Program Goals and Description
Student internships at the Museum provide an effective guide to participation in environmental stewardship. For college students, internships offer the opportunity to explore careers that focus on the natural world. For sponsoring adults, providing an internship opportunity yields the satisfaction of guiding a younger person toward the exploration of nature and science. Such an internship can be a key experience in the development of a student's future goals and priorities. The internships offered at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History involve students in both the generation of new knowledge and the practical application of knowledge to environmental stewardship.
The Donald S. Dean Adopt-A-Student Program, sponsored by the Kirtlandia Society of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, provides an opportunity for selected students to gain knowledge and experience in a one-to-one relationship with a Museum curator working on a professional research project. In each summer internship, the student commits all of his or her working time for at least eight weeks. (Students may work less than full-time over more than eight weeks if this is compatible with the project.)
The goal of the program is to give students an understanding of the complexity of environmental issues and current approaches for dealing with them. Students also gain an awareness of the array of skills needed for meaningful involvement. They receive training and actual experience in one area of natural history. In addition, the Museum is a center for people from all walks of life who study and enjoy the natural world in many different ways. These internships introduce students to the fellowship within this working environment.
Since the beginning of the program in 1980, the Kirtlandia Society has over supported over 250 Adopt-A- Students. The Program is designed for college sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but current year baccalaureates are also considered for these internships.
The program receives its name from the "adoption" of the student by the donor(s) funding an internship. Annually, the Kirtlandia Society undertakes to raise money for each student to provide salary, expenses, and the required Federal and State obligations.
Each "adoption" begins with a research proposal from a Museum curator. Sponsors are solicited through the Kirtlandia Society and Museum publications, personal contacts and letters to individuals. Applications from students are solicited through notices in Museum publications and student newspapers, posting on the Internet, and mailings to college departments of biology, geology, anthropology and archaeology. Applicants who are the best matches for each project are interviewed by the curator who will be supervising that project.
Each year, completed applications are due in early March. Awards are announced by mid-April.