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Summer Internship Program

Applications for paid summer 2023 internships at the DLC have closed. Applicants will be contacted on Friday, March 10th with an update about their application status.

Note: We will not be hosting interns in field research, animal welfare, or fossil collection in summer 2023. We plan for those opportunities to return in summer 2024.


Internship descriptions and applications

Click on the internship name to view the position description and access the online application link.

Field Research Internship

The Duke Lemur Center is looking for participants for our Summer 2024 Field Research Internship program. The Field Research Internship program serves to introduce students to lemur research and data collection. The internship provides opportunities in research for interested undergraduate students who have no prior research experience and/or do not have a faculty mentor.

Interns will be introduced to the fundamentals of behavioral ecology data collection in a field setting and will collect data as part of an on-going study of behavior and forest utilization by the free-ranging lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center, contributing to long-term research goals. Interns will be required to complete an independent project within this larger research scope. Interns can expect to gain experience in research design, ethogram development, individual identification, inter-observer reliability, sampling techniques, data collection, and data entry and analysis, among others. Please note that physical contact with the lemurs is not allowed and will not be tolerated.

This program is intended for individuals who are genuinely interested in learning the research process, but who lack prior experience and/or opportunity to otherwise do so.  The summer research program requires a 10 week-commitment starting Tuesday, May 28th and ending Saturday, August 3rd, 2024. Weekly schedules can be flexible, but requires 20 hours of on-site training and/or data collection each week, Monday-Friday.

Interns will be required to present their project results (oral or poster presentation) as part of a DLC Intern Symposium on Saturday, August 3rd, 2024.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must either be currently attending college or graduated within the last three years. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction, have effective communication skills, and work well both independently and as part of a team. Applicants must possess the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment.  Intern will be observing free-ranging lemurs in the Center's outdoor Natural Habitat Enclosures and will be exposed to many insects such as ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes as well as potential contact with plants that can cause itchy or painful rashes, and possibly, to snakes.  DLC staff will train volunteers to minimize exposure to insects, avoid snakes, and identify rash producing plants.

Housing and transportation are not provided. Interns must have their own transportation to the DLC. Proof of a current negative TB test, documentation of two doses of the measles vaccine (or MMR), and health insurance is required.

To apply to the Field Research Internship, please complete and submit the application below. Applications will be accepted through March 1st, 2024. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. A current resume and two letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. The listed contacts should send letters of reference directly to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume to DLCinternships@duke.edu.

Click here to submit an application for the Field Research internship. (Applications open January 2024)

Husbandry Internship

The Duke Lemur Center is looking for participants for our 2023 Summer Husbandry Internship program who are interested in gaining animal care experience at a research and conservation center for rare and endangered prosimian primates. Nestled on 100 acres in Duke Forest, the Lemur Center houses over 200 lemurs and bush babies across 13 species—the most diverse population of lemurs on Earth, outside their native Madagascar. Interns will be responsible for assisting in the daily care and maintenance of the Center’s collection of primates.

Duties include:

-Assisting the Technician staff with the daily care of lemurs

-Assisting with the daily cleaning of animal areas, kitchen and service areas

-Daily diet preparations

-Assisting the Technician staff with daily enrichment and behavioral observations

-Assisting the Technician staff with daily enclosure maintenance

-Learning from Technician staff about data entry in ZIMS and RedCap

-Performing other duties relating to the Center’s goals and mission statement as required

The Husbandry Internship requires a minimum of a 30-hour a week commitment, with the option to work up to 40 hours per week. The internship runs for ten-weeks, starting Tuesday, May 30th and ending Saturday, August 5th, 2023. The internship schedule will be for five consecutive days each week with one of the days being a weekend day.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must either be currently attending college or graduated within the last three years. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction and have effective communication skills. Applicants must be able to lift 50 pounds. Applicants must possess the ability to adapt to an ever-changing work environment and be available to work weekends and holidays. Public speaking skills are highly encouraged. Interns will be working in the Center’s outdoor Natural Habitat Enclosures and will be exposed to ticks, chiggers and rash producing plants.

