Volunteering and Internships

Slope Surveys on Ocean Beach (Photo by M.J. Browatzki)

(Also be sure to check out the CCSF STEM center's page of internships.)

These organizations can be helpful if you're looking for internship or volunteer opportunities during the school year or summer. It is also possible to receive work experience credit by signing up for units with our department. Contact department chair or any of our faculty for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

Bay Area Organizations with both Internship and Volunteer Opportunities.

Internships Outside Bay Area


Volunteer Opportunities

Aquarium of the Bay -- Dedicated to educating the public on conservation issues affecting San Francisco Bay and all marine environments.

The Bay Keeper -- Protects, preserves and enhances the resources and health of the ecosystems and communities in the Bay-Delta region. Outreach programs, intern/volunteer opportunities available.

Bay Model Center -- Designed to explore some of the physical impacts of human activities on Bay-Delta waterways. Ranger guided tours of the model for groups of ten or more are available.

Community Impact -- Organizes "done-in-a-day" volunteer projects including coastal cleanup, removal of non-native plants, landscaping, construction and more.

The Coyote Point Museum -- Provides tours and classes. Coyote Point Museum is an environmental educational museum featuring live animals in natural habitats and gardens. Indoor exhibits include an aquarium and an aviary. Outdoor facilities include beach access, walking trails, picnic areas and playgrounds.

Crab Cove Visitors Center -- Dedicated to helping people understand the richness of marine environments, particularly the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and the need to protect them. Outdoor nature walks, demonstrations, lectures and special slide programs available

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve -- Dedicates itself to being a natural refuge for plants and animals adapted to live at the edge of the ocean. Volunteer Docent and paid opportunities.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary -- Manages the many uses of the Farallon reserve, including the needs of people and wildlife, while maintaining a commitment to ocean protection. To reach this goal, the Sanctuary actively conducts research involving the community in marine conservation efforts. The visitor's center provides education packets to the public.

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center -- Establishes public trails and provides open space for area residents. Field trips for school groups and the public, outreach programs, and classes are available.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum -- Dedicated to fostering a living connection between people and wildlife in order to create a deeper commitment to the welfare of the natural world. Outreach to schools, public classes, field trips and lectures available, as well as guided tours of the museum for school groups.

Marine Mammal Center -- Dedicated to ensuring the survival of marine mammals and the conservation of their habitat. They provide rescue, rehabilitation and release programs for threatened and endangered species, and collect valuable data from diagnosis and treat the animals housed on the premises. On-site and outreach classes, school tours and animal care volunteer training are available.

Mount Diablo State Park/Mount Diablo Interpretive Association -- Provides volunteer opportunities, from event organization and photography to office work and outreach.

Native Habitats -- Provides information about volunteer habitat projects in the SF Bay Area

Save the Bay -- Seeks to preserve, protect and restore the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento/San Joaquin Estuary as a healthy and biologically diverse ecosystem.

Surfrider Beach Cleanups/California Coastal Cleanup Day -- (415) 665-4155 (Surfrider hotline); Advocates ocean pollution-prevention and also offers plenty of hands-on activities through chapters all over the country. Surfrider's San Francisco chapter leads monthly cleanups at Ocean Beach.

Tiburon -- Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary -- Conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the Earth's biological diversity. School field trips and docent training are available.

U.C. Berkeley Museum of Paleontology -- Investigate and promote the understanding of the history of life and the diversity of the Earth's biota through research and education.

Watershed Project -- Creates and carries out involvement and outreach programs on creeks, wetlands and watersheds for the general public and educators in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Bay Area Organizations with both Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

California Academy of Sciences -- Provides numerous volunteer and class opportunities as well as paid summer and school-year internships. Includes Steinhart Aquarium.

East Bay Regional Park District -- The East Bay Regional Park District employs approximately two-dozen interns each year in internship projects in most of the nine different District divisions.  Each project has a 375-hour maximum; may be 37.5 hours per week for 10 weeks; 30 hours per week for 12.5 weeks; or other schedule variation to meet project and student needs.

