ENVS 497: Undergraduate Internship

Receiving academic credit for your internship

There are two components necessary to fulfill the Internship Requirement: the work of the internship and the class must be completed to receive any credit. You must submit an ENVS 497 application form to the Internship Coordinator to enroll in the class. To recieve academic credit,  your internship must be pre-approved.

Application Process & Classroom Component

To fulfill the ENVS independent study requirement through the internship, you must enroll in 4 credit hours. The ENVS Department requires a minimum of 160 total work hours to meet the 4 credit hours requirement.

Your internship must be pre-approved before beginning work (if not, it may not count for internship/academic credit). The APPLICATION must be signed by both the student and internship supervisor before being submitted to the ENVS Internship Coordinator for consideration.

Deadline for fall course approval for ENVS 497: JUNE 1

You will need a permission number to register for ENVS 497. You cannot receive a permission number until your internship has been approved.

You and your supervisor will need to complete mid-internship evaluations, and the supervisor must complete a final evaluation, complete with final grade of your work. These must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator.

In addition to the actual internship work, ENVS 497 also includes a classroom component. The class meets approximately every other week during the fall semester, and will include weekly readings and writing activities. Out-of-class activities will also be required. Grading is based on written work, class participation, and attendance, along with the final grade given by the internship supervisor.

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Contact Information

Internship Administrator: Leah Thomas: leah.thomas@emory.edu

Internship Coordinator & Course Instructor: Professor Tracy Yandle: tyandle@emory.edu

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ENVS Internship Checklist

  • Find an internship! Make an appointment in the Career Center and check HANDSHAKE for opportunities.
  • Contact the Internship Coordinator for Pre-Approval of your selected internship.
  • Complete the APPLICATION FORM and have it signed by your supervisor
  • Submit the Application Form to the Internship Coordinator on or before JUNE 1.
  • Begin your internship! Work hard, learn, enjoy.
  • Respond to all correspondence from the Internship Coordinator in a timely manner.
  • Mid-Internship Self- Evaluation: will be sent from the Internship Coordinator at the mid-point of your internships
  • Employer Mid-Internship Evaluation: will be sent from the Internship Coordinator at the mid-point of your internships
  • Employer Final Evaluation: send from and submitted to the Internship Coordinator at the end of the internship experience
  • Attend the class component of ENVS 497 in the fall semester.

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TIPS for Planning and Finding an Internship

  • Talk with the Career Center and your ENVS faculty advisor about your career goals and areas of interest. The more you specifically identify your interests and goals, the more you will gain from your time as an intern and the easier it will be to obtain the internship opportunity that you want.
  • Peruse the Emory Career Center's Guide for information on how to choose an internship, interviewing, evaluating the internship experience, etc. Also, check with the Career Center for job fairs that may offer interviews and contacts for internships.

  • For the best internship experience begin planning early. For summer internships it is a good idea to begin planning in November of the Fall semester (early Spring semester is the latest you will want to wait!). For Spring semester internships begin planning in the summer (early Fall semester at the latest!). For Fall semester begin planning early in the Spring semester.

  • Don’t forget that as you go about your daily life, you are networking at every social exchange (even the seemingly most insignificant). Network skillfully - no one can be excluded as a source of possible invaluable future or present contacts!

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Finding an Internship

  • Check out internship opportunities on HANDSHAKE. Additionally, the ENVS Internship Coordinator and/or your ENVS advisor or professors may have ideas and contacts for internships.
  • At first, dream big! Initially, don’t limit yourself too much. For instance, if you would like to work with whales, Google “whale research” and see what comes up.
  • Keep in mind that while many internships will be found through applying to advertised positions, others can be located via creative networking and research. Develop as clear as possible an understanding of your interests, goals and specific skills you have to offer that will benefit the particular organization you are interested in working for. This may help you uncover valuable internship opportunities that are not publicly advertised.
  • The Student Conservation Association (thesca.org) has proven to be an invaluable and trusted resource for internship-seeking students.

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Completing an Internship and Tips for Internship Success

Based on the experiences of Dr. Yandle and previous 497 Interns, there are 10 sure-fire ways to make the best of your internship.