This is a paid internship position. Interns will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour. Housing and transportation are not provided. Interns must have their own transportation to the DLC. Proof a current negative TB test, documentation of two doses of the measles vaccine (or MMR), and health insurance is required.

Note: International students applying for a DLC internship must already have a F-1 Visa through their academic institution in the United States in order to be considered for a position.

To apply to the internship program, please complete and submit the application linked below. Applications will be accepted through March 3rd, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

A current resume and two letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. Two letters of recommendation from the listed references must be sent directly by the author to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume to DLCinternships@duke.edu.

Animal Welfare Internship

The DLC is looking for participants for our Summer 2024 Animal Welfare Internship program. This program will introduce interns to the science of animal welfare and how the science is applied to fulfill the DLC's mission of advancing prosimian husbandry, research and education.

Animal Welfare Interns will gain a holistic understanding of the multi-dimensional assessment of welfare and the contributors to optimal welfare including, but not limited to, animal husbandry, medical care, environmental complexity, social structure, enrichment and operant conditioning.

The program will include introductory instruction in animal welfare, animal enrichment, lemur behavior, operant conditioning and data collection. Interns will be required to design, complete and present an independent project with a welfare focus. Additionally, interns will create and complete species specific welfare assessments.

The Animal Welfare Internship requires a consecutive ten week-commitment starting Tuesday, May 28th and ending Saturday, August 3rd, 2024. The internship requires 20 hours a week. Work hours will be from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Monday – Thursday.

Interns will be required to present their project results (oral or poster presentation) as part of a DLC Intern Symposium on Saturday, August 3rd, 2024.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction and have effective communication and interpersonal skills. Applicants must be able to lift 30 pounds.

Strong preference will be given to applicants who are majoring in Animal Science, Animal Behavior, Biology, Zoology, or related fields.

A portion of the program will be spent collecting fresh browse for the colony. While collecting browse, interns may be exposed to many bothersome creatures, such as ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes. There is also the potential for contact with plants that can cause itchy or painful rashes. Snakes may be encountered. DLC staff will train volunteers to minimize exposure to insects, avoid snakes, and identify rash producing plants.

Housing and transportation are not provided. Interns must have their own transportation to the DLC. Proof of a current negative TB test, documentation of two doses of the measles vaccine (or MMR or measles titer), and health insurance is required.

To apply to the Animal Welfare Internship, please complete and submit the application below. Applications will be accepted through March 1st, 2024. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. A current resume and two letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. The listed contacts should send letters of reference directly to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume to DLCinternships@duke.edu.

Click here to submit an application for the Animal Welfare internship. (Applications open January 2024)

Education Internship

The Duke Lemur Center (DLC) is seeking a highly motivated, team-oriented, and enthusiastic student for our Summer 2023 Education Internship. This internship is a multi-faceted position that introduces interns to all aspects of the education and tour department. This experience is an ideal way for interns to receive a comprehensive view of the inner and outer workings of informal educational programming. Responsibilities will include leading educational tours of the facility to a wide variety of groups with varying age ranges, assisting with special programs, and to a lesser extent, supporting roles such as check-in or gift shop duties. With guidance from the Duke Lemur Center's Education Programs Manager, the education intern will complete an independent project -- the focus of which will be determined collaboratively between interns and the education staff.

The Education Internship requires a consecutive ten week-commitment starting Tuesday, May 30th and ending Saturday, August 5th, 2023. The internship requires 20-30 hours a week. It is strongly preferred that interns be available for either a Sunday - Thursday or a Tuesday - Saturday schedule; however, alternate schedules can be discussed during interviews.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction and have effective communication and interpersonal skills.  Applicants must be able to work in summer weather conditions, staying outdoors on paved paths for up to 2 hours continuously. This position does not require walking or standing, but any applicants who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids should note that certain behind-the-scenes learning opportunities that are part of the overall intern experience are not fully accessible, particularly the Natural Habitat Enclosures, due to the nature of working with wild primates. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Student Programs Coordinator (contact information below).

