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 our founding in 2005. We are constantly seeking to grow and diversify our 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 internship proposals for summer internships from partner organizations across the West. The deadline for proposals is typically late October to early November allowing the Center’s internship advisory committee to review and select hosts for the following year. 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 we hope 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 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 internship stipend.

Q: What makes for a successful internship?

A: Our internship hosts and students tell us that the most impactful internships are 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 critical, 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. Our advisory group will review the proposals and make a final decision of which proposals will be supported based on how many internships we can fund that given year. 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. Our goal is to have proposals collected by end of October. We post the positions for students in late December/early January and start the first-round student interviews in February.

Q: How long is a typical internship?

A: We expect our students to work full-time (35-40 hours a week) at the internship site. Our internships are 10 weeks long and the exact start and end dates can be worked out directly between the host organization manager/mentor and the student.

Q: Are the internships paid?

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

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, we hope that the host organization can offer some assistance, perhaps with housing placements that are provided to the student at a discounted rate or 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 do students get selected?

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

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

A: The 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 Center.

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

A: Students will be expected to reach out to their internship supervisors directly to determine the 10-week 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 align host organization and intern summer responsibilities and learning expectations.

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. In addition, we ask the supervisor/mentor to fill out a summer evaluation of the intern and the overall experience at the end of the summer internship. We also ask this of the student interns and use this feedback in our decisions regarding the following summer’s placements.

Internship Host Dates of Importance
Subject to change each year
October: BLC puts out a call for internship proposals for the upcoming summer.
Late-October: Host proposal forms due

Deadline to provide updated internship position descriptions with desired profile for interns (major, interests, any special skills required, e.g., GIS, excel, etc)

Late-November: Hosts receive notice on their proposal

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 between the agency or organization and the Bill Lane Center and details the expectations for the internship.

December: The application portal goes live to students.
January 31: Student application deadline
Early/Mid-February: BLC reads applications and conducts initial student interviews
Mid/Late-February: BLC sends top candidates to agency 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 official BLC program participation agreements
April or May : BLC hosts an orientation for students
Early-May: Students will begin to reach out to their mentors

The Bill Lane Center asks students to coordinate with their mentors at the organizations to discuss projects for the summer, communication 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/August: Interns are asked to write two blogs that are posted on the BLC website
Late August: 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 Lane Center analyze whether this is a good partnership to continue for the following year or if there are improvements needed which will be discussed with the agency.