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Since 1986, the geography internship has been a requirement of all Geography majors, except for those enrolled in the education program. This experience introduces the student to a wide variety of careers in Geography.

All Geography majors, except those who student teach as their capstone experience, must complete at least four weeks (160 clock hours) of internship work. Almost all interns perform their assignments in the summer and work for more hours than the minimum because it is advantageous, both to the intern and the cooperating firm or agency, that the student be aboard for as long as possible.

Geography internships have mainly been in Illinois, with a focus on the central and northeastern portions of the state. Many interns, however, have gone out of state, particularly to the states west of the Great Plains. View a map that depicts locations of credit-generating internships beginning in 1986.

Selected Internship Employers

  • Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • City of Rock Island Public Works
  • McHenry County Conservation District
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • Greater Peoria Sanitary District
  • Modoc National Forest
  • ParkLands Foundation
  • Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Spring Valley Nature Center
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Roadview, Inc.
  • McLean County Building and Zoning
  • National Atmospheric Deposition Program
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Earlybird Feed and Fertilizer
  • Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park
  • Sugar Grove Nature Center

Internship Successes

Many interns receive job offers from their internship supervisor. In fact, a number of supervisors interview and otherwise recruit interns with an eye toward hiring them, seamlessly, once their student obligations are over. Even if a job offer is not forthcoming, the intern supervisors willingly write letters of reference as the intern leaves or later requests a job-related referral. Here are some supervisor comments about recent Geography interns:

  • "He caught on quickly and was willing to take on any project."
  • "I would like to keep her. We have worked well together."
  • "He was an excellent student and very enjoyable to work with."
  • "She shows a good work ethic and professionalism."
  • "She has been a delight to work with and will be sorely missed."
  • "His dedication and work ethic are unparalleled to any student I have ever had serve as an intern."
  • "Shows a lot of initiative; able to identify elements of a project and explore ways of implementing ideas."
  • "We feel he has a bright future ahead of him and that his performance will easily qualify for an A."
  • "He has a strong desire to learn, willingness to accept responsibility, and conscientiousness in carrying out his work assignments."
  • "Definitely and unquestionably an A."
  • "He had the best habits of punctuality, willingness, and seriousness of any student I have had work for me."
  • "She was an excellent intern . . . I strongly suggest that . . . [she] be awarded an A."
  • "A++! . . . [she] was a joy to have . . . all summer. I hope she will return next year!"
  • ". . . [he] has done an excellent job for us this summer. I'm sure he will be an employee who will do well wherever he works in the future. We would be happy to have him as a full-time employee in our organization."
  • "Overall . . . [he] is an excellent surveyor, and I would suggest a grade of A for the field part of his internship."
  • "He would be an excellent employee for any company."
  • "He shows great work ethics and is committed to his assignments. "His supervisor "says . . . [he] has been the best intern the department has had . . . nothing less than an "A" for a grade would be appropriate."
  • "He has a great attitude and we plan to keep him on full-time."
  • "Without question I recommend . . . [she] be given an A for her work. She performed work above and beyond that of an intern, and I plan to keep her on for as long as I can."