College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

LOOKING FOR AN INTERNSHIP

When should I start looking for summer internships?

The most selective internships (in terms of GPA or previous experience) have very early deadlines, so start now!

  • Large internship programs (like the SCA) also start very early… but you can also wait until the last minute, provided you are flexible. 
  • I once had a student who came to me in April; she was “willing to work anywhere, provided it was West of the Mississippi!”  She ended up surveying desert tortoises on the CA/NV border – and had a great time! 
  • The SCA also provides housing, uniforms, a basic stipend (grocery money, basically), and excellent training.

Spring Break is a great “starting point” for most internships and some will be advertised right up until mid-May.

How many internships should I apply for?

At least 10-15, especially if you have limited prior experience! When you are starting out, any experience is good experience; and it will likely be unpaid, unless you are among the lucky few.  As you move forward, however, your beginner experiences will help you identify your strongest areas of interest; and, the skills developed will become the qualifications for selective (and/or paid!) internships later in your academic career. 

If you are applying for highly competitive internships, like REU’s (or, later, graduate programs), “matching” your qualifications to specific program requirements/focus area is very important.  You will be wasting your time, and your recommender’s time, to apply to “any old program.”  Make thoughtful choices early about your strongest interests, and follow them rather than “scattershot” applying. Top limit for applications to this kind of internship would be 3-4, max.

 

THE INTERNSHIP PROPOSAL

What should I write about for my research paper?

As part of the internship, students should submit a 10-12 page academic research paper with an annotated bibliography.  Your paper should connect the content of your internship with the content of your concentration. 

Some examples:

  • “The movement of volatile organic compounds through the soil as a result of underground storage tanks and the remediation of such” – Concentration: Soil, Water and Land Resources
  • “The negative impacts of the privatization of water on poor communities in the United States” – Concentration: Politics & Policy
  • “The role of urban development on non-point source pollution in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area” – Concentration: Marine and Coastal Management

Who do I pick for my faculty advisor/sponsor?

Most students choose the faculty advisor for their ENSP concentration since they've already established a relationship with them, but may also be a faculty member that specializes in your area of interest or one that you have worked closely with before.  Identify this person early in the process!

I can’t get in-person signatures from my site supervisor and/or faculty advisor.  What do I do?

You can send your proposal to these individuals and ask them to e-mail Angela with the statement: "I have read (your name's) internship proposal; and I agree to supervise (your name) and complete an internship evaluation."

 

COMPLETING THE WORK

How often should I meet with my faculty sponsor/advisor during the semester?

Before your internship, meet with your faculty sponsor to choose an internship well-suited to your long-term plans and/or academic interests; explore and propose possible research topics that connect the content of your internship with the content of your concentration.

During your internship, arrange at least one meeting with your site supervisor (one-third/one-half of the way through) to gain feedback on your performance.  It takes work to supervise an intern – by making the job easier for them, you are making yourself a better intern!

During the semester, consult with your faculty advisor at least three times: Once, to confirm your paper topic (in September) and expectations re: “the perfect research paper.”  Minimum qualities of the “perfect research paper” can be found below, for general reference; once to confirm the direction your paper is taking (mid-October/early November); and again to confirm the Due Date (December 1 in Fall and May 1 in Spring).

How am I graded?

Your Faculty Sponsor will assign a grade based on the high quality of your Internship Portfolio.  A complete packet includes the following – and should be submitted in hard-copy format, in a folder:

  1. A 10-12 page academic research paper with an annotated bibliography (guidelines below).
  2. A record of hours worked, i.e., your “time sheets,” with days/hours clearly marked and totaled.  You need at least 120 hours on-site to earn 3 academic credits.
  3. A weekly reflection journal (guidelines below)
  4. An evaluation from your site supervisor (see last page of this packet). 
  5. A newly-updated resume that now includes your internship experience.

The Due Date for your Internship Packet (your research paper and supporting documentation (weekly log, personal reflections, supervisor evaluation) is December 1 (Fall Semester) or May 1 (Spring Semester).

 

EARNING CREDIT

I’m in the Federal Semester Program – can I use the internship requirement for ENSP386?  

Speak with your faculty advisor.  In most cases, the Federal Semester internship can be used “in place of” ENSP386, as long as you receive credit and a grade for the experience (no pass/fails!)

Can I get credit for more than one internship at UMD?

Yes!  However, you cannot repeat the same course.  For example, you cannot get credit for ENSP386 twice, but, you could essentially take ENSP386 and FGSM398 and get credit for both since they are different courses from different programs.

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