
Q: Can I volunteer?
A : Yes. Volunteering can allow students to work in environments where they otherwise may not yet be qualified. However, if you can find an appropriate paid internship, that's even better! Q: Where should I look for an internship position? A: Ask your fellow students (especially the second-year cohort), ask the CONS Office, keep your eye out for messages on the CONS listserv and bulletin board, take advantage of alumni contacts, etc. Look for an internship that will further your career goals. (Note: alumni contact information is available only to enrolled CONS students.)
Q: Can I write my scholarly paper as part of the internship experience?
A : Certainly, if you and your supervisor can find a topic for a paper that will both satisfy a need for the sponsoring organization and fulfill your scholarly paper topic. We actually highly encourage this approach.
Q: What paperwork is required to confirm my internship?
A : Once you identify an internship, you will need to prepare a proposal that describes the internship in detail and how the internship fits in with your Plan of Study as well as your career goals. After you complete your internship, you will need to prepare an Internship Report describing the experience with a focus on the biological, policy, and/or economic knowledge you gained and any insights or products you developed from the internship.