The FPL program provides paid summer internships to highly accomplished undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates to work on diverse issues related to emerging management issues driven by global drivers of change and related effects in national parks. The internship projects may occur in national parks or program offices and are designed by National Park Service (NPS) staff to meet high-priority needs of parks and programs. General topic areas include resource protection; supporting science; adaptation actions; policy and planning; sustainable operations; and communication, interpretation, or education.
Previous interns have worked on a wide range of projects, including developing new interpretive programs in urban parks, monitoring glacier mass balance, developing management plans that anticipate new wildfire regimes, organizing a workshop on preservation of historic buildings, and creating high-quality videos about climate change impacts on parks.
Internship positions run full-time (40 hours/week) for 11-12 weeks, generally during the summer months. They pay $16/hour plus benefits. Interns are employees of the University of Washington. Most positions come with free or subsidized housing in dormitories or other shared accommodations in parks. They are all rigorous and challenging projects that demand high-level academic knowledge and skills and that afford interns with considerable autonomy and opportunity for leadership under an effective mentor.
The FPL operates under the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Direct Hire Authority (DHA), which means that students who excel in their internships and then subsequently complete their undergraduate or graduate degree requirements are eligible to be hired without competition into NPS, FWS, BLM, USBR, or BIA jobs for which they are qualified. Non-competitive hiring status for a FPL intern remains in effect for two years following graduation. A FPL intern from a previous year may not re-apply for a new internship while their non-competitive hiring status is still in effect. While the DHA enables NPS to hire highly qualified and experienced candidates into open positions efficiently, the FPL program is not a guarantee that positions appropriate to any given intern will be available in the near future. Contact us for more information.
Professional development is a key attribute of the FPL. All interns will be mentored by an immediate NPS supervisor and by the national program coordinator. Additionally, they will be included in a closed Facebook group and expected to contribute to ongoing discussion and learning about their projects, the NPS, protected areas, and related professional matters. Interns will participate in a one-day virtual orientation session at the start of the summer, as well as join an in-person, expense-paid professional development workshop at the end of the summer. These sessions will allow interns to network with each other and with NPS and DOI leaders, learn about federal climate change response programs, explore federal career opportunities, and develop practical skills like searching for federal jobs.