Research Intern 2016

Ideal positions for graduates and soon-to-be-graduates interested in plant population biology, evolution, or conservation ecology.

One 12-month paid internships starting in June 2016 are available for individuals with an interest in ecology or evolution and a commitment to conservation. We are looking to assemble a team of research interns with diverse skills and interests. We encourage individuals with a bachelor’s degree in biology, botany, entomology, statistics, computer science, or a related major to apply. This internship is a great opportunity for aspiring ecologists, conservation biologists, and evolutionary biologists to gain research experience and learn about the ecology and evolution of plants in fragmented prairies!

Job description

As a research intern, you will contribute to ongoing research on the conservation genetics, reproductive biology, and demography of the prairie plant Echinacea angustifolia. Summer fieldwork occurs in western Minnesota and greenhouse and lab activities are at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Interns will have the opportunity to conduct an independent research project. This project may involve field research, germinating seeds in the lab, organizing and analyzing a dataset, developing computer software, or other activities depending on the intern’s goals and interests. Potential project topics include: flowering phenology, mating compatibility, plant-aphid-ant interactions, plant quantitative genetics, and plant-pollinator interactions.

As an intern, you will participate in a variety of research and conservation-related activities, attend seminars, and interact closely with conservation scientists, graduate students, interns, researchers, and volunteers associated with Plant Conservation Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the graduate program in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern.

Desired skills and experience for all applicants include: collecting and managing data, completing tasks independently and on time, conducting experiments, using maps, communicating clearly in writing, paying attention to detail, and working effectively with diverse people, including scientists, volunteers, students, and interns. Additionally, we will assemble a TEAM including interns with complementary skills and interests above and beyond those listed above. Other valuable interests or experience include but are not limited to: performing outdoor physical work in adverse conditions, conducting statistical analyses, computer programming, using R, supervising citizen scientists, mentoring students, conducting artificial crosses, organizing and curating specimens, automating systems, outreach, growing plants, and identifying insects. If you are interested, please apply and let us know what you can contribute!

Read more about what it’s like working and living in Minnesota.

Applications will be reviewed starting 4 March 2016. The salary starts at $12/h. Housing in Minnesota during the summer is included.

How to apply

  1. Please fill out the form at this link.
  2. In one email to, send a cover letter, your resume, and a transcript (unofficial OK). Use the subject line: “12-month research intern application” and format your cover letter, resume, and transcript as pdf files. Begin each file name with your surname.  Please ask one of your references to send a letter of recommendation to
Ilse looking for Echinacea plants at one of our sites

Ilse looking for Echinacea plants at one of our sites

In your cover letter, please include:

  • why you are interested
  • why you are qualified
  • what are your future plans
  • when you can start
  • contact info of your references
  • your email and phone number

Review of applications will begin on 4 March 2016. We’ll accept applications until the position is filled. Be sure to include an email address and phone number where you can be reached after March 4th.

Members of groups underrepresented in science are particularly encouraged to apply.

You are welcome to apply to multiple positions with Team Echinacea with the same application. Please indicate which positions you are interested in on the form you submit with your application.

More information

Read about this project’s background and papers and learn about our daily activity on our flog. Read more about plant research at the Chicago Botanic Garden. If you have any more questions, contact Stuart via e-mail or phone (847-835-6978).