Field Museum of Natural History

Field Museum

Illinois LS-AMP

ILSAMP Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for a paid internship at the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH) for Summer 2024. Students will have the opportunity to work with scientists on unique opportunities to be engaged in hands-on research that will involve Museum collections, laboratory experiences, and mentorship from curatorial and collections scientists.

Students must be currently enrolled at any of the 12 ILSAMP partner institutions::

Partner Institutions
Chicago State University DePaul University
Governors State University Illinois Institute of Technology
Malcolm X College Morton College
Northeastern Illinois University Prairie State College
Saint Augustine College Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at Springfield


Field Museum 

 is pleased to offer the following opportunities this summer:

Mentor: Kimberly Hansen

Description: The Field Museum’s John G. Searle Herbarium contains almost three million plant specimens collected from all over the world. Many of these specimens represent undescribed species. Unfortunately, these new additions to the scientific record will remain unrecognized until a specialist is able to take a closer look at the collections. This internship offers opportunities to gain experience curating natural history collections and contribute to ongoing research projects focused on describing unrecognized species of flowering plants. This internship will focus on “taking a closer look” at The Field Museum’s Gesneriaceae (African violet family) herbarium collections from Latin America. The student will work with specialists to update and digitize the herbarium collections then gather morphological and geographic data from these specimens. The student will learn how to analyze their data and test hypotheses related to species delimitation.

Mentor: Michael Donovan

Description: The Field Museum is home to one of the largest paleobotany collections in North America and includes fossils from throughout the history of plants. Proper curation of these plant fossils is essential for their long term preservation, which will enable continued access of the collection for research and education into the future. Digitization of the collection, including databasing and photographing specimens, is necessary to increase the accessibility of the collection for people around the world. The intern will gain experience in curating and digitizing fossils, including identifying, databasing, and photographing specimens.

Mentors: Susan Mochel and Caleb McMahan

Description:  Natural history collections house specimens that are critically important for documenting and studying the world's biodiversity. The Field Museum of Natural History has over 40 million specimens and objects in its collections, some two million of which are fishes. Curation of these collections is a diverse job that ranges from handling specimens to database management. The student will be involved in several different aspects to curating natural history collections of fishes, and offer experience in computer and database skills, communication with researchers, identification of fishes, and laboratory skills.

Mentor: Paul Mayer

Description: Interns will work on digitizing the Field Museum's Fossil Invertebrate collection of Devonian marine invertebrate fossils. This will include data entry of specimen label data into our EMu database, photographing fossils and labels, and some Facebook posts about the fossils. This project is partially funded by an IMLS grant to digitize the Devonian fossils in the Field Museum's Fossil Invertebrate collections. Interns will work directly with the fossils.The Field Museum will provide EMu and photography training. Experience with paleontology courses or databases is a plus.


Mentor: Matt von Konrat 

Description: This internship would be focusing on early land plants (mosses, liverworts and hornworts), which are used as environmental indicators of climate change and are evolutionary very significant. These early land plants have an incredible evolutionary history spanning 420 million years ago. Today these ecologically significant groups of plants form a dominant and conspicuous part of the ecosystem in many regions all around the world. Many species also have interesting biological properties. For example, chemical compounds from some species show cytotoxicity against certain cancer cell lines.


The mentee will join a diverse team including senior scientists, researchers, technicians, undergraduates and high school students helping unlock hidden biodiversity from these microscopic plants, especially the liverwort genus Frullania. There are over 2000 published names, yet there remain many undescribed species. Uncovering hidden, or cryptic biodiversity remains a serious challenge. This project is designed to not only resolve systematic questions, but also to help address a number of challenges currently facing systematics, including identifying apparently cryptic or nearly cryptic species and the synthesis of exponentially growing data sets. This project will potentially test a combination of molecules, morphology and machine learning to test taxonomic and evolutionary hypotheses regarding morphologically cryptic species.


Skills that will be acquired through this internship: Development of computer-aided tools, coding, digital microscopy, DNA tools, fieldwork, herbarium skills, morphometrics, plant systematics.

Mentors: Sean Keogh and Marty Pryzdia

Description: Freshwater mussels are temporary parasites who rely on their fish hosts for dispersal into novel habitats. Which host and the number of hosts a particular freshwater mussel species can infect, varies dramatically across different mussel species. This variation in host use fundamentally alters freshwater mussel natural history. Yet these causal relationships have been poorly explored. In this project, interns will use Field Museum collections and existing datasets to test a number of hypotheses regarding the role of host use in freshwater mussel ecology and evolution. Interns will be involved in all phases of the scientific method and learn skills in R coding, morphometrics, data curation, technical analysis, scientific writing, and potentially assist with field collection of fish hosts and/or mussels.

Mentor: Kimberly Hansen

Description: The Field Museum’s John G. Searle Herbarium contains almost three million plant specimens. Approximately 60% of the flowering plant specimens were collected in Latin America, with a concentration in tropical areas well known to be biodiversity hotspots. Documenting and understanding patterns of global diversity has become more important than ever as diversity continues to decline worldwide. In order to make the collections more accessible to researchers who document biodiversity, we are focusing on digitizing neotropical herbarium specimens. The internship will focus on preparing specimens to be imaged and transcribed. The intern will learn about curatorial processes and best practices for natural history specimens in addition to plant diversity, geography, and history.


Internship Benefits Include:

  • free admission to the museum & special exhibits
  • reduced parking
  • ability to reserve tickets for family & friends
ILSAMP/FMNH Internship Application Form
In 600-700 words, why are you interested in the ILSAMP/US EPA Internship? Please, indicate any relevant experiences

To apply please submit the following to

  1. A curriculum vitae
  2. Unofficial transcripts
  3. Two letters of recommendation (one of which must be from the current or recent research mentor, highlighting the candidate’s research experience and character)
  4. A statement (no more than 2 pages) addressing why you, the applicant, are interested in the program; how the program will benefit you; your career goal, which project you are applying for, and why you would be a good fit for this program.

All applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the semester and over the summer.

Selection Process: Applications will be evaluated by a three-person committee including a Field Museum staff member.

Questions or inquiries?

Please contact:

Field MuseumTheresa Reilly
Administrative Coordinator
Gantz Family Collections Center