I2S Available Internships

ONLY students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for an I2S internship:

  • Enrolled full-time and in good academic standing at the Flagstaff Mountain campus at the time of application and at the commencement of an internship
  • Admitted as a degree-seeking student pursuing a first bachelor's degree
  • Successfully completed at least one full-time semester at NAU
  • Completed less than 75 semester hours (including transfer credits) when the internship begins.
  • International students: Check with your international adviser in CIE to determine your eligibility for employment at NAU

The application period for the Fall 2017 semester internships is August 1 - September 17, 2017.

APPLICANTS: Consult the I2S Student Information and Student FAQ pages for application advice and more information about the program. 

NOTE: To log into the application form, your NAU password must NOT have special characters such as these (?, period, [, {, }, ], |). If your password has one or more of these characters, you will need to first change your password in the NAU system.
Interested in what the application requires? This document lists the required information on the application form.


You should receive an email with your application responses.

You may apply for up to 3 internships during this application period. However, each internship will require a completing a SEPARATE application form. When you have completed and submitted your first application, you may log in again and complete the next one.  A word of advice: Be sure to tailor each application to the specific activities and expectations described for that position.

All communications or questions regarding these I2S internships, including the responsibilities, requirements, timeline, applications, and selection processes, should be directed to the Undergraduate Research Coordinator.

Fall 2017 Internships (Applications will be accepted August 1-September 17)

The Internship ID number is shown to the left of the title (e.g., F17.001)

F17.001: Understanding what Ancient People Ate: Stable Isotope Analysis of Animal and Human Remains from Archaeological Contexts in Peru

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  Using animal and human remains (bone, teeth) from archaeological sites in Peru, stable isotope analysis gives us individual information about diet (carbon, nitrogen), climate, and migration (oxygen). We will compare information from two different sites in Peru to understand how people lived in the past. These types of analyses can shed light on how people coped with climate change.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The student will learn to clean and process archaeological samples for stable isotope analysis. Additionally, the student will learn theory behind stable isotope analysis and what we can learn about diet, climate, and migration in past societies.

Other benefits to the student:  Lab skills that the student can take with them. Working within a lab group with finite samples will hone a student's organizational and interpersonal skills and make them a good prospect for employment in a biology lab or in graduate school. I would support the student presenting results on this project at the undergraduate research symposium. All of my previous lab interns have presented their work.

Time commitment: 4 hours a week/ for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  If the student has taken chemistry and/or anthropology classes, it would be helpful.

Faculty mentor:  Corina M. Kellner

F17.002: Optimization of Molecular Markers for Feral Horse Genetics

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  The intern will contribute to an ongoing project designed to inform feral horse management in Central Arizona. Techniques the intern will use involve DNA extraction, quantification, and amplification; genetic fingerprinting; and population genetic structure analysis.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The intern will learn common laboratory techniques including pipetting, reagent handling, stoichiometric calculations; use of common laboratory equipment (centrifuges, thermocyclers, spectrophotometer, genetic analyzer); perform tissue digestion, DNA extraction and quantification, gel electrophoresis, DNA amplification using PCR, and microsatellite analysis in the Environmental Genetics & Genomics Lab. At the end of the internship the intern will have the opportunity to expand his/her synthesis and public presentation skills. The intern will be encouraged to summarize his/her findings in a poster to be presented at NAU’s Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium. The skills that will be learned are industry standards and useful in a variety of life science fields, including conservation biology, health sciences, and biomedical research and engineering.

Other benefits to the student:  The intern will gain hands-on work experience in a molecular biology lab, acquire advanced skills in genetic analysis, participate in cutting-edge population genetics analysis, and contribute to the management of feral horses. This activity will provide a professional development experience that can clarify and solidify the intern’s understanding and expectations of research and scholarly activities.

Time commitment:  6 hours a week/ for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  The intern should have a GPA no less than 3.0, have excelled (with a grade of A or B) coursework in basic biology, chemistry, genetics and/or molecular biology. In addition, personal skills such as patience, attention to detail, and perseverance would increase the intern’s likelihood of success.