The Exploratorium -- Creates a culture of learning through innovative environments, programs, and tools that help people nurture their curiosity about the world around them. Outreach programs, field trips and classes for children and teachers available.

Golden Gate Audubon -- Dedicates itself to the conservation of our natural resources. Focusing on wetlands and wildlife preservation, they fight for clean air and water and for stabilizing populations. Golden Gate Audubon hosts public field trips.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area -- Provides volunteer opportunities including removing non-native plants, growing native plants, working in one of the park's nurseries, restoring historic structures and protecting endangered species.

Marine Science Institute -- Provides interdisciplinary science programs to help students develop a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities. The Institute provides a variety of on-site and off-site classes. Lead 4-hr-long student trips on board their research ship – dredge bottom for sediment type and benthic life – tow for fish – plankton tow – Paid.

Monterey Bay Aquarium -- Inspire conservation of the ocean. Provides volunteer, class, and internship opportunities.

NASA/Ames Labs at Moffet Field -- Ames Community College Education and Development Program (ACCEDP) -- the ACCEDP initiative supports the NASA Education Framework by addressing the shortage of college students engaged in and pursuing careers in Science, Technology,  Engineering, Mathematics and NASA Mission Support (STEM-M). To this end ACCEDP has begun building partnerships with all Bay Area community colleges to recruit talented students to participate in internships with NASA researchers. By offering students the opportunity to work with NASA scientists and engineers, ACCEDP expands career horizons for those students and allows them to acquire technical knowledge and critical skills.

National Park Conservancey Academic Internships -- Introducing a new partnership between the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco. Available only to students currently enrolled at SF State and CCSF. (And more here at Presidio Trust.)

San Francisco Maritime National Park Association -- Educates the public about the history of San Francisco Bay and the development of the shipping and fishing industries. Overnight living history programs, teacher workshops, boat building classes and a maritime library are available.

San Francisco Estuary Project -- Increases public awareness about the Estuary's natural resources and the need to protect them. The Estuary Project provides training for teachers, naturalist led walks for children, internship and volunteer opportunities.

San Francisco Bay Joint Venture -- Protect, restore, increase and enhance all types of wetlands, riparian habitat and associated uplands throughout the San Francisco Bay region to benefit birds, fish and other wildlife.

Stanford University Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering program (SURGE) provides scholars with a research experience in a School of Earth Sciences laboratory or research group. SURGE also prepares scholars for the process of applying to graduate school, and introduces scholars to career opportunities in the geosciences. SURGE will provide a rich experience of cultural, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity for a select group of students from Stanford and other U.S. Institutions.

Tiburon -- Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary -- Conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the Earth's biological diversity. School field trips and docent training are available.


Internships Outside Bay Area

American Geophysical Institute -- Summer Internships in Geoscience Public Policy. Representing the geoscience community in Washington DC, the program actively works with Congress and federal agencies to foster sound public policy in areas that affect geoscientists, including water, energy, and mineral resources; geologic hazards; environmental protection; and federal funding for geoscience research and education.

Alaska State Parks Volunteer Program -- Provides volunteering assignments in the Alaska State Parks range from campground host, archaeological assistant, backcountry ranger assistant, museum assistant, natural history interpreter, ranger assistant, trail crew, and more! Most positions offer housing and an expense allowance.

Caltech -- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship -- Program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity.

Chevron -- Learn more about us as a potential employer while we learn more about you. Our internship opportunities enable you to use what you’ve learned, expand your knowledge and benefit from invaluable on-the-job experience. They’re a great way to explore the career choices that lie ahead of you.

Department of Energy -- Scholars Program -- Deadline -- January.  Appointments are available for a
variety of disciplines at participating DOE facilities nationwide. The DOE Scholars Program presents you with the opportunity to explore a federal career with DOE at various stages in your education.