1. Set Personal Goals. While some internships have explicit lists of duties and training goals, others do not. So you may need to spend some time reflecting on what you would like to learn from your internship. Perhaps you would like to learn a new research or data analysis skill, or would like to learn more about the EPA. It is important for you to have reasonable and attainable goals in mind for your summer experience.

2. Have Regular Meetings with your Supervisor(s). Some of you will work very closely with your supervisors and see them daily, while others of you will have supervisors who work in the field and frequently travel. At the beginning of your internship, schedule your check in, mid-internship, and final evaluation meetings. Also, clarify with your supervisor the best times and ways to contact them.

3. Tackle all Tasks with Enthusiasm and a Positive Attitude. Even when a task is tedious and seemingly mundane, keep it in perspective. If a task is challenging, ask your supervisor or coworkers for help. Demonstrate stick-to-it-iveness. Employers understand that not all tasks are glamorous and appreciate team players who can take that in stride. Some behaviors to avoid:

  • Avoid negativity.
  • Complaining (save that for after hours with family and friends).
  • Being rude by forgetting manners. "Please" and "Thank you" go a long way when you are learning and in a new environment!
  • Profanity and cursing are inexcusable.
  • Disrespecting staff and co-workers; remember when you are an intern, administrative support staff can be your best friends. They typically know all the ins-and-outs of an institution and likely the most efficient way to get information communicated to the right person.
  • Arriving late or leaving early without your supervisor’s approval.
  • Culturally insensitive behavior and remarks.
  • Wearing improper attire. If you are unsure of the dress code, ask your prospective supervisor before the start of internship!
  • Engaging in gossip and office politics.
  • Internship is not the best place to find a mate! Avoid internship romances!!! The internship is brief, if you are truly in love wait until the end of the 10 weeks!
  • TMI- you can be friendly and engaging without openly discussing the details of your financial, personal, and social life. That’s what friends are for.

4. If your supervisor engages in these behaviors, contact the Internship Coordinator or Dr. Yandle immediately.

5. Take every Opportunity to Learn More About the Company/Industry. Attend informational meetings and company events; participate in training workshops; and read all company materials. One day this information may help you transform your internship into a job!

6. Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions. This internship is meant to be a learning experience, and you are not expected to know everything. By asking questions, seeking answers, and being open-minded, you will earn much more.

7. Take Initiative. Take initiative and offer your ideas to others. However, be sure to get feedback and “green lights” from others so as not to overstep your authority.

8. Find a Mentor. This will likely be your supervisor. For some of you with busy supervisors it may help you to find someone who has more experience than yourself but who is more junior to mentor you.

9. Network, Network, Network. Some of the contacts and connections you make at internship will be life-long. Be sure to “Link- In” with supervisors, colleagues, and co-workers. Another note: even if your internship was disappointing, leave on the best note possible. Maintain your professionalism and do not burn bridges.

10. Leave with Tangible Accomplishments. At your final meeting with your supervisor, be sure to review what you accomplished during your internship. Document the skills you learned whether it be SAS programming or marketing) and the final products (a database or a community tag sale) of your internship. This will help you write your resume, which will help you take your internship experience to work!

Most importantly…. HAVE FUN! Most ENVS 497 students find their internship experience was invaluable to them personally and professionally! Make the most of this opportunity!

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Examples of Previous Student Internships

  • Sierra Club, Atlanta, GA
  • Tsinghua Tongfang Environment Co., LTD (environmental consultants) Beijing, China
  • Southface Energy Institute (environmental education and outreach non-profit), Atlanta, GA
  • Vincenty, Heres, & Lauria (environmental engineers) San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • The Carter Center, Peace Development, Atlanta, GA
  • Georgia Public Interest Research Group (PIRG),
  • Defend Georgia’s Waters Campaign, Atlanta, GA
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, GA
  • The Nature Conservancy, Atlanta, GA
  • The Wilderness Society, Atlanta, GA
  • Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA
  • National Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C.
  • The Clean Air Campaign, Atlanta, GA
  • Student Conservation Association (SCA) & National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, WY
  • United States Geological Survey, Atlanta, GA
  • Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
  • Decatur High School Community Garden, Decatur, GA
  • Marine Resources Research Institute, Charleston, SC
  • Piedmont Park Conservancy, Atlanta, GA
  • Green Ideas Sustainability Consultants, Phoenix, AZ
  • Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA

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