Prospective Internship Host Questions

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 Education Manager solicits internship proposals for summer internships from partner organizations across the West. The deadline for proposals is typically late October 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 Stephanie Burbank.

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 nearly 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. The 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 where the intern can offer additional staff capacity
  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 rather rural location.

More specific expectations for our internship hosts can be found here.


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, the internship coordinator will reach out to recurring and newly identified internship agency hosts to solicit a proposal for the next year’s program. The proposal form can be accessed here. Our advisory group will review the proposals and make a final decision of which proposals will be approved based on how many internships we can fund that given year. Organizations will receive notice about their proposal status by the end of 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 November. We post the positions for students to apply to in early Winter quarter and start interviewing students 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 typically 10 weeks long, though the exact start dates can be worked out directly between the site manager and the student.


Q: Are the internships paid?

A: Yes, the Bill Lane Center provides a lump sum stipend between $5,000-$7,200, depending on a students’ financial aid qualifications.


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, it is helpful to include whether a vehicle is recommended, especially in more remote areas.


Q: How do students get selected?

A: Bill Lane Center staff complete a preliminary interview process with all of the applicants. The top 2-3 candidates are shared with the internship supervisor 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 collaborating organizations to fill the positions by early March, though the interview process can extend to late March. Once a student is offered a position, s/he must decide within a week whether to accept the offer and they sign a contract with the Center.


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

A: Students will be expected to reach out to the supervisors directly to determine the 10-week start and end dates for the summer. Students will then create a learning plan, which is shared with that they also submit to their supervisor in hopes that both the supervisor and the intern get what they are hoping for out of the summer.


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

A: The intern coordinator will reach out periodically throughout the summer to check in, but if any issues arise please contact Stephanie Burbank directly. In addition, we ask the supervisor to fill out an end of the summer evaluation of the intern and the experience overall. We ask this same thing of the interns and use this feedback in our decision making for the next summer’s placement decisions.

Internship Host Dates of Importance
Subject to change each year
Late-September: BLC puts out a call for internship proposals for the coming 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 GIS, excel, etc)

Mid-November: Hosts receive notice on their proposal

The Education manager will contact each agency who submitted a proposal with our decision of whether we will be moving forward or whether we will need to pass on offering that internship for the current year with hopes for another proposal to be submitted the following year.

December: The application portal goes live to students.
Mid-January: Deadline for MOU to be returned

These signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is between the agency and the Bill Lane Center and details our expectations for the internship.

Early-February: Application deadline
Early/Mid-February: BLC reads applications and conducts initial student interviews
Late-February: BLC sends top candidates to agency for next round of interviews
Early/Mid-March: BLC makes offers to students

The agency will tell the Education Manager who their choices are ranking them so we can make the initial offer to their top candidate. Students have 48 hrs 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.

Early-April: Students will sign their official program agreements
Late-April: BLC hosts a brief orientation for students
Early-May: Students will begin to reach out to their mentors

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

June: Students will begin their internship
July/August: Interns are asked to write two blogs that are posted on the BLC site
Late-August: Hosts must complete a final evaluation of the summer intern and their expereience with the BLC internship program
September: Students complete a final report detailing their experience and meet with the Education manager for a debrief meeting.

The report and debrief help the Lane Center analyze whether this is a good partnership to continue for the next year or if there are improvements needed which will be discussed with the agency.