Department of Energy - Community College Internships -- Deadline: Jan. 10 -- This  program places students from community colleges in paid internships in Science and Engineering and Technology at any of several different DOE Laboratories, including Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Stanford Linear Accelerator Labs

Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Global Change Education Program -- Provides the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) for students interested in global change research activities.

Environmental Careers Organization Internships (ECO) -- Operates a collection of programs in collaboration with a number of federal agencies, corporations, nonprofits, and state and local governments. Matches evironmental scientists with paid internships in research, academia, and private corporations.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Internships, Fellowships, and Student Programs -- Provides excellent summer opportunities are available through the EPA such as their National Network for Environmental Management Studies, and Student Environmental Associate Program and Diversity Initiative. Both programs involve hands-on work in a range of environmentally-related fields.

Geological Society of America -- Summer Geoscience Internships for Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, and Others The Geological Society of America’s “GeoCorps America” program offers short-term, paid geoscience positions on America’s public lands, including National Parks, National Forests, and Bureau of Land Management sites. These positions include GeoCorps Diversity Internships, GeoCorps American Indian Internships, and new “AstroCorps” (astronomy-related) positionsenvironmentally-related fields.

Keck Geology Consortium Student Research Opportunities -- Each year the Keck Geology Consortium has undergraduate research opportunities for approximately 51 undergraduate students in a wide variety of geological/environmental science sub-disciplines and locations. The program includes 4 weeks of summer research (field and/or lab work depending on the project), continuing research during the academic year (jointly advised by a project faculty member and a research advisor at the students home institution), attendance at the annual Keck Geology Consortium Symposium, and a publication in the annual Keck Geology Consortium proceedings volume. Students receive a $1,500 stipend and typically all travel and living expenses are provided for. Opportunities and details can be found here: http://keckgeology.org/students.

Marine Science Institute -- Provides interdisciplinary science programs to help students develop a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities. The Institute provides a variety of on-site and off-site classes. Lead 4-hr-long student trips on board their research ship – dredge bottom for sediment type and benthic life – tow for fish – plankton tow – Paid.

Marine Advanced Technical Education (MATE) -- The MATE Center is national in scope, but works through regional partnerships and provides student internships. One of the Center's main goals is to collect information from employers as to what skills, knowledge and abilities are needed for select marine related occupations. We have developed industry-driven skill and knowledge guidelines for several occupations including: ship-board (research) technician, remotely-operated vehicle technician, hydrographic survey technician, oil spill response technician, and aquaculture technician.

Marine Technology Society -- MTS plays an active role in helping students get involved in marine technology at a young age. Through MTS scholarships and internships, travelships, and information about student competitions around the world, MTS works to present and highlight opportunities for students interested in a career in marine industries. MTS also provides opportunities for students at institutions of higher learning to network with each other and with professional members through its many Student Sections, each of which is guided by a faculty councilor.

NASA (National Air and Space Administration) -- One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI) Student Online Application for NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) -- Provide education and data on marine systems pertinent to U.S. waterways.

NOAA Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) -- dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, fisheries management, enforcement, and habitat conservation. NOAA Fisheries is a leading voice for commercial and recreational fisheries and continues to focus its efforts on sustaining our marine resources as we face the challenges that the new millennium brings.

The National Park Service Geologist-in-the-Parks -- Seeks experienced earth science professional AND STUDENTS to work with park staff to help them understand and manage the geologic resources. The work varies greatly from park to park and may be broad or specific in scope. The range of needs includes fundamental research, synthesis of geologic literature, mapping, inventorying, site evaluation, developing brochures and informative media presentations, and educating staff." Paid and volunteer opportunities.

National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) -- Provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduates to join research projects each summer in the earth sciences, ocean sciences, as well as other fields. The projects vary from year to year, and are located everywhere from Alaska to Atlanta!

