Wrigley Institute Internships

Environmental Leadership Training for USC Students

Every discipline plays a role in saving our planet. The Wrigley Institute offers internships during the summer and throughout the school year for USC students from any field who want to make a difference for the environment and sustainability.

Applications for 2024 Environmental Summer Awards and Conservation Internships are now closed. For additional information about internships listed on this page, contact Wrigley Institute Executive Director Dr. Jessica Dutton.

Environmental Summer Awards

Have you found the perfect internship, but it’s unpaid – or doesn’t pay quite enough?

Each summer, the Wrigley Institute offers a limited number of competitive summer awards for USC undergraduates participating in unpaid or underpaid professional development opportunities related to the environment and sustainability. Awards fund direct expenses (such as housing or registration fees) connected with these experiences, or help “top up” stipends that are insufficient for a student’s financial need.

Due to the way the awards are distributed, they are available to continuing undergraduate students only. Awards are usually between $500 and $3,000; the average award amount is $1,000. The following kinds of experiences are eligible:

  • Participation in USC co-curricular experiences through the Environmental Studies Program or Wrigley Institute
  • Participation in summer undergraduate research opportunities at the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island
  • Participation in USC faculty-led research experiences or government/nonprofit internships that help equip students for careers in the environment or sustainability (minimum 50 hours recommended)
  • Attendance at trainings, workshops, or professional/scientific meetings in environmental and sustainability fields (costs may not exceed $1,000)

Applications for 2024 Environmental Summer Awards are now closed. Check back in January 2025 to access the 2025 Environmental Summer Awards Application. 

Other Internships

The Wrigley Institute offers a varying number of project-based and school-year internships related to the institute’s ongoing research and other projects. Eligibility is limited to current USC undergraduate students, with preference given to students from the Environmental Studies program. For more information, contact Dr. Jessica Dutton, Wrigley Institute Executive Director.

Conservation Internships

Interested in gaining real-world experience in the conservation field while helping protect Southern California’s environment?

The USC Wrigley Institute is pleased to sponsor a limited number of competitive summer internship opportunities with partner institutions: the LA Zoo, the Catalina Island Conservancy, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

These unique field-based summer experiences are designed to introduce students to conservation careers and to help develop technical skills in environmental monitoring, data collection, and restoration. Open to USC Dornsife undergraduates, with priority given to ENST majors and minors.

For more information, contact Jessica Dutton, Wrigley Institute Executive Director (jmdutton@usc.edu)

LA Zoo Conservation Internship, Part-Time

  • Location: The Los Angeles Zoo and depending upon the assigned tasks, locations may also include Griffith Park, other City Department locations, or virtual.
  • Dates: June 3 through August 9, 2024
  • Time Commitment: 20 hours/week, for a total of 200 hours. Specific shift days and hours are dependent on the internship project for which the candidate is selected. Must be available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
  • Salary: $17.00/Hour (approximately $3,400 for the summer)
  • The USC Wrigley Institute will fund 2 USC students to participate in the 2024 LA Zoo Conservation Internship program. As a City resource, the LA Zoo is continually looking for more equitable ways to engage the diverse communities of Los Angeles. The L.A. Zoo is hosting 10-week paid internships for college students from systemically excluded identities in the zoo and conservation fields. Interns will work directly with industry professionals on real world projects, then summarize their practical knowledge and present on their experience at the conclusion of their internship. Interns will work directly with the Zoo’s Conservation team, gaining real world application of science, research, and conservation skills. In July 2021, the Zoo released its first Conservation Strategic Plan (CSP), which guides its conservation efforts and expands its positive impact over the next five years. Key to this CSP is an increasing focus on local conservation projects that engage our community members, improve native biodiversity, and help meet the goals of local stakeholders in Los Angeles.

Catalina Island Conservancy Internship, Full-time

  • Location: Catalina Island, CA (through June 31) and Remote (starting July 1)
  • Dates: Start date negotiable between May 11th, 2024 and May 20th, 2024
  • Time Commitment: Full time, 10 weeks
  • Stipend: $6,000
  • The Plant Department Summer Intern opportunity is a diverse position providing necessary support and day-to-day implementation of assigned Conservation Department plant programs, projects, activities and/or facilities maintenance with specific duties focused in two broad areas: 1) Invasive plant management, horticulture and restoration and 2) Vegetation monitoring, depending on the Conservation Department needs and incumbent’s skills and training. Duties will involve significant field work and administrative duties. Through June 31, the intern will live and work on Catalina Island. Starting July 1, the intern will work remotely on projects for the Conservation Department. There is a possibility for extension of in-person island-based work, pending intern interest, project needs, and housing availability.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Conservation Internship, Full-Time

  • Location: The Natural History Museum of LA County and depending upon the assigned tasks, virtual work may be allowed.
  • Dates: June 3, 2024 – August 9, 2024
  • Time Commitment: Full time, 10 weeks
  • Salary: $6,000 stipend
  • The USC Wrigley Institute will fund 1 USC student to participate in the 2024 NHMLAC Conservation Internship program. As a Los Angeles County institution, NHMLAC is continually looking for more equitable ways to engage the diverse communities of Los Angeles. NHMLAC is hosting a 10-week paid internship for college students from systematically excluded identities in museum and conservation fields. The intern will work directly with museum professionals on real collections-focused projects, then summarize their practical knowledge and present on their experience at the conclusion of their internship. The intern will work directly with the NHMLAC’s Ornithology (bird) and Mammalogy departments, gaining real world experience in natural history collections and learning practical collections skills. Los Angeles which is a designated “biodiversity hotspot” by Conservation International and a key part of the NHMLAC collections work is managing specimens and data to facilitate research that furthers conservation goals and builds biodiversity knowledge. NHMLAC research associates, and community scientists use these collections to examine the impacts of humans and wildlife as well as guide recommendations for how to make Los Angeles a hospitable place for all.

Applications for Conservation Internships are now closed. Check back in January 2025 to access the 2025 Conservation Internships Application.