Faculty mentor:  Russell Benford 

F17.003: Prediction of Wind and Solar Power Resources using State-of-the-Art Computational Modeling

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  With the impending changes in fossil-fueled power generation, especially on the Navajo reservation, opportunities exist for new power generation from renewable energy resources. With regard to northern Arizona, there are good wind and solar power resources. Translating these resources into actual predictions of power with related economic measures (e.g., cost of energy, etc.) is the goal of this research.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The intern will gather existing data sources of wind speed and solar irradiance, and translate these data into power predictions and cost estimates. The bulk of this work will be done using up to three software packages, depending on the progress of the student: WindPro/WAsP, Meteodyn WT, and the System Advisor Model (SAM). These software packages are industry standards, and NAU owns a single-seat license of the first two, with SAM being freely available from the US Department of Energy. The intern will first learn these software packages (at least one, likely two of them, and possibly all three), apply them to previously studied problems in order to verify proper operation and results, then apply them to make new predictions. The actual target study areas will likely be Gray Mountain (near Cameron AZ), north of Leupp, AZ, or possibly on the Hopi Ranches south of I-40, east of Flagstaff. Selection of the sites will be made in partnership with colleagues in the Hopi Renewable Energy Office, the Navajo Nation, the US Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Other benefits to the student:  Benefits include working in a research group, learning state-of-the-art software packages and applying engineering skills in a real project. Results from this work will be shared with the people collaborating from Hopi, Navajo, etc.

Time commitment:  6 hours a week/for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  Be an engineering major, having taken an introductory computer class (e.g. CS 122, etc.)

Faculty mentor:  Tom Acker

F17.004: Acoustic Ecology of Bark Beetles

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  The student will learn how bark beetles communicate using sounds and how these sounds affect bark beetle ecology. The student will learn how to record bark beetles, analyze their sounds, and play back these sounds into trees to influence bark beetle mating and survival.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The student will record live bark beetles in the lab and field (i.e. trees) and learn how to analyze these sounds. Bark beetle species have unique sounds and a variety of sounds that they use to communicate with each other and other species within trees. The student will learn how to use acoustic equipment to record beetles’ sounds and identify different bark beetle species. The student also has to opportunity to work with bark beetle predators such as wood peckers and predatory insects that feed on bark beetles. The student will have the opportunity to work both in the lab and in the forest.

Other benefits to the student:  The student will be working with other undergraduate students and a visiting scholar from New Zealand who specializes in acoustic analyses of insects. It is very likely that the student's participation will result in a scientific presentation and publication.

Time commitment:  5 hours a week/for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  Experience with using a compound microscope. One class in biology, entomology, forestry, or related field.

Faculty mentor:  Richard Hofstetter

F17.005: Evaluation of Wildfire Management Strategies to Enhance Highly Valued Resources and Assets

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  Although wildfire knows no boundaries, the decision support process developed for wildfire response strategies and tactics is highly sensitive to agency, department, region, vegetation types, and varying cultures and missions that exists across agencies. The 2009 Guidance for Implementation of the Federal Fire Policy outlines 17 policy areas and their management intents and implementation actions. The 2009 wildfire policy guidance allows for multiple wildfire management strategies on a single fire resulting in increased decision space and strategic options for agency administrators and incident commanders. Due to this policy guidance, fire managers are encouraged to use strategies and tactics to manage wildfires in order to increase firefighter and public safety, reduce fire suppression costs, and achieve land and resource management objectives. The goal of this research project is to conduct the retrospective analyses to evaluate and quantify the effects of changing wildfire management strategies on resource management in the Southwest since issuance of 2009 wildfire policy guidance. 

What the student will DO and LEARN:  Highly valued resources and assets such as municipal watersheds, ecosystem function, infrastructure, wildlife habitat, and recreation values are important to local communities, and these resources can be affected by wildfire response strategies and tactics.  Our major goal is to quantify the effects of changing wildfire response strategies and tactics by identifying regional trends in burn severity to evaluate the effectiveness of the 2009 wildfire policy guidance.  Specifically, the student intern will use the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) data which map burn severity and perimeters of fires across the United States since 1984 to quantify total area burned and area burned by burn severity in the southwestern region.  Additionally, the Incident Status Summary, also known as the “209”, includes up-to-date fire operations intelligence and information associated with the wild land fire management incidents and resources since 1999, and the 209 report data provide daily ‘snapshots’ of the wild land fire management situation and individual incident information (i.e., costs, critical resource needs, fire behavior, fire size).  The student intern will learn how to read the 209 reports and use report data to synthesize how appropriate resources are allocated during multiple incident occurrences, and how the change in the 2009 wildfire policy guidance affected wildfire outcomes in terms of burn severity.

Other benefits to the student:  The student intern will learn about current fire management policy and how to evaluate the impacts of changing wildfire management response strategies and tactics in the southwestern region.  Additionally, this student intern will have the opportunity to work with two doctoral students whose dissertation topics are related to wildfire ecology and economics.  The student will learn about the topics of fire ecology, applied fire science, remote sensing and GIS.  Moreover, the student will learn how to couple data sets to perform research, how to retrieve data from fire reporting system and how to create, organize and examine data to assure data quality.    

