USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station

The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station is part of the nation’s largest forestry research organization. Our 130 scientists, and around 300 employees total, focus on environmental and social research that provides landowners, managers, and policy makers with the knowledge and tools they need to sustainably manage our county’s forests and natural resources. 

Our work stretches across a region of 13 states, from Virginia south to Florida and west to Kentucky and Texas. We are dedicated to scientific discovery, developing and applying new techniques and technologies, and meeting the needs of our customers and stakeholders. 


Asheville, NC

Internship Description

Interns with our Station’s Communication Resources group will gain a deeper understanding of federal science programs in general and the research priorities and forest management practices within the Forest Service specifically. They will expand their knowledge of forestry science, including ecology, forest health, silviculture, wildlife biology, and more. 

The interns will interview scientists, observe their field experiments, and summarize their research in articles for the online science magazine, CompassLive. Recent interns have published several articles during their summer experience, adding valuable accomplishments to their resumes. 

Over the summer, the interns will develop and hone their science writing, editing, and communication skills. They will contribute social media content and learn how our staff develop messages across different platforms to reach diverse audiences. They will become familiar with our Station’s public and legislative affairs programs and may have an opportunity to contribute to briefing papers or other synthesis documents. 

Interns will complete an independent project in collaboration with a researcher or team of researchers. Projects vary in format and topic but generally build on the science communication focus. 

Last summer, one intern helped to plan a webinar on prescribed fire for a national forest partner. Another intern tested a new method for evaluating hurricane damage to forest resources. Past projects also include a series of factsheets about a network of experimental research sites and a synthesis of forest management practices to be shared with stakeholders at public meetings. 

The intern supervisor can help to identify project topics, connect interns with collaborators, and provide guidance throughout the process. 

The project gives interns opportunities to work alongside scientists, contribute to active research projects, and build upon the science writing, translation, and communication skills that they develop throughout the summer. 

# of weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Public Transit Housing  Format
8 Flexible 8:00am 4:30pm Yes No In person

Housing Information

In the past, PICS interns have easily found housing close to or on campus for the duration of the internship.

Internship Qualifications

We seek interns who are interested in active research on natural resources, public land management, communicating research results, and writing about science for general audiences. 

Additional qualifications:

Some science coursework would help the interns get started but is not required. 

Writing Sample Required


Special Requirements

  • Vaccinations (including Covid-19)
  • If we are able to travel to field research locations next summer, then there may be some travel time outside of the regular work schedule.