This is a paid internship position. Interns will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour. Housing and transportation are not provided. Interns must have their own transportation to the DLC. Proof of health insurance is required.

Note: International students applying for a DLC internship must already have a F-1 Visa through their academic institution in the United States in order to be considered for a position.

To apply to the Education Internship, please complete and submit the application below. Applications will be accepted until March 3rd, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. A current resume and two letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. The listed contacts should send letters of reference directly to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (erin.hecht@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume to erin.hecht@duke.edu.

Communications Internship

Intern taking photo of ring-tailed lemur

The DLC is looking for participants for our Summer 2023 Communications Internship. The Communications Internship provides an opportunity to learn about all facets of the Duke Lemur Center, as well as to hone writing and design skills and -- as a final project -- to develop a portfolio-worthy publication with guidance from the DLC's Director of Communications. The internship also includes tasks ranging from writing and design to marketing and social media.

Highly creative, artistic, driven individuals with an aptitude for writing and design are perfect candidates for this position. A solid grasp of documentary photography and the principals and elements of design is highly desired. Design experience, including familiarity with the Adobe Creative Suite, is a plus. Applicants should possess a strong desire to learn, an openness to receiving and responding to feedback and creative direction, and an ability to work independently with minimal supervision. The intern is expected to provide his/her/their own laptop and, if interested in photography, a digital camera with lens/lenses.

The Communications Internship requires a consecutive 10-week commitment starting Tuesday, May 30th and ending Saturday, August 5th, 2023. This will be a remote internship (selected intern must reside in the state of North Carolina for the internship term), with the option of occasional onsite/in-person work if the selected intern is a local student. The internship requires 20 hours a week.

FINAL PROJECT: Working closely with the Director of Communications, the Communications Intern will assist in the creation of a full-color printed magazine showcasing the history and three-pronged mission (research, education, conservation) of the Duke Lemur Center. In doing so, the intern will consult with various departments, shadow and interview staff, write articles in an appropriate style, gather images, create illustrations or infographics, and assist with editing. This is an excellent opportunity to build self-confidence, practice project management, and hone writing and design skills while producing a final project worthy of a professional portfolio. Past issues of the DLC magazines can be viewed at lemur.duke.edu/magazine.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES: Internship responsibilities may vary based on the interests and professional goals of the selected intern. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following--

-Researching stories, including online research and interviewing and shadowing DLC staff

-Assisting with electronic newsletters, including planning, research, writing, photography, and layout/design

-Producing short, compelling videos to better tell the DLC story (concept development, scripting, storyboards, filming, post-production/editing)

-Writing, publishing, and sharing engaging content on the DLC website and blog

-Designing flyers, graphics, webpages, and other marketing materials for special events, tours, and general brand awareness

If the intern desires, the Director of Communications will assist him or her with creating a professional website to showcase the intern's photographs, articles, and other projects (digital portfolio).

APPLICATION: In addition to the application and letters of reference, applicants should submit a digital portfolio of relevant work (photo, video, design, etc. – maximum of 10 pieces) and two writing samples.

Ideally, at least one writing sample should demonstrate the applicant’s ability to research a topic, then pull everything together into a coherent and engaging narrative for the general (non-scientific) public; for example, a research-based blog post or newspaper article.

Digital portfolios should be sent either (1) via link to the applicant’s personal website; (2) via link to a dedicated Dropbox folder; or (3) by attaching a single PDF file. If submitting via Dropbox, all images must be in JPEG format with a maximum file size of 3.0 MB per image. If submitting a selection of your work via PDF, we suggest a couple of pages totaling no more than 2 MB.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must either be currently attending college or graduated within the last three years. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction and have effective communication and interpersonal skills.

This is a paid internship at a rate of $15/hour and will be remote or hybrid in nature (selected intern must reside in the state of North Carolina for the internship term). Local housing and transportation are not provided. Proof of a current negative TB test, documentation of two doses of the measles vaccine (or MMR), and health insurance are required, if working on-site at any point of the internship.

