The Chicago Botanic Garden is excited to offer a variety of opportunities for people to engage in research in the fields of plant biology and conservation. Learn more about each program and how they provide the opportunity to help address the current issues facing our planet such as the impacts of climate change, fragmentation, restoration and other conservation topics. 

Opportunities vary throughout the year and some have specific requirements to participate.  

Summer REU: Genes to Ecosystems

Education Level: Undergraduate
Term: Summer
Length: 10 weeks
Compensation: Paid
Applications Closed

The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts a full-time ten week (mid-June to mid-August) research experiences for undergraduates (REU) program. This program provides research training to undergraduates on a range of topics in plant biology and conservation (PBC), spanning genetic to ecosystem levels of inquiry. One key goal of this program is to broaden and support diversity in the sciences, particularly by increasing the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM.

We provide budding scientists opportunities to grow personally and professionally through:

  • Professional-development workshops
  • Field trips to local partner research institutions
  • Participation in a near peer mentorship network (Science Career Continuum)
  • Training in scientific communication
  • Presentations at local research symposia

Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 

The Chicago Botanic Garden summer internships program has a partnership with the UChicago Odyssey Scholars program which has a separate timeline. UChicago students interested in participating in an internship at the Garden this summer should contact David Lerner (dlerner@uchicago.edu) and cc the REU Team (info@pbcinternships.org) to determine if they are eligible for a funded opportunity.

Summer REU: Prairie Plant Biology & Conservation in Minnesota

Education Level: Undergraduate
Term: Summer 
Length: 10-12 weeks
Compensation: Paid ($640/week)
Applications Open

The Echinacea Project is looking for enthusiastic undergraduate researchers for the 2024 summer field season. This project investigates how small population size and reduced genetic diversity influence individual fitness, population demographics, plant-insect interactions and evolution in the purple coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia. We seek students with interests in plant population biology, evolution and quantitative genetics, pollination biology, plant-insect interactions, and conservation biology. This REU (research experience for undergraduates) is a great opportunity for aspiring ecologists, conservation biologists, and evolutionary biologists to gain field research experience. There are also opportunities for those with quantitative backgrounds (statistics, math, computer science) to gain experience managing data, programming, or modeling.

This REU is located in western Minnesota. Travel expenses to the research site are covered and housing is provided. The program runs June-August; start and end dates are flexible. 

We especially encourage individuals from groups underrepresented in science to apply! Learn more and apply here. Application review begins February 21. 

Pollination Ecology Research Assistant

Education Level: Undergraduate, BA or MA degree, students in between undergraduate and graduate programs
Term: Summer
Length: 9-13 weeks
Compensation: Paid
Not Currently Accepting Applications

The ILER-CARADONNA LAB is looking for students with fieldwork experience to be part of an experimental plant demography project at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, CO, USA (https://www.rmbl.org/). The project addresses how pollinator declines will affect plant population dynamics in multiple plant species. Main tasks include measuring demographic vital rates on individual plants (size, reproductive status, etc.), applying pollination treatments (hand pollinations and bagging flowers/inflorescences), pollinator observations, and other general ecological fieldwork tasks. 

Multiple positions are available. The start date is somewhat flexible beginning in late May/early June and runs for up to 13 weeks depending on specific start date.

Lake Forest College Internship

Education Level: Undergraduate
Term: Fall
Length: 4 weeks
Compensation: Unpaid, college credit
Not Currently Offered

Through a partnership with Lake Forest College the Chicago Botanic Garden provides mini-internships for students enrolled in the College's Plant Biology course. These internships are once a week for four weeks in the fall and restricted to students enrolled in the Plant Biology course at Lake Forest College.

High School Partnerships

Education Level: High School
Term: Year round
Length: Variable
Compensation: Unpaid
Not Currently Offered

The Science and Conservation department at the Chicago Botanic Garden partners with various high school programs throughout the year. Partnerships include the Chicago Botanic Garden's College First program, Stevenson High School's SPARK program, and Evanston High School which provide opportunities for young scientists to gain knowledge and skills in plant biology and conservation research.