Research & Internship Opportunities for PLU Natural Sciences Students

PLU Natural Sciences offers a limited number of paid on-campus research opportunities working with our faculty each summer, as well as support for our students in getting off-campus internship and research positions. Off-campus summer research offers invaluable experience in real world labs working with career researchers, professors, and other undergraduate students from across the nation and around the world. For those interested in positions outside of the sphere of research, summer internships with science-related organizations or industries allow students to explore other career opportunities in science.

PLU's Natural Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program (NSSURP)

The Natural Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program (NSSURP) involves PLU faculty mentors with research projects reflecting the natural sciences fields of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics, and Physics. Mentors engage with their student-researchers one-on-one, in the laboratory, and in the field, guiding student researchers as they study research ethics, read peer-reviewed research literature, formulate research questions, carry out specific research procedures, record results, analyze data, write research reports, and present their findings through oral and poster forms.

Through research failures and triumphs, students gain confidence in their ability to face unknowns and to solve problems, develop ways of thinking that typify researchers, and appreciate the exhilaration of discovery. Many student-researchers have been co-authors for papers presented at professional meetings or published in peer-reviewed journals. Student-researchers bring a richer understanding of the natural sciences to their future roles as professionals and as world citizens.

Jenise Cavness works in the lab as part of a Student faculty summer research in chemistry with Prof. Andrea Munro at PLU,.
Jenise Cavness '19 (Chemistry major) works in the lab as part of summer research in Chemistry with Associate Professor Andrea Munro at PLU.

PLU Natural Sciences majors are encouraged to participate in summer internship and research programs both on and off campus. Students can utilize the internship and career resources at PLU’s Office of Alumni & Student Connections to help find an opportunity to fit their needs. Below you’ll a couple of summer undergraduate research opportunties that are affiliated with the PLU Division of Natural Sciences.

Typically, undergraduate summer research experiences adhere to the following:

  • 10 weeks long
  • Full-time (40 hours/week)
  • Pay ~$5,000 +
  • Sometimes includes a housing stipend or arrangements
  • Opportunity to explore what life is like after PLU: graduate school & careers in science

Fred Hutch Small University Undergraduate Summer Internship

Students from Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle Pacific University who are pursuing a degree in biology, biochemistry or chemistry are eligible for this nine-week summer program in Fred Hutch’s Vaccine & Infectious Disease Division. Interns help with basic laboratory maintenance and research; at the end of the summer, they give presentations detailing their research projects.

This research internship is unpaid, but students can apply for one of the two $4,000 grants from PLU’s Long Science, Technology and Society Endowed Internship Fund.

Students tour the Fred Hutch facilities in 2017.
Elliott Peterson '18 (Chemistry) touring Fred Hutch with a group of PLU students.
The Long Science, Technology and Society Endowed Internship Fund

The Long Science, Technology and Society Endowed Internship Fund is intended to provide financial assistance to PLU students to participate in otherwise unpaid internships in a field related to science and technology. It is supported by a generous endowment from George L. and Helen B. Long.

This internship is an opportunity to gain experience in a particular field or job function under the guidance of a supervisor and provides financial support for the recipient, opening up unpaid internship opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. PLU students are very fortunate to be able to apply for $4,000 in funding for otherwise unpaid summer internships. Up to two internships are awarded each year. The learning that occurs and the experience that is gained should support and relate to classroom learning at Pacific Lutheran University in the Natural Sciences.

Jun Wu working at the Tacoma Nature Center as an intern.
Jun Wu '19 (Environmental Studies & French Double-major with a Geosciences minor), worked at the Tacoma Nature Center as an intern in 2019 supported by the Long Internship Fund.