High School Research Intern 2015

Are you a high school junior or senior interested in gaining research experience? Do you like working outside and learning about plants?  If so, then our research internship may be right for you!

Team members mapping plants at one of our remnant sites

Team members mapping plants at one of our remnant sites

The Echinacea Project has conducted research experiments on tallgrass praire plants and insects in the Kensington-Hoffman area since 1995. Prairie used to cover this landscape, but it is now restricted to small patches. We focus our research on one plant, Echinacea angustifolia, the species of purple coneflower native to Minnesota, to gauge the health of native prairie plants in their current fragmented habitat. Plants in these small habitats face both ecological and genetic threats and we conduct long-term cutting edge research experiments to assess whether these populations will persist.

We’re seeking a high school student to participate in a paid, summer-long field biology internship. You will work with PhD scientists, graduate students, and college students to collect data on the ecology and evolution of the purple coneflower in prairie patches. You will participate in field research activities, gain experience in GPS and mapping techniques, learn to identify plants and insects, hand pollinate flowers, and measure plant traits. You will work on an independent project¬† with guidance from Stuart Wagenius. Your project will contribute to our main research goals and, in the process, you will learn about the evolutionary, genetic, and ecological concepts that motivate our research. You can contribute to the scientific understanding of the ecology and evolutionary biology of Echinacea angustifolia, another prairie plant species, or plant associated insects.

More information: This opportunity comes with a $400 per week stipend and we can partially reimburse commuting expenditures for the student or the student’s parent or guardian. Participants must provide their own transportation to and from the research base daily (M – F). Our study area comprises 6400 ha (25 square miles) and is based between Kensington & Hoffman. Housing is not included in the internship. The position will start in mid-June and run for 10 weeks. If you are interested, please apply!

You can read more background information about the research project and what summer field work is like. Also, check out a recent episode of Prairie Yard & Garden that featured our site. It is called “Prairie Flora: History and Future” — here’s the link: http://goo.gl/qU4bcN

Qualifications: High school student who wants to work outdoors, is patient, and has good hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skill. You must be willing to work hard in all weather conditions, and be interested in science.

How to apply: Please download the application form. You will need to send in the form (required) and your resume (optional) to echinaceaproject@gmail.com. Also, ask one of your science teachers to email a letter of recommendation on your behalf to the same email. The deadline for the application and the letter is March 21, 2015.

If you have any questions, contact us via e-mail (echinaceaproject@gmail.com) or phone (847-835-6978).

Our team of researchers, 2013.

Some of our research team, 2013.