Graduate Student Paid Internship (SCEP)

San Joaquin Valley Branch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Submission Settings: 
Open until filled
Submission Deadline: 
May 7 2008

Internship with San Joaquin Valley Branch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Susan Jones, San Joaquin Valley Branch Chief U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825 916/414-6600, fax 916/414-6713

Requirements: Master's or Ph.D student with two years or more left in their schooling. Background can be in biology, ecology, botany, wildlife biology, and subjects like that.

My team of six biologists, one secretary, and I (filler of holes, first responder to fires of various sorts, branch chief) work to recover endangered species from Bakersfield to Stockton below 1500 feet in elevation. We have a wide range of species we work on: kit fox, kangaroo rats, Bakersfield cactus, other dry land plants, giant garter snake, red legged frog, elderberry beetle, vernal pool crustaceans and plants, Buena Vista lake shrew, etc.

For the student's professional development, and to be most useful to my team, my team suggested I ask the student to do the same type of work that a full time biologist in the Endangered Species Program does in our office. We review California Environmental Quality Act documents received from counties, and we go look at sites when an applicant contacts us with a proposed development project, proposed conservation bank, or a proposed restoration project. On all of these we write letters explaining our process and requirements. With appropriate training and with the right project, the person could write an occasional Biological Opinion.

The basic requirements of the SCEP program are that the student has to be a full time student, and there has to be enough time left in their schooling that they are able to work at least 640 hours in our office before they graduate. At graduation, with satisfactory appraisals, a SCEP student is eligible to be hired into a permanent position with the Fish and Wildlife Service anywhere in the country.

We make no guarantees that the person will find such a position, but it is much easier for a hiring manager to hire a SCEP student than it is for people without the SCEP status to get hired.

Pay is approximately $17 per hour and depends on your level in school and any work experience after an undergraduate degree; sick and vacation time accrue at the same rate as permanent employees, prorated for how many hours per week the person works, and health insurance is available, with Federal contributions prorated as well.

Work hours can fluctuate each quarter, depending on each quarter's schedule. I would expect someone to work a minimum of 8 hours per week except during exams; during vacations and summers the person could work full time if they wished. I would be the person's supervisor and I understand that school needs to come first. There is room for the student to identify a project in our office and do it as a class paper, or thesis, or as a special project beyond the job duties I described above.

This is an opportunity to see how the Federal government works, and what can be accomplished, and what cannot be accomplished by a governmental body. We have an excellent team of conservation-minded biologists in the office, working under difficult conditions. Anyone who is conservation minded, willing to work as part of a team, and likes a challenge, is welcome to call me and send me a resume. I will interview people, and once I have made a tentative selection, I will ask the person to fill out an official application. There is already a SCEP contract with UC Davis, so I don't think the paperwork will be onerous, and I hope that it wouldn't take more than a month before the person could start working for us. Because of the general understanding that the person might be offered a full time position at graduation, my selection will be made with deliberation, and will be carefully reviewed by my supervisors.