We are currently seeking prospective graduate students, post-docs, and undergraduate researchers to join our exciting research endeavors in agroecological management and sustainable food systems.

Summer Internship Opportunities

Interested undergraduates are encouraged to apply for an internship with the Blesh Lab for the summer 2020 field season (May-Aug). Interns will learn about agroecological research while assisting graduate students in the lab and field (see project descriptions below). Interns interested in social science could also work on a project assessing cover crop practices and knowledge sharing among farmers in the Midwest. Internship start and end dates are flexible, but students are expected to commit 20-40 hours/week for a 6-12 week period.

Project – Cover Crop Experiment on Conventional Grain Farms in Michigan

In May and June, interns will travel with the lab to farms in SE Michigan to collect baseline soil samples ahead of an experiment which will be planted later in the summer. After fieldwork is completed they will have the opportunity to gain a variety of lab skills and experiences, including sample and data processing and analyses. In late July/August, interns will return to the farms and to Kellogg Biological Research Station to set up the cover crop experiment. Lab measurements of plant and soil samples and computer-based data analysis will continue through July and August. Preference for this position will be given to those with an interest in farming and either (i) physical endurance to conduct field work outside during the warm summer months, or (ii) basic lab experience (i.e. from a chemistry or biology class or research).

Project ā€“ Cover Crop Experiment on Organic Vegetable Farms in Brazil

Applicants may also choose to work on a parallel project in the Blesh Lab that will involve analyzing the nutrient content of organically-grown vegetables and soil from a cover crop project in southern Brazil. From May until mid-June, there will be opportunities to support a controlled nitrogen fixation experiment in a growth chamber in the Biological Sciences Building on Central Campus. From mid-June through mid-August, this project will involve sample processing and chemical analysis in a lab setting. Through hands-on experience, interns will learn about data organization and analysis. Preference for this position will be given to those with prior lab experience and/or Spanish or Portuguese language abilities. 

Project ā€“ Cover crop adoption and knowledge sharing in the Midwest

Interns interested in social science can work on a project interviewing farmers in Michigan and across the Midwest about their cover crop practices and how they share their knowledge with other farmers. The social science project will be ongoing throughout the spring and summer and will involve conducting interviews with farmers, transcribing interviews, and analyzing data.


This internship is not funded. However, if funding is the only barrier for you to intern with our lab, we will make every effort to help you find funding. For example, if you are a University of Michigan student, there are funding opportunities for internships to support your summer living expenses. If you are coming from another institution, your college or university may provide similar support. If you are taking classes on the University of Michigan ā€“ Ann Arbor campus over the summer and you qualify for federal work-study, there may be an opportunity to intern in the lab for up to 20 hours/week as a work-study student.

To apply: please email your resume, a cover letter explaining why you are interested in this internship, and a list of your relevant coursework to Beth VanDusen at vanbeth(at)umich.edu. Applications are due by April 6, 2020.