High School Research Intern 2024

stu demo

Stuart shows RAHSS participant Shea (2019) how to collect pollen from a flowering Echinacea plant

Applications for summer 2024 are closed. Check back next year!

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

The Echinacea Project has conducted research experiments on tallgrass prairie 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 devote a lot of effort to Echinacea angustifolia, the species of purple coneflower native to Minnesota. But we also investigate other plants and insects, including native bees, to gauge the health of native prairies in their current fragmented habitat. Plants and insects 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, collect pollinating bees, 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 $540 per week stipend plus partial-to-full reimbursement for commuting. Commuting reimbursements can be paid to 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 June and run for 9-10 weeks. If you are interested, please apply!

You can read more background information about the research project and what summer field work is like. To learn more about fire and prairie plants, check out this video that we made.

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

How to apply: Fill out the application form (required) and send your resume (optional) to echinaceaproject@gmail.com. Also, ask one of your teachers to email a letter of recommendation on your behalf to the same email. The teacher should be someone who can speak to your character and academic performance; we would prefer that they be a science teacher, but anyone who knows you well is appropriate. Please submit your application by March 6, 2024 at 11:59 pm CST. To ensure that your application is thoroughly considered, submit by the deadline. However, we will review applications until positions are filled. 

If you have any questions, contact us via e-mail (echinaceaproject@gmail.com).

Daytona (RAHSS participant 2022) measures the longest leaf of an Echinacea plant. Photo credit: Geena Z


Alexa (RAHSS participant 2023) collects pollen from an Echinacea plant