Otis Environmental Internships

Application Deadline: 31 March 2014      *New e-submission!

Click here for the application form!

Funded by the Otis Endowment, Otis Environmental Internships give students a chance to understand some of the complexities and unpredictable variables that accompany environmental work.  The experience also provides a way for students to test in the field some of the theories and arguments encountered in courses.  Projects may include hands-on conservation work, environmental education, environmental research, political advocacy, environmental law, or other areas related to environmental questions.  They can involve domestic or international opportunities. 

Internships must be (1) eight weeks or longer and (2) a full-time position involving a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Awards will range from $1,000-5,000 and generally are used to provide salary for a volunteer or low-paying position.  Funds can also be requested to defray unusual expenses (e.g., high cost of international airfare) associated with the completion of the internship.

The criteria for the selection of Otis Interns are:

(1) the degree to which the internship opportunity will lead to personal growth on the part of the student;

(2) evidence of academic and other preparation for the proposed internship;

(3) evidence that the internship can be implemented and completed as specified in the proposal.

Academic credit is not granted for these internships.


Eligibility. All full-time first-year, sophomore, and junior students, regardless of major, are eligible to apply. Seniors are not eligible.

Deadline.  Proposals will not be accepted after the deadline.  Interested students are urged to talk with one of the members of the Otis Committee prior to completing their application.

Applicants are informed of the selection before any public announcement is made. Students selected are expected to confirm the acceptance of their awards.

Application package.  Submit your entire application as a single pdf document to Alison Keegan in the Dean of the Faculty’s Office by 5 pm on 31 March 2014 (akeegan@bates.edu).  The following items must be included in the package:

(a) application form;

(b) a statement of approximately 200-250 words (1-2 pages double-spaced) that describes the internship, the types of responsibilities you will have in the internship, the rationale for selecting the position, and the personal growth that you expect to realize through pursuit of the opportunity;

(c) a short (not more than four typed lines) summary of the internship, including the number of weeks and hours per week;

(d) a resume-like summary of your academic work to date and other activities that give evidence of your interest in the purposes of the Otis Internship;

(e) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three persons who can attest to your qualifications for succeeding in the internship;

(f) a concise and realistic budget for the internship;

(g) the beginning and ending dates of the internship (these dates will be used as the basis for the contract).

(h) IMPORTANT: You must secure a letter or email from the sponsoring organization that confirms (1) your duties, (2) the length of the internship, (3) the hours per week you will work, and (4) any salary or other forms of compensation (e.g., free room and/or board) associated with the position.  APPLICATIONS WITHOUT A LETTER FROM THE SPONSOR THAT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSES ALL FOUR ITEMS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

Awards and budget. Awards will range from $1,000-$5,000. A budget should accompany the application that can include: (1) wages of up to $400 maximum per week (the $400 maximum is a combination of wages and other compensation provided by the sponsor and the Otis Award) and (2) any unusual expenses associated with completion of the internship. Students are encouraged to discuss their budget with Professor Tom Wenzel, chair of the Otis Committee (twenzel@bates.edu or 786-6296).

Financial Responsibility. If for any reason the recipient of the grant is unable to fulfill her or his internship obligations as stated in their proposal, the student will be responsible to repay back the grant money awarded.  If the College has purchased airline tickets that the student does not use, the student is responsible to repay the College for the price of the ticket.  If the project has been started, then the amount of payment back will be determined by Kerry O’Brien in the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.

Academic record. The selection committee may review applicant transcripts.

Interview. The selection committee reviews all proposals and may interview some applicants.

Campus report. Following the completion of the project, each Otis Internship recipient offers a presentation to the College community. Details of this obligation are discussed with each recipient.

Selection committee. The Otis Committee welcomes questions. Its members are Thomas Wenzel, Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Otis Committee; Jane Costlow, Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies; Joseph Hall, Associate Professor of History; Lillian Nayder, Professor of English; and Kerry O’Brien, Assistant Dean of the Faculty.