The Nature Conservancy -- Protects our national heritage and saves our last great places. To meet the challenging conservation goals, TNC seeks the help of qualified and motivated student interns. In return, interns are provided with meaningful projects and experiences that transfer into desired skills as these students pursue careers in science, conservation, law, forestry and a wide array of other professions.

The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology’s research experience for undergraduates program, “Exploration of Marine Biology on the Oregon Coast” (EMBOC) offers fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students from both 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities to participate in ongoing marine science research at the University of Oregon’s marine lab during the summer months. In addition to conducting research at OIMB, students will participate in weekly professional development discussions and training sessions, social activities, field trips and marine biology seminars

Promoting Research Investigation in the Marine Environment (PRIME) -- a summer internship program for community college students interested in developing research and outreach skills through hands-on experience working with marine scientists, practitioners, and marine informal educators. Two types of internships are offered through the program: Science experience, and Science Communication and Outreach.

Sierra Club -- Explores, enjoys, and protects the wild places of the Earth. They seek to accomplish this by the education and promotion of the responsible use of the Earth’s ecosystems and resources. Internships are located in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and other offices around the country.

Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) -- Headquartered at the University of Southern California, SCEC was founded in 1991 with a mission to gather data on earthquakes in Southern California and elsewhere; integrate information into a comprehensive and physics-based understanding of earthquake phenomena; and communicate understanding to society at large as useful knowledge for reducing earthquake risk.

The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) -- Provides scientific information for conserving and managing U.S. and World fisheries, populations of protected marine species and their habitats. Research is conducted to estimate the biological, environmental and economic impacts of different fisheries management options. The Tiburon lab conducts research needed to manage the region's productive salmon and ground fish resources and to protect endangered fish stocks (such as Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon) and their habitats.

Student PIRG -- Energy Service Corp -- Make a difference in your community by helping the environment and helping people to save money! Energy Service Corps, a partnership of CalPIRG and Americorps, is working to improve energy efficiency in the San Francisco community.

University of Colorado, Boulder -- Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Solar and Space Physics
The University of Colorado invites current sophomore and junior undergraduates to apply for a summer Research Experience for highly motivated students interested in solar and space physics. Students will work with scientists at the University of Colorado¹s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) or at the National Center for Atmospheric Research¹s (NCAR) High Altitude Observatory (HAO), NOAA¹s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), or North West Research Associates (NWRA) on projects spanning the field of solar and space physics, from instrument hardware to data analysis to modeling of the Sun-Earth system. Financial support: $500/week - In addition, participants will be provided with dorm housing and a food allowance. A travel stipend of $500 will be provided.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) and National Association of Geoscience Teachers -- Cooperative Field Training Program (USGS/NAGT) -- Started in 1965, the NAGT-USGS Cooperative Summer Field Training Program is the longest continuously running internship program in the earth sciences. Over the past fifty years, more than 1800 students have participated in this program with an impressive number of these individuals becoming full-time employees of the USGS.

University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) -- Ocean Discovery STEM-SEAS -- STEMSEAS takes advantage of unused berthing capacity available during transits between expeditions on the federally funded research vessel network, the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). These short (~5-12 day) transits offer a mobile classroom setting where undergraduate non-STEM, undecided-STEM, and geoscience majors can be exposed to geoscience professional practice and career exploration. 

University of California, Santa Cruz -- Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program -- A two-year program and life-long network that serves students with the highest potential to make sustained contributions as conservation innovators and leaders and to increase the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the conservation field. The program is looking for 20 passionate, creative undergraduate students from any major, currently in their freshman or sophomore years or with at least two more years of college left.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Summer Fellowships (WHOI) -- "Project topics span the vast spectrum of research in ocean sciences and engineering conducted in WHOI’s science departments and the Woods Hole Field Station of the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Fellowship recipients have the opportunity to attend and participate in a busy schedule of talks, seminars and a hands-on, one-day, ocean sampling cruise onboard the R/V Tioga focusing on data collection and sampling methods with advanced oceanographic technology and instruments."