Applications open for paid Extension Internship Program

Interns doing fieldwork

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in expanding their research and engagement knowledge can now apply for a hands-on, paid summer internship through Colorado State University’s Extension Internship Program.

Internship locations vary across the state and combine research, program delivery, and dissemination efforts with hands-on learning at the local and county level.

Students can apply at Applications are due Feb. 5 for the Summer 2021 program.

Interns are awarded $4,000 for a 10-week internship at 35 hours per week, with housing and travel assistance available for some opportunities. Each project culminates in a final Extension program and poster presentation on campus at the Extension Forum held in the fall.

“This program is an opportunity for students to get work experience, an essential aspect of starting a career as a young graduate,” said Wilma Trujillo, Peaks and Plains Area Extension agent and Extension Internship Program mentor. “An internship at CSU Extension is a stepping-stone to opportunities within the organization, including a full-time job in the near future.”

Trujillo served as a mentor for a participant in the Extension Internship Program last summer. Trujillo’s intern worked directly with Extension agronomists during the growing season from mid-May to mid-August. The student learned about the day-to-day activities of on-farm research projects and participated in all aspects of research, designing, planting, plot maintenance, soil and tissue sampling, data collection, harvest, and data analysis.

Building excitement for Extension

“I wanted to have the opportunity to work with a student and get them excited about Extension, so they would share with others how awesome Extension is,” said Robin Young, Archuleta County director and natural resources and agriculture agent.

Young’s intern had the opportunity to partner with the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Department and the San Juan Conservation District, using goats for weed management. The intern’s project looked at business modeling and how effective goats are on weed mitigation.

The Extension internship program connects students with CSU faculty and county agents, allowing them the opportunity to learn and collaborate on real-world experiences at the local and county level while showcasing Extension’s versatile work.

Unexpected opportunities

CJ Mucklow, CSU Extension Northwest Regional Director and interim director of field operations, began his Extension career as an intern over 35 years ago.

“What I learned during my internships is still memorable and valuable to my work today. Internships allow you to try out a field of study or career. As an undergraduate in Animal Sciences at CSU, I did two internships working on ranches in western Colorado and South Dakota,” Mucklow recalled.  Those experiences cemented my desire to be involved in the broad field of agriculture and particularly cattle ranching. I learned a lot of skill working on those two ranches that I still use today.”

Student on horse
Robin Young’s intern Pratyoosh had his first experience riding a horse during his Extension internship last summer.

In his current position, Mucklow now oversees operations for CSU Extension offices in 63 of Colorado’s 64 counties.

“Always do an internship. You will learn new skills and meet people that will help build and foster your professional career. The relationships that started during my internship developed into a lifelong professional and personal relationships with prominent ranchers, leaders in the agriculture industry, and even a rancher who became college president,” said Mucklow. “It’s often said, it’s not always what you know but who you know. Internships are your first step to building your lifelong network.”

Connecting research and communities

The Extension Internship Program, established in 2018, connects research and communities by engaging students in outreach. All eight colleges and the Office of the Vice President for Research at Colorado State University work with the Office of Engagement and Extension to support this annual summer internship program.

Important dates

Extension Internship Program applications are open Jan. 20 – Feb. 5, 2021. Applicants can learn more and ask questions at a virtual Q&A session on Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.

Annie Albrecht and Lauren Klamm