Education Help with Education Internships & Opportunities Geo-Launchpad RESESS USIP - UNAVCO Internships Internship Alumni


Paid summer internship program for community college students in Colorado and New Mexico.

2021 Summer Program Dates: May 24 - August 6

Information on UNAVCO's response to COVID-19

See more videos on UNAVCO's YouTube page.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1724794

  • I think for me, the most valuable thing [from GLP] was being able to discover things about myself like interests and I now have a clear idea of what I want to do afterwards. I felt like when I compared, if I didn’t have this opportunity, I would just be studying undergrad with no purpose. Being able to discover that is just priceless.
    - 2015 Intern

    What is Geo-Launchpad?

    Geo-Launchpad is an eleven-week paid summer internship program based in Boulder, CO that is open to all Colorado and New Mexico community college students with an interest in geoscience. Geoscience includes atmospheric science, chemistry, earth science, engineering, environmental science, geography, geology, hydrology, technology, etc. This is a pre-REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program that exposed students to geoscience careers, assisted in professional development and communication skills, and provided an opportunity to develop research-ready skills.

    What will I do?

    Interns will work full time on a collaborative research-support project under the guidance of technical staff. Professional development activities and communication workshops take place throughout the summer, as well as Geoscience Career Circles that offer students the opportunity to meet and participate in an informal discussion with a geoscience professional. Interns present their project as a scientific poster at an end-of-summer poster symposium along with other interns from local programs. Interns also have the opportunity to present their poster at a regional or national professional conference.

    What are the benefits?

    • Opportunity to develop research-ready skills
    • Access to a broad network of scientists and engineers
    • Real-world working experience
    • Technical training
    • Mentorship
    • Geoscience career exploration
    • Professional development
    • Oral and written communication skills
    • Valuable experience for a career in science, technology, or engineering
    I learned the most from being able to work with field engineers. Getting exposed to so many things technical, professional. It was just like an insight, like opening your eyes and also getting to know what my interests are by doing this work is something that I'll take from this.
    - 2015 Intern
  • 2015 TLS interns in the field

    2015 GPS interns on the roof

    The actual hands-on research helps you, at first you’re like ‘this is a really expensive piece of equipment,’ but working with it and they trusted us with it, and you just prove to yourself that you can figure it out and get there and get some self-confidence. And just the value of working with the field engineers and hearing their stories was great.
    - 2016 Intern

    Pre-summer activities:

    Webinar #1: What to expect this summer in the Geo-Launchpad program. This webinar will focus on the program and outline what the interns can expect prior to and just after arriving in Boulder.

    Webinar #2: Project descriptions and Q&A with former Geo-Launchpad interns. This webinar provides an opportunity to talk to other students who have participated in the program.

    Summer activities:

    Research-support Project. Interns will work collaboratively on a research-support project with a project manager. Students are provided office space and any required computing resources and supplies.

    Geoscience Career Circle. Interns have a unique opportunity to meet informally with professionals from different sectors of the geoscience workforce. Guest speakers will discuss their career trajectory including their academics, any challenges they’ve faced, and offer advice. Interns are encouraged to ask as many questions as they like.

    Professional Development Workshops. The purpose of the workshops is to explore non-academic communications as a student and a scientist. Past workshops included resume/CV and cover letter writing, interview practice, technical writing, science poster creation, and conflict resolution.

    Mentorship. Build and maintain a mentor relationship with a faculty mentor from your home institution. A faculty mentor is a faculty member from your school who can provide support to you before, during, and after the internship program. They must also travel to Boulder to attend your poster session during the last week of the program.

    Local Field Trips. Interns will participate in field trips, along with RESESS and USIP interns, to a local area of interest. Past trips include Morrison, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, and Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Community Poster Symposium. Geo-Launchpad interns will present a poster detailing their summer work along with several Boulder-based intern groups at the annual poster session held locally in Boulder. This event takes place during the final week of the program.

    Professional Conference. In addition to presenting at the community poster symposium, interns will have the opportunity to present at a professional conference in the fall. Funding is provided for travel if necessary.

    Post-summer activities:

    Fall Mentor Meeting. Meet with faculty mentor to discuss career paths, research opportunities on campus, and other ways to stay connected to the scientific community. Submit a write-up to Geo-Launchpad during the following fall semester.

    I learned I'm in the right field. That's the sentence I would use to sum it up.
    - 2016 Intern

    Past projects (large PDF files):

  • The way they've built this internship, it's so supportive, and so the staff and then our mentors, and, it's just, it's really been a very supportive and wonderful environment.
    - 2016 Intern

    What are the internship requirements?

