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CALS NYS Internship Program Details

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The CALS NYS Internship Program offers Cornell students an opportunity to combine career-relevant work experience with the chance to forge meaningful connections with the communities and regions they work and live in. A unique aspect of this program is students' involvement in a community project with local and regional leaders that compliments their on-the-job internship experience.

Program Timeline

The CALS NYS Internship Program has three main components: 

  1. A spring pre-departure class, "DSoc 4200: CALS NYS Internship Program Orientation and Prep course",
  2. A 10-week combined summer internship and community engagement experience, and
  3. The post-internship independent study and "Fall Forum" presentation.

Student applications

CALS students (first years, sophomores, juniors, and returning graduate students) apply in January of the year they seek to participate in the program (for example, students seeking an internship for the summer of 2015 completed an application by February 4, 2015). Details on the application process are available on the Student Information page.

Pre-departure study

In the spring semester prior to the internship, students enroll in the pre-departure class designed to equip interns with the tools they need to make the most of their internship and community engagement experience.  They learn about their hosts, the communities in which their hosts are based, and develop specific goals they want to achieve through their participation in the program.

Summer internship & community project

During the summer, for 32 hours per week for ten weeks, students gain career-related work experience with an internship host. Internship opportunities vary from year to year, ranging from skilled positions in food science, diversified vegetable production, pest management, and communications to those in business management, land use planning, and community development. Our goal is to provide internship opportunities of interest to students enrolled across Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Sciences’ diverse portfolio of academic programs.

Interns also devote an additional 8 hours a week of their internship to the community engagement component – a community development project combined with a structured learning opportunity designed to help them learn about and contribute to their host communities. Each week, students respond to discussion questions online and meet via teleconference with one another and program staff to discuss and reflect on their internships, community projects, and learning experiences. The community engagement project requires students to partner with members of their host communities to identify and implement opportunities to increase the number of educated, young professionals living and working in the region and strengthen the community overall.

Independent study & Fall Forum

In the fall semester following the summer internship, students complete a one-credit, independent study course intended to help them reflect on and synthesize what they’ve learned throughout the program. The culmination of the independent study and internship program is a report and poster presentation in which interns summarize their experience and its impacts during an on-campus, evening forum.

Program Benefits

Benefits to CALS Students

  • Gain valuable career-related work experience
  • Partner with local leaders to make a difference in New York communities
  • Connect with and learn from professional and community mentors
  • Hone your "people skills" that are critical to success
  • Learn things you didn't even know you wanted to learn
  • Earn a summer stipend and course credits

Benefits to Employers

  • Gain fresh, motivated talent
  • Access new skills and technologies
  • Invest in potential future employees
  • Strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with community institutions
  • Learn more about Cornell resources

Benefits to New York’s Communities

  • Strengthen ties to local businesses and other organizations
  • Cultivate efforts to attract and retain a young, educated workforce
  • Connect with and learn more about Cornell resources