Graslie Curiosity Internship

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED EACH FALL FOR SPRING INTERNSHIPS

Application deadline: Fall 2021 TBA

Behind quiet doors at the University of Montana are cabinets filled with thousands of biological specimens, from hummingbirds to flamingos, shrews to walruses, capuchin skulls to zebra pelts to jars of snakes and vials of parasites. A vast library of zoological diversity full of opportunities for education, inspiration, and discovery…

 

Emily Graslie holding skulls

Inspired by UM alum Emily Graslie and her popular online science communication series “The Brain Scoop,” the Graslie Curiosity Internship funds undergraduate students to pursue independent and interdisciplinary work in conjunction with the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum (UMZM) at the University of Montana. These internships encourage students from all backgrounds and majors to pursue a project—from technical work in the museum to an article, event, piece, or collection in any form and any medium—that helps the UMZM in its mission and spreads appreciation of natural history collections in new and engaging ways.

If you are inspired by feathers, fur, eggs, skulls, scales, bones, and more, we want you to apply!

Support

Interns will be supported during the semester with $1,600 (average 8 hours/week, 16 weeks, $12.50/hour). Depending on available funding, one or two internships will be awarded for the spring semester.

Eligibility

Any undergraduate student who will attend UM in Spring 2021 full or half time (at least 6 credits). Open to all students regardless of background, major, year, or any other factor. Students interested in some form of public outreach are particularly encouraged to apply.

Timeline

  • Application deadline: Fall 2021 TBA
  • Intern announcement: Fall 2021 TBA
  • Internship duration: Spring 2022 TBA

How to Apply

Prepare the following sections in a single PDF, and submit in an email with subject “Graslie Application – Your Name” to UMZM curator Dr. Angela Hornsby (angela.hornsby@mso.umt.edu):

  • Current CV (2 page max) including name, email address, phone number, local mailing address, major, and expected year of graduation. List recent employment, awards, service, club activities, leadership positions, and other relevant experiences.
  • Personal Essay (1 page max) explaining your academic path so far, your future interests, and what you hope to get out of the Graslie Curiosity Internship.
  • Proposal (2 page max including text, photos, etc.) with the following sections:
    • Project: Describe the project you would like to pursue. Projects may focus on technical work in the UMZM, creative opportunities stemming from the vertebrate collections, or some interdisciplinary combination thereof. Describe how your project will benefit the UMZM, either directly or indirectly through outreach. COVID UPDATE: Though not required, we welcome proposals for work that may be done mostly or entirely remotely. If you would like to talk about which projects could be done remotely, contact the curator.
    • Outreach: All projects should include some aspect of public outreach, with the goal of spreading knowledge and appreciation of natural history museums. Outreach may be the primary goal of your project, or just one aspect of it. Either way, explain who the audience for your outreach will be, how you will come in contact with them, and what you hope they learn or experience. COVID UPDATE: We are particularly looking for outreach that can be shared remotely, whether as video, photography, writings, printable resources, etc.
    • Timeline: What are the major steps or phases to achieving the project goals, and how long do you expect each step to take?
    • Resources Needed: What materials or permissions would you need for this work? A modest (up to $200) budget may be available for materials and other costs, pending approval.

FAQs

What should the project focus on?

If you're not familiar with the UMZM, we recommend watching the latest video tour to get a sense of our collections: Phillip L. Wright Zoological Museum tour

Your project can take any form or medium. The UMZM specimens, data, history, and/or future may be the direct subjects of the work, or simply serve as a point of departure. Projects may be those listed on the Current Opportunities page, or anything else you can envision and develop. This includes other technical projects you have discussed with the curator, or an interdisciplinary article, event, piece, or collection of work in any form and any medium. If you have questions about what would be feasible, or would like to see specimens or materials that you are considering framing your proposal around, contact the curator. 

COVID UPDATE: Though not required, we welcome proposals for work that may be done mostly or entirely remotely. If you would like to talk about which projects could be done remotely, contact the curator.

What should the outreach focus on?

Your outreach should focus on spreading knowledge and appreciation of natural history museums. It may focus on audiences of any age(s), occur on- or off-campus, and could either occur once or take a form that could be used or distributed many times. Examples include social media takeover, articles for UM publications or the museum newsletters, informational or promotional videos, events with outside groups, K-12 educational trunks or printable resources for classrooms, and fundraising items such as t-shirts / stickers / enamel pins, etc. If outreach isn't the primary focus of your project, it should relate to or grow from your project in some way.

The UMZM's existing audiences primarily include our social media followers, occasional tours for K-12 and other groups, and some history of outreach work with the Montana Natural History Center and spectrUM Discovery Area. Your outreach portion may focus either on engaging any of these existing audiences in new ways, or by engaging new audiences that we don't normally reach.

COVID UPDATE: We are particularly looking for outreach that can be shared remotely, whether as video, photography, writings, printable resources, etc.

What would be available for me to use?

Everything we have in the UMZM would be available for you to measure, photograph, scan, etc. A subset of our specimens would be available to use in outreach settings where they could be handled by many people, and another subset (such as loose bones and feathers) would be available for destructive use. A modest budget up to $200 may be available for materials and other costs, pending approval. If you have questions about what would be feasible, or would like to see specimens or materials that you are considering framing your proposal around, contact the curator.

Can I use this internship to work in another museum?

The internships are based in the UMZM and should draw primary inspiration from our vertebrate and associated collections. However, we enthusiastically welcome cooperation with other museums (UM Paleontology Center, UM Herbarium, Montana Museum of Art and Culture, Mansfield Library Special Collections, etc.) if relevant to your project or outreach.

Can I collaborate with another student?

Yes, collaborative applications are encouraged. In this scenario, two students will develop a single, shared application together. The application package should be submitted together with the single proposal but separate CVs and personal statements. Each student’s contribution in the proposed work should be made clear in the proposal. See the Application Judging section below to understand how collaborative applications would be funded, if awarded.

What have past interns done?

See our Past Staff page to learn more.

Application Judging

Applications will be judged by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty and staff from the University of Montana and its partners. The panel will rank applications based on (1) benefit to the UMZM and/or outreach audiences, (2) feasibility, (3) creativity, and (4) relevance of the internship experience to the student’s current or future interests. Internships will be awarded to the one or two top-ranked applications, depending on availability of funds.

Collaborative applications: If one of the two top-ranked applications is collaborative, the internship hours will be split between the cooperating students (two internships of 4 hours/week). In the case of an exceptional collaborative application, the panel may choose to award both internship lines to that project, and thus fund each collaborating student with a full internship (two internships of 8 hours/week).

Institutional Support

The Graslie Curiosity Internships are supported by:

  • Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum
  • Friends of the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum
  • University of Montana Division of Biological Sciences