    • Students must be attending community college in Colorado or New Mexico with plans to transfer to a 4-year university
    • Students must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
    • Currently enrolled or have completed college algebra *and* one additional course in geology, physical geography, hydrology, environmental sciences, physics, math, geophysics or engineering and received a grade of B or better in both courses
    • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
    • Ability to work full time (~40 hours/week for eleven weeks)
    • Ability to attend required weekly program activities at UNAVCO in Boulder, CO
    • Establish a faculty mentor prior to applying to the program (see “What is a faculty mentor?” below)
    • Students from populations that are underrepresented in Earth Sciences are strongly encouraged to apply

    Can I still apply if I do not meet one or more of the above requirements?

    Unfortunately, no. Most of the requirements above are minimums, and many of our applicants will exceed these base requirements. We also cannot accept applications from international students, unless they have U.S. citizenship or are permanent U.S. residents, or from students who are not currently enrolled in a community college in Colorado or New Mexico.

    Please contact us at if you have questions about your eligibility.

    What will I have to do as an intern?

    • Spend eleven weeks working full time (~40 hours per week) in or near Boulder, CO
    • Complete a collaborative research-support project under the guidance of a project manager
    • Present your results in a scientific poster presentation at the end of the internship
    • Participate in other intern activities, such as communications and professional development workshops, attend UNAVCO science seminars, participate in field trips, attend pre-summer webinars, and any other required activities
    • Develop a relationship with a faculty member from your home institution, who will serve as your faculty mentor. See "What is a faculty mentor?" below for more details.

    What is a faculty mentor?

    A faculty mentor is a faculty member from your home institution who will provide you with support before, during, and after the internship. You are required to apply with a faculty mentor, and they must submit a letter of recommendation as part of your application. Details about faculty mentor requirements and support can be found here. If you need advice on choosing and/or approaching a faculty mentor, feel free to contact us at

    How is this program different from other internships at UNAVCO?

    UNAVCO offers 3 tiers of internship opportunities, beginning with Geo-Launchpad at the community college level. UNAVCO's research internship (RESESS) is targeted at upper division undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in the geosciences and serves as a research experience. UNAVCO's Student Internship Program (USIP) internships are real-world work experiences for undergraduates, graduates, and post-graduates that relate to the students' major or career goal.

    The Geo-Launchpad internship is designed for students who are early in their academic career, such as community college students. The research-support project is collaborative and under the guidance of a project manager.

    Will I get to pick my project?

    We will do our best to assign you a project that matches your interests. However, we cannot guarantee specific projects, and project topics will depend on the current work of the project managers. We try to assign projects that will expose you to authentic scientific research, teach you important research techniques that often include fieldwork, and that will have tangible results by the end of the program.

    Is there help with travel costs?

    The Geo-Launchpad internship provides assistance with local transportation.

    Is there help with housing?

    Yes. Housing is available for the duration of the summer internship.

    Will I get paid for my work?

    Yes. Interns are paid a weekly stipend during the eleven-week internship.

    I have children. Can I bring them with me or go and visit them?

    You should apply, and if you are accepted, we will discuss what kind of arrangements would be best for your family and we will make every effort to meet those needs.

    Want to see more UNAVCO field and internship photos?

    Click here for our SmugMug gallery

    Definitely [gained] confidence in myself in being able to approach a problem, and just knowing like, there's a way around this, or a way through it, and I'm going to find it.
    - 2016 Intern
  • I think professionally it's been great to learn a lot more about mentoring and be able to be more intentional with these relationships that crop up with students. Now, having more resources on the mentoring side, I think will benefit me greatly in my career as a teacher, to be more intentional with how I give advice or how I talk with students or build a rapport. Giving more than just, ‘Oh, take this class, take this class,’ but more to, ‘What's your ultimate goal?’ Then figuring out the best way to reach that goal.

    - 2016 Faculty Mentor

    It is important that Geo-Launchpad interns have a strong and supportive relationship with a faculty member from their home institution in order to ensure they continue on a path to a career in science or technology. Therefore, we ask that students apply with a faculty mentor who will provide support before, during, and after the internship.

    Why be a mentor?

    There are many benefits for faculty members who mentor undergraduates. Mentoring provides an opportunity for you to have the greatest impact on a student, yet most faculty members are constrained by other academic commitments and the importance of student mentoring is not emphasized at their institutions. By being a mentor through Geo-Launchpad, you are provided with training, support, and a stipend to help you with your mentoring efforts. Most mentors report personal satisfaction and fulfillment, are often creatively inspired by their mentees, have increased networking due to their involvement with students, are motivated to stay current in their field, and mentoring relationships often result in lifelong friendships (Johnson, 2007).

