Program Information for Organizations

Purpose of the Program
Who are the Partner Organizations?
Who are the Students?
Advertising Your Organization's Internship Positions
Helpful Hints
Application Procedure
After Your Stanback Position Offer is Accepted


Purpose of the Program

Fred and Alice Stanback established the Stanback Internship Program to provide students at Duke with significant work experience in conservation, advocacy, applied resource management and/or environmental policy. The program is a partnership between the Nicholas School and selected conservation organizations throughout the United States. The program is open to all continuing (i.e. non-graduating) Duke students.


Who are the Partner Organizations?

Each year, Fred Stanback selects participating organizations and allots them one or more interns for the coming summer. Other employers may not solicit to participate in the Stanback program. In 2016, 52 environmental organizations participated as partner organizations and represented a cross-section of environmental activity in the region. Click here for a complete list of this year's organizations and their contact information.


Who are the Students?

The majority of intern candidates will be Nicholas School students pursuing the degree of Master of Environmental Management (MEM) or Master of Forestry (MF). The MEM and MF degree programs stress interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problem solving. They train students to understand the scientific basis of environmental problems, as well as the social, political and economic factors that determine effective policy options for their solution. Program specialization tracks within the degrees include conservation science and policy, forest management, coastal management, environmental economics and policy, global environmental change, and water and air resources. Students come to the Nicholas School with a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, including environmental sciences, engineering, business, economics, and the humanities.

Students from the Duke Law School, Fuqua School of Business, Sanford School of Public Policy, Pratt School of Engineering, and other undergraduate programs are also invited to apply for Stanback internships. These students expand the variety of skill sets and training available to organizations looking for Stanback interns. At the undergraduate level, the majority of interested candidates will be pursuing degrees in public policy or environmental sciences. 


Advertising Your Organization's Internship Positions

The Career and Professional Development Center at the Nicholas School will contact you in the fall to begin the process of organizing the following summer’s internships. The office advertises all internships to students through the Duke Environment Career Link website.  You may advertise one more projects than you have allotted interns, to attract a wider array of applicants.

Each project description should include the following:

  • a brief background that outlines how the proposed project fits into the organization's larger work
  • a list of responsibilities for the intern, including the expected end product
  • required and desired qualifications, in terms of both skills and knowledge, and
  • other information such as where the intern will be located, the project’s supervisor, and
  • expected opportunities for travel, networking, or interaction with other aspects of the organization’s work.

Project descriptions are posted on the website and made available to interested students beginning at the school's winter break through the spring semester.  Special marketing efforts will take place in March/April to bring attention to projects that have not been filled.  The Stanback Internship Program will also be promoted to newly admitted students who will be beginning their program at Duke in the fall as they are eligible.


Helpful Hints

As you prepare project descriptions, it may be helpful to keep the following in mind. The MEM and MF degrees both require the completion of a Masters Project (MP). Many Nicholas School students look for a summer project that will serve as the basis for their MP. These projects do not require original research, but they must involve a novel analysis or approach to an environmental management issue. Your project proposals may have a better chance of attracting interested Nicholas School students if they are capable of providing the intern with the basis for an MP. Your organization also benefits from having a project that becomes an MP because the student will continue to work on the MP through the following academic year. The longer-term analysis and final report may be a “value-added” product for your organization.


Application Procedure

Students will submit a cover letter and resume to be considered for a position.  These documents will be forwarded to your organization’s designated contact person listed in the internship project description in February.  You will interview students via phone or on campus at Stanback Interview Day and notify students of your decision.


After Your Stanback Position Offer is Accepted

Once a student has accepted your internship offer, you will need to notify Jordan Hart at: stanback@nicholas.duke.edu. Stipend payment arrangements are made between the school and the intern; host organizations are responsible for communicating with their intern and deciding upon the start/end dates of work, specific responsibilities for the project, expected end product, and other details.

If your intern is an international student, you will also need to provide the school with an official letter, on letterhead, that includes the following:

  • Name of student
  • Name of organization
  • Complete mailing address (unless already on letterhead)
  • Start/end dates of internship
  • Number of hours per week the intern will work
  • A brief description of the internship (2-3 sentences)
  • Name of supervisor
  • Phone number and email address of supervisor

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Kirchof at stanback@nicholas.duke.edu or 919-613-8102.