Note: International students applying for a DLC internship must already have a F-1 Visa through their academic institution in the United States in order to be considered for a position.

To apply to the Communications Internship, please complete and submit the application below. Applications will be accepted through March 3rd, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. A current resume, two letters of recommendation, writing samples, and your portfolio must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. The listed contacts should send letters of reference directly to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume and other application materials to DLCinternships@duke.edu.

Fossil Collection Internship

The Duke Lemur Center Museum of Natural History (DLCMNH) is looking for aspiring paleontologists to participate in our Summer 2024 Fossil Collection Internship. The Internship is an opportunity to work in an active paleontological research lab that maintains over 30,000 specimens, including the largest collection of primate fossils in North America. The internship provides opportunities for independent research as well as collaborative research in the collection.

Interns will be introduced to curatorial methods, fossil preparation and conservation, molding and casting techniques, digital fossil preparation, surface model generation, photogrammetry, and archival research. Interns can also collaborate on exhibit design and fossil-based community outreach. Interns will also have the option to participate in fossil-collecting fieldwork in Wyoming and Utah where they will learn to search for, collect, and document fossil discoveries.

The DLCMNH maintains an extensive digital museum on the website MorphoSource, and there are multiple, on-going projects that utilize fossil scans to explore the ecological context of our earliest primate relatives. Interns would be encouraged to develop projects that build and explore these datasets. Interns can also assist in research and identification of fossil material from our extensive subfossil lemur collection from Madagascar, and the generation of digital dissections of microCT scanned comparative specimens.

This program is intended for students with a strong interest in the inner-workings of museums, and that have an interest in developing research questions based on biological collections, with a special focus on students that have limited access to biological and fossil collections at their home institutions. Technical skills in fossil and digital preparation are not required, though a comfort learning new skills and software programs is necessary. Interns should be prepared to lift up to 30 pounds and should be aware that some work may require handling noxious chemicals in controlled settings.

The spring internship program requires a 10-week commitment starting Tuesday, May 28th and ending Saturday, August 3rd, 2024. Weekly schedules can be flexible. The lab is open 9-5PM Monday-Friday with an expected 20 hours of on-site curation and research.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and either be currently attending college or graduated within the last three years. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow written and oral instruction, have effective communication skills, and have the ability to adapt to an ever-changing work environment.

Housing and transportation are not provided. Interns must have their own transportation to the museum (1013 Broad Street Durham, NC 27705). Proof of health insurance is required.

To apply to the Fossil Collection Internship, please complete and submit the application below. Applications will be accepted through Friday, March 1st, 2024. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. A current resume and two letters of recommendation must be received by the deadline for an application to be complete. The application allows you to list the contact information for two references. The listed contacts should send letters of reference directly to the Student Program Coordinator, Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu). The applicant should also send their resume to DLCinternships@duke.edu.

Click here to submit an application for the Fossil Collection internship. (Applications open January 2024)

All summer ’23 internships will be paid positions. Students will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour. It is possible to also receive academic credit for a DLC internship, although some schools may not give course credit for paid positions. Be sure to check with your institution, if you hope to receive academic credit.

If you have general questions regarding internships at the DLC, please check out our Intern FAQs or contact Erin Hecht (DLCinternships@duke.edu).

Note: International students applying for a DLC internship must already have a F-1 Visa through their academic institution in the United States in order to be considered for a position.


Internship questions

Internship FAQ

DLC Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply to multiple DLC internships?

You are welcome to apply to a maximum of two DLC internships. If you are a finalist for both internships, the intern managers will review your skills and decide which department will extend an offer.

If I am applying to multiple internships at the DLC, do I need to submit different references/letters of recommendation for each application?

For candidates applying to more than one internship, you may submit the same letters of recommendation for each internship application or you can submit different letters of recommendation for an internship if the letter of recommendation highlights strengths and experience for a specific internship.

