Research interns work directly with Rodale Institute’s Research Department to address current and future agricultural needs by conducting high-quality research using regenerative, organic methods for agricultural production and identifying tools and practices to help grow organic agriculture by: addressing pest and fertility issues, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and improving human health by addressing nutrient density in crops. Our research focuses on biologically-based mechanisms to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions; increase nutrient and water use efficiencies; improve pollinator activity and food security; and apply a systems approach to soil, crop, animal, human and planetary health. The main experiments used to conduct this research are the Farming Systems Trial (FST) – the oldest continuous trial in the US that compares organic and conventional farming systems, the new Vegetable Systems Trial (VST) – comparing the impacts organic and conventional farming practices on nutrient density in vegetables and linkages to soil health, and Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems using annual and perennial crops along with cattle or hogs for soil, plant, and animal health. Additional field, greenhouse, high tunnel, incubator, and laboratory studies also are conducted.

Responsibilities Could Include:

With guidance and direction from Research Coordinator and Research Technicians, may typically perform any or all of the following tasks for proper project execution:

  • Lay out experimental field plots including GPS mapping, in-field measurements, and flagging
  • Accurately and neatly label sample collection materials, as directed
  • Assist with greenhouse seeding/transplanting and in-field transplanting, which may include watering duties over the weekends
  • Conduct lab experiments which may include soil and plant analyses, DNA analyses, pest identification and counting, root staining, microscopy, freeze drying, etc., and other tests and experiments required by specific projects
  • Tend and maintain field, greenhouse, high tunnel, and/or lab experiments (ie. using lab instrumentation, hand tools, weedwackers, mowers, etc.)
  • Collect and process soil, plant, insect, grain, and produce samples
  • Precisely, accurately, and timely enter data for statistical analysis and interpretation
  • Perform all duties with attention to detail and a high level of care
  • Work individually and with others as a team on assigned tasks
  • Be prepared each day to work indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Participate in weekly Research Department meetings
  • Complete and present an individual research project at the end of the internship.  Interns will work in conjunction with the project leader on data analysis and presentation.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Undergraduate or graduate degree or good academic standing from an accredited university
  • A strong work ethic, initiative and motivation. Attention to detail is a must
  • The ability to work well individually and in a team environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Interest in alternative agriculture issues and practices
  • Be trustful and respectful to all staff and visitors

Additional Information:

Location: Rodale Institute Experimental Farm, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530

Compensation: An ideal candidate will complete this internship for college credit. Additionally, there is an opportunity for a student to receive housing at Rodale Institute, as well as some organic food from the farm. Interns not receiving college credit will be paid $7.25/hour if receiving housing, or $9.50/hour if not receiving housing.

Schedule: Work full-time for three or more months between March and December is desired, but shorter periods or part-time positions are available. Typical internships run May – August (Summer) and August – December (Fall).

To apply: Please send a cover letter (including dates of availability, resume/CV, and a copy of your transcript(s) to Dr. Andrew Smith at researchinterns@rodaleinstitute.org.

Deadlines: Suggested deadlines are listed below. If you miss a deadline, or you are interested in an internship that does not meet the minimum duration, please contact Dr. Andrew Smith (researchinterns@rodaleinstitute.org), as exceptions can sometimes be made based on the needs of Rodale Institute.

  • Winter Internship: currently accepting applications
  • Summer Internship:  January 1
  • Fall Internship: April 1

Please indicate which internship you are applying to in the subject line of your email. Review for summer internships begins January 1. Please indicate your availability when sending application materials.

About Rodale Institute: Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For seventy years, the Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.

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