Thursday, September 6, 2012

Internship with US EPA Green Chemistry Program - January 2013

The United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC has openings for up to two college student interns to join its Green Chemistry Program during the month of January.  The position is volunteer, not paid, but offers a unique opportunity for training in green chemistry.  

St. Olaf Chemistry Majors have been selected for this internship during three of the last four years!  The staff love working with Oles. Often students find housing with St. Olaf alumni living in the area and commute to the EPA offices by public transit.

This year, the Green Chemistry Program staff have two projects in mind. For the past 17 years, EPA’s Green Chemistry Program has collected nominations for Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The nominations are 8-page descriptions of cutting-edge green chemistry technologies.

(1)   This fall, the program is starting a new project to make some of the wealth of information we have collected over the years available to other parts of EPA, other Federal Agencies, and possibly state programs. As part of this project, we will develop outreach materials targeted to specific concerns of the outside groups, for example, technologies related to smog for EPA’s Office of Air or to biofuels for the Department of Energy. We have a database that can help us identify the nominations related to specific areas. We would like interns help us by finding the information related to the interest of an outside group(s) in Challenge nominations and writing a short description that connects the technology to the interests of the outside group(s). These descriptions will become part of communication materials to help us reach out to other organizations.

(2)   Our website categorizes Challenge winners into "winners by industry"  and "winners by technologyFor each list, each winner is listed in at least one category (or more, if appropriate). Each listing for a winner has a sentence fragment that describes the technology as it relates to the category. A possible intern project for January 2013 is to help EPA expand these lists to include all nominations EPA received for the Challenge 1996-2012, approximately 700 unique technologies. We expect to be starting this project in the fall and continuing it through the academic year, at least, with the help of some organic chemistry students at Gordon College and EPA interns. This project would provide interns with a broad exposure to green chemistry as well as technical writing experience, as students would work closely with EPA staff to categorize nominations and write the descriptions that EPA will put on its website.

Because the work is highly technical, interns need to have a strong science background, including at least one year of organic chemistry.  For general information about the program and summaries of previous nominations, visit  If you have questions or would like to be considered for an internship, please send email to 

The position is a volunteer one, but Rich Engler and Carol Farris, the senior PhD chemists who work in EPA’s Green Chemistry Program, have worked with many interns previously and can provide educational support. Rich is currently teaching an online course in green chemistry through the University of California, Berkeley.

·         Sophomore, Junior, or Senior with strong academic record in science.
·         At least one year of organic chemistry; majors might include chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pre-med, but we will consider students in other majors.
·         Strong analytical abilities, ability to extend knowledge and skills to a very broad range of cutting-edge technologies related to chemistry.
·         Evidence of effectiveness working independently; demonstrated self-starter.

Other Useful skills:
·         Ability to learn quickly
·         Strong written and verbal communication skills
·         Ability to interact well with people
·         Understanding of and respect for diversity

This is an unpaid internship. 

Application Materials (apply by email to
Cover letter including a (1) statement of interest in this internship and (2) the dates you would be available.
Transcript listing science courses and grades (does not have to be official)
Contact information (phone and email) for 2-3 references

Application Deadline and Process 
EPA is making this opportunity available to college students who are available during January (i.e., students at schools with J-terms, interim January terms, etc.).  We have two openings and will consider applicants as we receive them.  Students will get the most from the internship if they are at EPA for at least four weeks between January 2 and January 31.  We will consider internships with different start and end dates, but internships must be over three weeks.

Deadline:  As appropriate for January term applications at your institution.  The Program may make an “early decision” and offer positions to exceptionally qualified candidates prior to the deadline.

Please send email to  At St. Olaf, Paul Jackson (chemistry) and Sandy Malecha (Piper Center) can answer your questions too!


Michael Marty said...

If any interested students would like to talk to someone who has participated in this internship, feel free to contract me at

Michael Marty '10

mohsin khan said...

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author...