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New England Water Science Center - Massachusetts Office
Working With Us
Student Intern and Employment Opportunities
Gain Work Experience with the U.S. Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides data, information, research methods, computer models, and results of scientific and applied studies to the public, along with local, state and federal agencies. Internships at the USGS can enhance almost anyone's earth-science and environmental-engineering career.
The New England Water Science Center - Massachusetts Office has student internship positions and Volunteer for Science opportunities so that students may gain real-world experience while working on water resources projects throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Historically, both internships and volunteer positions have led to longer term employment with the U.S. Geological Survey and other State and Federal environmental agencies. Many high-level people throughout the U.S. geological Survey started as interns or volunteers. Projects include investigating groundwater contaminants on Cape Cod, modeling zones of contribution to public-supply wells, determining suitable stream habitat, assessing safe-yields of reservoirs, documenting the source of water to public-supply springs, and simulating watershed responses to land-use and management changes. Students will work with experienced hydrologists and geochemists who will teach them field methods and data analysis methods. Computer and team skills are important for data analysis and field work. Laboratory skills are needed for some water-quality projects. Some positions may require extensive field work. If interested, contact Peter Weiskel, Chief of the Groundwater Study Section (508-490-5026).
Here is what some students have done:
Find Our Office
Our Massachusetts Office is in Northborough, convenient to I-290, I-495 and Rt. 20.
Pay and Employment Information for Student Interns
Each year the water science center has a limited number of paid internships. Most field work is conducted over the summer, but some opportunities may exist throughout the year. There are always opportunities for work as a Volunteer for Science.
High school students are generally given a grade (GS-level) 1-3, college undergrads are usually given a grade 4-6, and graduate students are usually given a grade 7-9, depending on each persons year in school, academic performance, relevant experience, and the specifications of the internship position. Using this information you may look at your potential annual or hourly salaries.
The USGS has relatively good Employment Benefits for student interns, and these summer internships can translate to a successful career with the USGS. There are also many other intangible benefits for students who choose to work with us.
Feedback from students who have worked with us
"I began working for the USGS in July
1998. Working for the USGS has allowed me to combine science and public
service. The USGS experience has given me an understanding of managing
projects: including budgets, writing proposals for funding, scientific
investigations, working with state agencies and cooperators, integrity
in data collection and analysis, and the necessity for public outreach
efforts. Through the USGS, I was able to make contacts with other offices
and work on projects that interested me. Working for several different
projects has given me a broad experience which has made me more marketable
to the private sector as well as to graduate schools. No other place could
have provided me with the opportunities that the USGS has."
"I couldn't have asked for a better
internship immediately following my undergraduate education. The USGS
MA-RI Water Science Center welcomed me with open arms. As a field intern
I worked on a number of projects including a long-term Toxic Substances
in Hydrology study at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, a geochemical
tracer test that looked at arsenic speciation, an emerging contaminant
study on the Charles River, and a nutrient source investigation at the
Cape Cod National Seashore. Sometimes we were sampling wells in the woods,
or collecting water from diffusion samplers from aboard a raft. Other
times we needed to canoe across tidal inlets and salt marshes to get
our data. By participating in a variety of projects, I gained numerous
skills, and had the opportunity to work with several different hydrologists.
Everyone that I worked with was easy to communicate with and more than
happy to explain what we were doing and more importantly, why. Most fieldwork
was done in teams, where the interns worked alongside experienced hydrologists.
On several occasions another intern and I were given the responsibility
of collecting field data without direct supervision. In the office I
learned to use Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Excel, GIS, and SPlus to
compile data. I made several publication-quality figures that will be
used in journal articles. It was always clear that I was an integral
part of each project that I worked on."
"I worked for the USGS for several years
while I was an undergraduate student at the University of Rochester.
I acquired and developed many valuable skills such as research and data
collection and analysis. The USGS provided me with many valuable opportunities
that would not typically be available to students working in the environmental
science field, such as the chance to co-author and then eventually author
my own USGS publications. While I did the majority of my work on the
Federal Highway Project, I was also given the chance to help out with
several other different projects. This allowed me to broaden my knowledge
and skills especially with field work. These skills made me very marketable
not only to other environmental science organizations, but also graduate
schools as I am now currently pursuing my Masters degree."
"My experiences on the whole with the
USGS were extremely beneficial to my career. I've learned field, office,
and people skills to carry not just through my career but throughout
my lifetime. In the field I was taught proper sampling techniques, various
reporting methods, and shown possible ways to remedy the situations.
In the office I was able to participate in many projects as well as in
their various stages. I learned how to delegate and negotiate with a
project group as well as office personnel in order to successfully complete
the tasks at hand. I can honestly say that because of my working experience
I was able to get hired right out of school into a very competitive field."
"Working for the USGS was a positive
experience for me for several reasons. First, their work environment
promotes professional growth. I worked in a casual environment where
my input was valued. I had the opportunity to publish a USGS Report ,
and the USGS allocated resources to train me in skills such a database
design and computer programming. My stint at the USGS also opened up
career opportunities for me. I was able to transfer to the National Research
Program in Menlo Park where I had my own research project using particle
image velocimetry to quantify stream discharge. I am now an environmental
consultant in the private sector and employers in this industry have
a high regard for the experience with the USGS. In addition, the exposure
to the many scientific professionals at the USGS can certainly open up
professional contacts for any student that works there."
Volunteer For Science Benefits
The volunteer for science program can provide experience, training, and in some cases may translate to a paid job with the USGS. See information on our Volunteer for Science Program.
"I served as a USGS Volunteer
for Science in the MA-RI Water Science Center as part of my service-time
requirement to obtain the Rank of Eagle Scout. In my volunteer
internship I worked with maps, technical reports, and the USGS
geographic information server (the National Map), to estimate
the latitude and longitude of highway-runoff study sites. I used
geographic system coverages including road networks, hydrography,
land use, aerial photos, satellite imagery, and digital topographic
maps to locate these sites based on available information. I
also estimated the uncertainty of the latitude and longitude
coordinates based on the ability to identify a unique location
or locations that would best meet the information available.
The work was interesting and challenging, I received recognition
as a volunteer, and the recommendation letter I received will
be helpful in the college application process."
"I worked for the USGS as a
volunteer for science about 4 years ago when the Internet was
first taking off. My supervisor, Greg, spent a day teaching me
HTML programming, and I enjoyed making web pages for his project
during my volunteer hours in the following months. I also earned
a volunteer for science T-Shirt, coffee mug, and other neat stuff
as I volunteered more hours. Greg provided a good reference for
several research jobs I've had since working for him."
"My expectations were met and
exceeded. The internship has been a valuable experience. By trying
different projects and observing the workplace, I found out more
about what I'd like to do in my career and where I fit in the
workplace and communications field. My supervisor was exceptional.
He took the time to guide me, and realizing that I was unsure
of where I wanted my career to go, gave me a variety of assignments
to gauge my interest. The work was relevant to my academic goals.
I learned ways to effectively translate and communicate information
as well as learn how to apply my academic background and make
it useful in the workplace. I would recommend an internship with
the USGS for career development"
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