Prospective Internship Host Information

2018 summer intern T.J. Francisco and Christy Wyckoff, Senior Wildlife Ecologist at Santa Lucia Conservancy, holding vulnerable California red-legged frogs. Santa Lucia Conservancy

The summer internship program has been an integral part of the Bill Lane Center since its founding in 2005. The Center is constantly seeking to grow and diversify its internship hosts across the West so Stanford students can develop hands-on experience that builds upon their academic studies.

Each fall quarter, the Bill Lane Center's education manager solicits summer internship proposals from partner organizations across the West. The deadline for proposals is typically early November allowing the Bill Lane Center time to review and select hosts for the following summer. A detailed timeline of important dates is included below.

To find out more about the program contact Education Manager Corinne Thomas.

To learn more about the internship experience and what students gain from their experience in the field, browse the Out West blog featuring posts by summer interns from the past several years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the the Bill Lane Center internship program?

A: Each summer, the Bill Lane Center sponsors approximately 20 undergraduate and graduate internships in partnership with a diverse group of public and nonprofit organizations across the West. This program seeks to provide Stanford students with the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience that builds upon their Stanford academics.

The Bill Lane Center looks for internship hosts whose work is oriented toward the American West and might not otherwise be able to financially support an intern.

Q: What makes for a successful internship?

A: The internship hosts and students describe the most impactful internships as defined by:

  1. Mentorship: An actively engaged staff person on-site who can serve as the student’s supervisor and mentor for the duration of the internship.
  2. Clear expectations: A clearly defined project or set of tasks during which the intern can offer additional staff support.
  3. A sense of community: other interns or seasonal staff who are working on similar projects are important, especially when the internship is located in a rural location.

Q: How does my organization request a Bill Lane Center intern and when will I know if my organization has been selected?

A: In October, Bill Lane Center staff will reach out to recurring and newly identified internship agency or organization hosts to solicit a proposal for the upcoming summer program. Please contact Education Manager Corinne Thomas for the proposal form.

The Bill Lane Center will review proposals and decide which internships can be supported based on budget allocations. Organizations will receive notice about their proposal status by mid-December.

Q: What is the general timeline of the internship cycle?

A: A timeline for hosts can be found here. The goal is to have proposals collected by early November. The internship positions are posted in late December/early January and the student application deadline is at the end of January each year.

Q: How long is a typical internship?

A: Internships are full-time (35-40 hours a week) for 9 to 10 consecutive weeks.  The exact start and end dates can be decided by the host organization supervisor/mentor and the student intern.

Q: Are the internships paid?

A: Yes, the Bill Lane Center provides a stipend between $7,500-$10,000, depending on a student's financial aid qualifications and any  internship location supplement, if applicable.

Q: What do students do for housing and transportation? Is this the responsibility of the internship host?

A: No. Housing and transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the intern. If feasible, it is hoped that the host organization can offer some assistance, perhaps with housing placements that are provided to the student at a discounted rate or at no cost. If that’s not possible, assisting the students with finding housing is most appreciated.

Though most internships do not require a car throughout the summer, students are responsible for getting to and from the internship site. In the internship proposal form, it is helpful to include whether a vehicle is recommended, especially in remote areas.

Q: How are students selected?

A: Bill Lane Center staff read all the applications and conduct a preliminary interview process with select applicants. The top two to six candidates' applications are forwarded for consideration to the host organization's internship supervisor/mentor. Organizations are expected to read the applications and interview the candidates before making a final selection.

Q: When does a final decision need to be made regarding student selection?

A: The Bill Lane Center strives to work with the host organizations to fill the positions by early- to mid-March. Once a student is offered a position, they must decide within 48 hours whether to accept the offer and, should they accept, they sign a participation agreement with the Bill Lane Center and a waiver with Stanford University.

Q: What happens once the student accepts their position with the internship organization?

A: Students are expected to contact their internship supervisors directly to determine the start and end dates for the summer internship and to discuss expectations. Students will then create a learning plan, which they submit to their supervisor/mentor, in order to discuss and align summer responsibilities and expectations between the host organization and intern.

Q: What kind of contact should the organization have with the Bill Lane Center over the summer?

A: Bill Lane Center staff will reach out periodically throughout the summer to check in but if *any* issues arise please contact Education Manager Corinne Thomas directly and immediately.

In addition, the supervisor/mentor will be asked to fill out a summer evaluation of the intern and the overall experience at the end of the summer internship. This is also required of the student interns and this feedback influences  decisions regarding the following summer’s placements and any adjustments needed.

This timeline is subject to revision

This gives a rough overview of the internship selection process for both the host organization and the student intern.

October: BLC puts out a call for internship proposals from host organizations for the upcoming summer.
Early November: Host organization proposal forms are due

The proposal is to provide organization information, internship position descriptions and details and include any desired intern profile (major, interests, any special skills or knowledge required, e.g., GIS, excel, etc)

Late November: Hosts organizations proposal decisions

The education manager will contact each agency or organization that submitted a proposal with the Center's decision of whether it will be able to support an intern for the upcoming summer.

Mid December: Deadline for MOU to be returned

The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed by the agency or organization and the Bill Lane Center and details the expectations for the internship.

December: The application portal goes live to students.
Late January: Student application deadline
Early/Mid-February: BLC reads all applications and conducts initial, select student interviews
Mid/Late-February: BLC sends top candidates to the organization for next round of interviews
Late February to Mid-March: BLC makes offers to students

The organization will share their rank choices with the education manager so that the Center can make the initial offer to the top candidate. Students have 48 hours from the time of the offer to accept or decline. If a student declines, the education manager will make an offer to the next candidate on the list.

March: Students sign BLC and Stanford program participation agreements
April or May : BLC hosts an orientation for the students
Early May: Students will begin to reach out to their supervisors/mentors

The Bill Lane Center asks students to coordinate with their mentors at the organizations to discuss projects for the summer, communication preferences and expectations, start and end dates, working hours, possible housing assistance, and any paperwork that is needed by the organizations to prepare for the students' arrival.

June: Students begin their internship
July and August: Interns are asked to write two social media posts

The first is an Instagram post ( and the second is a blog post for the Bill Lane Center's website (

September: Hosts must complete a final evaluation of the summer intern and their experience with the BLC internship program
September: Students complete a final report detailing their experience and meet with the BLC education manager to debrief

The report and debrief help the Bill Lane Center assess the continuation of the partnership or if there are improvements needed.