    What do faculty mentors do?

    • Complete the letter of recommendation (below) for the student as part of their application
    • Regularly communicate with the intern about their project throughout the summer
    • Travel to Boulder, CO during the last week of the program to attend the interns' final poster session (note that travel costs to Boulder will be provided)
    • Following the program in the fall semester, you will need to have one official meeting with your student during which you discuss career paths, opportunities on campus, and how to stay connected to the scientific community (the student will submit a summary of this meeting to Geo-Launchpad, and then you will receive a stipend for your efforts)
    • Although it is not required for the program, we encourage you to meet with your student regularly throughout the year

    Faculty mentors receive:

    • Mentor resources
    • Geoscience career resources
    • Travel expenses to Boulder for student program final presentations
    • Stipend for post-summer support
    • Experience guiding students into STEM academic pathways and careers

    How does mentoring benefit undergraduates?

    Students with a close mentoring relationship have a number of documented benefits including: academic achievement such as higher GPAs and completing more credit hours, higher likelihood of graduation, enhanced professional skill development, better networking, more likely to secure initial employment, higher income levels and promotion rates, and many more (Johnson, 2007).

    Full reference: Johnson, W. Brad. On being a mentor: A guide for higher education faculty. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 2007.

    Mentor Resources

    For more information on mentoring, please visit our Mentor Resources page.

    One of the things I love about teaching is that I also learn from them and that goes on in class and this summer, too. Learning about what she's been doing and the types of things that are really happening in research and the types of tools and instruments they're using and projects that they're working on. I learned a lot yesterday [at the RESESS presentation]. I will use that and plug it into my classes like 'Hey this is what people are really doing. This is how you can apply the knowledge from class. You can do projects like this.' I'm always soaking all that in and incorporate it into my classes.

    - 2016 Faculty Mentor

    Letter of Recommendation:

  • Application portal is closed. Please check back next year!

    A successful candidate will:

    • Be enrolled in a community college in Colorado or New Mexico with plans to transfer to a 4-year university
    • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
    • Currently enrolled or have completed college algebra (minimum grade of B)
    • Currently enrolled or have completed at least one additional course in geology, physical geography, hydrology, environmental sciences, physics, math, geophysics or engineering (minimum grade of B)
    • Have a faculty mentor from their home institution willing to support them before, during, and after the internship. See the faculty mentor page for more information
    • Be interested in career paths involving science, technology, or engineering
    • Have U.S. citizenship or permanent residence status
    • Have read and understand the internship requirements including traveling to Boulder, Colorado for the summer.

    Application Instructions:

    The application has 10 steps, each with several questions, some of which are not relevant to the program. Please carefully read the following prior to starting your application. Once the application is started, you will not be able to save your progress.

    **Do not upload a resume or CV. When prompted, select "Proceed without resume/CV."**

    • Step 1: fill in required contact information
    • Step 2: select 'Intern' for both 'Current Job Type' and 'Desired Job Type'. Leave all other responses blank.
    • Step 3: only answer first question to state you are authorized to work in the U.S.
    • Step 4-5: answer relevant and required questions
    • Step 6: do not upload a resume or cover letter. Instead, please upload PDFs of all of your college transcripts (unofficial copies are accepted). One single PDF is preferred.
    • Step 7: Geo-Launchpad Applicant Questions - Please prepare your responses prior to starting your application (500 word limit).
      1. Introduce yourself and tell us how you first became interested in science or engineering.
      2. Tell us about your career goals. What scientific or engineering topics most interest you in terms of a future career?
      3. Please describe how you have helped someone in your family or community learn about or understand science or engineering.
    • Name, city, and state of current educational institution (all eligible applicants must attend community college in Colorado or New Mexico).
    • The name and email address of your faculty mentor.
    • Your expected graduation date.
    • Step 8: Not applicable
    • Step 9: Equal Employment Opportunity
    • Step 10: Voluntary Self-Identification
    • Step 11: Review and Submit

    Note: Applicants who do not meet the internship requirements will not be reviewed.

    If you have questions or are unable to complete the application online, please contact or call 303-381-7500. The Geo-Launchpad Internship is a summer internship program dedicated to exposing early academic career students to research and increasing diversity in the geosciences. This program is hosted by UNAVCO, Inc., in Boulder, Colorado and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).


Last modified: 2021-03-01  15:05:40  America/Denver