As your internship coordinator, I can help you locate placements and evaluate organizations that you find. What I cannot do is tell you what you want. You’ll be spending a lot of time doing whatever it is you choose. So, I will normally hand you instructions for writing a short statement of purpose, which itself can be a useful exercise if the blank page is basically what your brain looks like when you think about what you want to do when you graduate 😉
As long as there are things you are passionate about, a vast array of opportunities exist locally, nationally, and even internationally. Sometimes these take a lot of advanced planning, however, so work with me months in advance–possibly even a year in advance, if you are looking for a non-local internship. We can also focus on internships with good job prospects at private-sector companies. Internships don’t necessarily have to be “anthropological,” because, as a cultural anthropologist, I can get you to think anthropologically about just about anything!
Here are some strategies for finding internships:
- Browse this gallery using the category labels that interest you. This is just a starting point, however, because students find new places to intern each and every semester.
- Work with your friendly Anthropology internship coordinator, who hears about internships all the time and has a drawer full of organizations that former students found but didn’t utilize.
- Options for working with skeletal remains are very limited, but FACTS is about as good as it gets anywhere! We can also look nationwide for other options, such as museums.
- Archaeological labs are well-represented on this internship gallery, but many State and National historic sites offer internships that include housing. Land surveying companies, CRM firms, and other agencies in the area are also options, and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers a competitive paid summer internship that can deal with not just archaeology, but many different areas of Texas cultural heritage (deadline in March!).
- Opportunities to work with non-human primates include zoos and animal sanctuaries (where much of your work will also be with other animals) or at medical research facilities. The research labs we work with invest in the proper care and enrichment of their primates. Students with a strong background in primate behavior may also have opportunities to conduct observational studies. The Texas Biomedical Research Institute has a competitive paid summer internship working with their veterinary staff (application deadline in January!). Finally, primate sanctuaries, everywhere from outside San Antonio to Hawaii, generally offer housing.
- Internships that work with groups of living people constitute the widest range of opportunities, and the challenge is mainly about narrowing your range of interests. The rest of this list focuses mainly on internships with non-profits. It’s important to be aware that organizations might not even mention internships, but opportunities may be available.
- By far, the best tool for discovering new organizations is Google (or whatever search engine you prefer). Use keywords that include both WHERE you can intern and different combinations of terms related to your interests. For example “Austin alternative medicine” or “San Antonio mental health.” Work it until you hit the right keywords. Generally, you’ll see interesting organizations pop up immediately.
- Austin’s public radio station KUT features a different non-profit organization every month. Here’s an archive of their featured non-profits
- Greenlights for Non-Profit Success lists internships in the Austin area for their member organizations.
- For internships anywhere in the country that deal broadly with environmental conservation, check out the Student Conservation Association.
- Another directory of volunteer and internship opportunities nation wide is Volunteer Match.
- BE CAREFUL: Interns have become a (usually free) commodity in today’s job market, and many, many companies now exist that profit by charging students money for the service of connecting them with internships around the world, often for two weeks of unpaid work combined with food, lodging, and tourist excursions. The quality of these for-profit services varies widely, so be cautious. I prefer to work out opportunities directly with organizations for semester-long substantive internships with little or no additional costs beyond tuition & fees.
- For internships with private-sector companies–who very often use internships as gateways to entry-level jobs–take advantage of Career Services and Jobs4Cats. Career Services has much more experience and many more contacts than I do regarding commercial employers, and they offer a full range of services for finding and applying for jobs. Better yet, if you received or are going for a degree from Texas State, their services remain available to you… forever. Note that compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act requires, in essence, that “for-profit” companies either pay interns or else structure internships clearly focused on benefiting interns instead of the business.
- Be sure to do a search on jobs.gov for internships from the Federal Government, including internships in San Antonio and Austin. Some of these are paid, and include popular options like the National Parks Service and the Smithsonian.
Important Note About On-Campus Internships
We have terrific opportunities in archaeology and forensic anthropology right here on campus. For internships with the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS), the Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS), and the Prehistory Research Project (PRP), preference is given to students who have completed at least 40 hours of volunteer work at that facility prior to applying for an internship there. That means you should be volunteering during at least part of the semester prior to the one in which you intern. This introduces you to the staff and the wide variety of projects you can become involved with at the facility. (Note: if you’re new here or have been living under a rock, visit the Department of Anthropology website for more information about these great centers.)