For Students


When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is February 1 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time.

The RESESS Internship is a multi-summer research experience, primarily funded by NSF, that is dedicated to increasing diversity in the geosciences. RESESS encourages applications from individuals who are members of a group that is historically underrepresented in the Earth or environmental sciences and from students who can demonstrate experience working towards raising awareness about the importance of the geosciences among broad or diverse segments of the population.

Who is eligible to participate?

  • Citizens and permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Full-time students who are generally sophomores or juniors in college.
  • Students who are majoring in math, physics, geology, geophysics, physical geography, chemistry, or closely related topics.
  • Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Students from populations that are underrepresented in the Earth sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

Is biology okay as a major?

If the student has course experience in geology, physical geography, environmental sciences in addition to biology, they will be considered for the program and should consider applying. The applicant must be willing to consider doing a research project that uses biology in the context of geology. For example, a project might focus on studying plant fossils, or the spatial relationship between plant diversity and underlying bedrock type.

I am interested in atmospheric sciences or atmospheric-ocean interactions. Is this the internship for me?

Please visit our partner internship program, SOARS, which has opportunities in the atmospheric sciences and atmospheric-ocean interactions. This will be a better match for you. RESESS does match students up with projects on climate change records ice core records, glacier retreat patterns, hurricane trends, and more. If you are interested in ecology & engineering, please visit the NEON internship's website.

When is the summer internship program?

The program runs from late May to early August.

How many summers can I participate in this program?

In general, interns may participate in the program for up to two summers.

Is there help with travel costs?

Travel to Boulder, CO, is paid for and arranged by RESESS.

Is there help with housing?

Housing is provided at Bear Creek Apartments for duration of the summer internship. Typically an intern will share a two-bedroom (dorm-style), two-bathroom apartment with three other RESESS interns. Interns from UNAVCO's other internship program, Geo-Launchpad, also reside in the same apartment complex.

Will I get paid for my work?

Yes. Interns are paid a competitive weekly stipend for eleven weeks of the summer.

Will I do research on a topic that I'm interested in?

Most likely, yes. One of the unique aspects to RESESS is that we do our best to find a project that matches the skills and interests of the student. Each student has their own project which will be the focus of their work, writing, and presentations over the summer. Examples of topics of focus include: slope or stream hydrology, earthquakes, plate tectonics, glaciers, water quality, geophysics, mineralogy, geomorphology, and many more.

We are also interested exploring a project or idea that grew out of needs in their community, or that the student believes needs attention. We will work with the community and try to find a science mentor in Boulder who would be interested in such a project. In your application, you will get to indicate what your primary fields of interest are in the geosciences, and we will try to pair you up with a project in that area.

Where will I do my research?

In their first summer, interns work closely with a scientist at one of: (1) the University of Colorado at Boulder, (2) Colorado School of Mines, or (3) another local research institution. One day a week is dedicated to RESESS activities and takes place at UNAVCO in Boulder.

What kind of mentoring support will I get?

Each intern will have a science mentor or team, a communications mentor, and will participate in a weekly Writing Workshop and Communications Seminar. A writing instructor will guide interns through the process of writing a scientific paper based on their own research. Interns take part in workshops on making a scientific poster, and practicing giving oral presentations on their research. The Communications Seminar will introduce students to professional and informal communications, including resume and CV preparation and review, and uses of social media to communicate about you and your science.

What kind of professional development training will I get?

Interns will have the following opportunities to:

  • Work on their résumés/CU and receive feedback
  • Develop a short (10-12 minute) scientific talk
  • Learn how to write a scientific abstract
  • Submit a research abstract to a national conference
  • Learn how to make a scientific poster and present it

Will I need a car to get around?

No. RESESS interns usually don’t have cars. There is a good bus system in Boulder and there are excellent bike paths. Grocery shopping is a short bus ride away or a bike ride. We recommend obtaining a bicycle (and helmet). The weather is generally good in the summer. Interns working on campus at the university can walk, bicycle or take a bus to work, and interns working at UNAVCO, Colorado School of Mines, or other institutions will need to take public transportation.

I have children. Can I bring them with me or go and visit them?

You should apply, and if you are accepted, we will discuss what kind of arrangements would be best for your family and whether we can meet those needs.

What is it like living in Boulder, Colorado, in the summer?

Boulder is very pleasant and sometimes quite hot in the summer, with occasional thunderstorm activity. It is very sunny, and Boulder is situated right beside some beautiful mountains to the west. There are many wonderful hiking trails nearby, and excellent bicycle lanes and trails along Boulder Creek and major roads. Boulder has a charming downtown area, and several restaurants close to Bear Creek Apartments where students live.

What kind of social activities are organized?

Much of the first week in RESESS is dedicated to team-building activities. After that, interns often self-organize social gatherings such as potluck dinners or barbecues, almost weekly. Cohort-building is an important part of RESESS, and students leave at the end of the summer saying that they feel that they have a whole new family.

How can I apply for this internship?

Go to the RESESS Apply page for details.

Who should I ask to be a reference for me?

Ask college professors who have taught you in science or math, and who know you and your work. You may also ask a scientist who supervised your work in a research lab, such as an employer in a summer internship or research job.

Do not get references from high school teachers, guidance counselors, friends, relatives, or non-science employers.

It is better to go with references who know you and your work and who believes in you, over a reference who has a big name but doesn't know you very well.

Be sure to give your references plenty of time to prepare their letters of recommendation. A minimum of two weeks is considered to be courteous, and longer is better.

Please note, only finalists will need to have letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf, but it is good to notify potential references of the pertinent deadlines.

How are letters of recommendation for finalists submitted?

If you are notified that you are a finalist, please direct two references to this link with instructions on how to complete a letter of recommendation.

What is the acceptance process and when will offers be made?

Applications received before midnight Mountain Time, February 1, will be screened for minimum requirements and finalists will be notified by the RESESS staff by the end of February. Letters of recommendation (finalists only) must be submitted by the specificed due date in mid February. Finalists will then be evaluated by a selection panel. Offers will be made by mid to late March.

Are students who have participated in RESESS before glad that they did? Here are some quotes.

"RESESS really wants you to succeed. I was worried about failing this summer, but they help you at every step; there's so much support."

"Prior to RESESS, I hadn't really considered graduate school, except in case I didn't get a job. Now I see the importance of grad school, and I have the skills and confidence to apply."

"The RESESS program is very unique in the sense that it gives an intern the freedom to choose the field of research they are interested in and allows them to participate in the program up to three years."