Time commitment:  6 hours a week/ for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  Basic Excel and statistics skills.  Interest in GIS and remotely sensed burn severity data. 

Faculty mentor:  Ching-Hsun Huang 

F17.006: Biodiversity Discovery from Non-Invasive Samples using Genetic Tools

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  The Bat Ecology and Genetics Lab is an interdisciplinary team in the School of Forestry and the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI). We have a suite of projects concerning bats and other taxa, most of which involve determining species and diet from non-invasively collected genetic samples (feces, soil, water). The student intern will support our work on bats and an endangered mouse, and will be based at PMI. Specifically, the intern will assist with a project attempting to isolate target DNA from water samples, learn basic laboratory methods (PCR), assist with an Access database of samples, and improve our website. Activities can be tailored to the particular interests of the intern.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The intern will perform basic lab work in a state of the art genetics facility (PMI). This includes learning sterile technique, pipette use, and PCR. The student will organize DNA, and learn how to enter new samples into an Access database. The intern will improve STEM outreach through our website and Species from Feces search tool, learning web content management and Excel. The student will attend our weekly meetings, and learn how an interdisciplinary science team asks and answers questions in wildlife conservation and management.

Other benefits to the student:  The student will be exposed to a well-equipped genetics facility where world-class research occurs, and will be able to interact with the other undergraduates that are employed by PMI.

Time commitment:  6 hours a week/ for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  Excellent organizational skills

Faculty mentor:  Faith Walker

F17.007: Sex from the Margins: Global History of Sexology from India, 1930-50s

Description of the project that the student intern will support:  The student intern will help with archival and secondary research for my last book chapter. The student will work closely with me to identify relevant documents from primary sources that I use for my research. The primary documents include journals and other printed materials that can be ordered via Cline. Besides helping me identity materials from primary documents, the student will also work with me to draw up a list of important secondary readings relevant for the chapter on male sexuality.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  As I mention above, this would be a hands on training for an undergraduate student, in terms of understanding what is involved in undertaking academic research for publication. I would also train the student in historical methodology more specifically. This would mean working with primary documents and reading them carefully for information relevant to the project. This would enhance the undergraduate student's research experience and help them undertake their own research projects in the future, with a better understanding of what is involved in research geared towards publication. This would be valuable training, for not too many students have the opportunity to work with professors in the Social Sciences and the Humanities on a research project; I2S in a unique program in that sense.

Other benefits to the student:  It would give the student the confidence in undertaking future research projects either towards their degree completion or beyond. The student would also gain greater familiarity working with search engines such as google scholar and worldcat.org.

Time commitment:  6 hours a week for 10 weeks

Additional qualifications:  A student interested in exploring histories of gender and sexuality. Ability to navigate the web.

Faculty mentor:  Sanjam Ahluwalia

F17.008: Gender Bias in Political Science's Monkey Cage Blog

Description of the project that the student intern will support: In 2007, a group of political scientists started a blog called The Monkey Cage with the goal of deciphering current politics in an informed yet accessible way. A few years later, the blog broadened its audience when it began appearing in the Washington Post newspaper. In several early posts, the blog focused on the issue of the gender gap in political science including the infrequency of citations given to females and the underrepresentation of women in tenured professorships. In illuminating this problem, the blog opened itself up for critique. That is, does The Monkey Cage blog practice what it preaches? Do they promote political science research on their blog equally for men and women? In order to determine if the blog is biased, an intern would examine a sample of posts to determine whether more male or females are authors. The intern would also determine if the scholars cited within the posts are more likely to be male or female. This research is significant because The Monkey Cage blog is arguably the most visible image of the discipline. Therefore, it is important to know whether the public face of political science is promoting male and female research equally.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will collect data from The Monkey Cage blog beginning September 15-December 8, 2015. These dates coincide with the previous research so that the results can be compared. The intern will learn how to use a newspaper database. The student will collect information from each day's blog posts such as who authored the posts (male or female) and who was cited within the posts (male or female). The intern will use Excel or a similar program to organize and enter the data. Therefore the student will learn to collect and code original data and use Excel. The intern will also be required to hypothesize about the results and analyze the data they collected using Excel.

Other benefits to the student: The student will also gain an understanding of implicit bias in general and hopefully gain insights into their own implicit biases. Regardless of the results of the data collection and analysis, the intern will learn that we have unconscious biases simply by engaging in the work of this study. By thinking about gender, and hopefully other types of bias, the student will have opened their mind to understanding bias which is one way we can curb its effects.

Time commitment:  6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Faculty mentor:  Marija Bekafigo