This is a compendium of materials and resources that should be useful to undergraduate students interested in working as research interns.

These are the basic things you should know about interning: 

  • You can work as a volunteer, for academic credit (EPAP, ESM), for internship credit (ESM), or in some cases as a paid intern. To learn about credit options, talk to Melissa Whaley.
  • Paying positions involve particularly complex or time-sensitive work and are generally reserved for students who have worked on the project for more than two quarters.
  • Most work can be done off-site, since it mainly involves computer time. Interns who work on public information requests need to be able to come to the lab at least 1-2 times per week to receive mail and records, process, scan, and store them.
  • You are welcome to work on-site; the lab (Wickson 2135) is there for you! You can get a key by giving Jennifer Carriere (Wickson main office, second floor) a $10 deposit. If you work there a lot you may have to take a turn contributing to the candy/dessert collection =)

These are the kinds of tasks you might work on: 

  • Creating and managing databases
  • Collecting and organizating data from secondary sources such as the U.S. Census
  • Survey administration (including calling respondents to remind them to complete a survey)
  • Survey data entry
  • Filing, following up, arranging payment for, securing, and archiving materials from public record requests
  • Collecting articles from local newspapers
  • Content analysis of newspaper texts, public records, and policies
  • Constructing matrices mapping relationships among policy participants, to be used in constructing social networks
  • Interviewing policy participants 
  • Running basic descriptive statistics

These are things you should read to become familiar with literature and theories we are trying to advance. All of these readings can be accessed online on campus, or after connecting with the UCD VPN from off campus.


  • Work at least 6 hours per week.
  • Commit to working at least two quarters.
  • Meet once weekly with Gwen (or Madeline or Megan or Le Anh, if they are you main point of contact), or send an email update of your progress if you have a conflict with the normally scheduled weekly meeting.
  • Answer emails within 24 hours.

These are things you need to set up or do in order to work on the research team:

  • Have the UCD VPN installed on your computer.
  • Send Gwen your student ID number so that you can be set up in the PrePurchasing system (critical for those processing public records).
  • Sign up for Slack so that you can communicate with your team members.
  • Familiarize yourself with using Google Drive.
  • Take the CITI Responsible Conduct of Research Basic/Refresher course and send Gwen the PDF certificate you receive at the end. This is an online training in research ethics. Note that you do not need to pay for this, so do not sign up as an "independent learner." Search for University of California, Davis in the list of organizations. You should then be able to set up an account as a UCD researcher assistant associated with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy.

These are the skills and attributes that will help you contribute to the research team:

  • Detail orientation
  • Organization
  • Persistence
  • Able to do repetitive, detailed tasks accurately
  • Professionalism in written and oral communication 
  • Familiarity Excel desirable but not required
  • Knowledge of GIS desirable but definitely not required