To whom should my references address my letters?

Applications are reviewed by the internship coordinator for each department. If you applied to the husbandry internship, the letter should be addressed to the “Husbandry Internship Coordinator.” If you applied to the field research internship, then “Field Research Internship Coordinator” would be appropriate, etc..

Do I need to wait until both of my letters of recommendation have been submitted before I complete an online application and send my resume?

No, in fact we encourage you to get your application and resume in as soon as possible! We will follow up with each applicant as their letters come in. If your application is in earlier, we have your email address to follow-up about any missing application materials well before the deadline.

I see that I am required to obtain certain immunizations if selected for an internship opportunity. Will the DLC pay for this?

No, all immunization costs are up to the intern. All immunizations requested are for your safety as well as the safety of the animals.

Is housing provided for DLC interns?

No, the DLC internship program does not provide housing or a housing stipend for interns. While you must find your own housing, selected interns will be given access to several housing search resources for the Durham area.

Is transportation provided?

No, selected interns must have their own transportation to get to and from the DLC.

Is this a paid internship program?

All summer ’23 internships will be paid positions. Students will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour. It is possible to also receive academic credit for a DLC internship, although some schools may not give course credit for paid positions. Be sure to check with your institution, if you hope to receive academic credit.

Is there an age restriction for interns?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must either be currently attending college or graduated within the last three years.

Will there be any hands-on contact with the lemurs during the internship?

No. For your safety and the safety of the lemurs, interns are not allowed to have any physical contact with the animals. The lemurs are wild animals and we want them to maintain their natural behaviors.

What file format is best for resume and letter of recommendation submissions?

PDF format is preferred for resumes and letters of recommendation. Please include your last name in the file name for submitted documents (eg. Hecht_resume). Those application items must be emailed to DLCinternships@duke.edu by the application deadline for an application to be complete. For the communications internship, submission instructions for the digital portfolio are included in the internship description.

I am interested in applying to the summer internship program, but can't start on May 3oth and/or can't work through August 5th. Are the internship term dates flexible? Will I be considered for the internship if I am unable to be present for the full extent of the internship?

All summer interns must be available to start on May 3oth and work through August 5th. Interns will present their project at our Summer Intern Project Symposium on August 5th. Interns must be present every Tuesday from 12-1PM during the internship term for weekly seminars.

How will I know if my application is complete?

We are working hard to process application materials as they come in. As your materials have been processed, you will receive an email confirming a complete application. These emails are not automatic, they come directly from the Intern Coordinator. We receive an overwhelming number of applications and corresponding materials in the last two weeks before the deadline. Please be patient if you haven't received confirmation yet!

How will I hear if I have been selected?

Complete applications will be reviewed starting on March 6th, 2023. Candidates who are selected to receive a phone interview will be notified by March 13th. All candidates who received a phone interview will be notified of the final decision by March 27th, 2023.

I applied for a position but was not accepted. Can I apply again?

Absolutely! If you were not selected for the upcoming internship term, we encourage you to resubmit an application for a future internship term.

Do you still have questions about applying for the summer internship program?

Join us for one of the following optional Zoom application workshops, which are an opportunity for prospective applicants to drop in and ask any questions about the application process or the intern program in general.

Check back for 2024 dates!

NOTE: If you have allergies, please be aware that the DLC keeps peanuts, peanut butter, and tree nuts onsite for lemur food and training rewards. Some internship types, such as Husbandry and Field Research, are more conducive to coming into contact with nuts than other internships types are.


Internship Funding

Did you know that until 2022, the Duke Lemur Center only offered UNPAID undergraduate internships? Summer ’22 was the first year we were able offer some funded intern positions, thanks to support received from donors willing to provide $7,5000 to cover one intern’s hourly compensation for the 10 week program. Since introducing paid internship positions, we have received more applications than ever before, making the applicant pool more competitive and including applicants from a broader range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. If you or your organization would like to fund an intern for summer 2024, contact our Development Officer, Mary Paisley, at mary.paisley@duke.edu!