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TRAIL Research Project (Summer 2017)

Are you a tribal member pursuing a degree in a STEM field?

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) College Internship Program aims to increase the retention of tribal students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) degrees by providing research experience, mentoring, and an opportunity to explore career options in natural resources.

Job Description

  • Selected intern will work with CRITFC scientists and their collaborators (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon State University, and Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife) to provide field assistance in food web related research, including handling of salmon carcasses, aiding snorkel and electrofishing surveys, PIT tagging fish, collection of stream macroinvertebrates, notetaking, and other various tasks.
  • Duration of the internship (10-13 weeks) is somewhat negotiable beginning in July with concentrated periods of work in August and September. The intern must be flexible in terms of the working schedule, which is dependent on the work to be completed. For example, the regular schedule could be 5 days on/2 days off, but during busy periods the schedule could shift to 8 days on/6 days off.
  • The project is located in the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon near the town La Grande, OR. The intern is expected to make their own living arrangements, which could include renting in La Grande or nearby town, or potentially commuting on an approximate bi-weekly basis to a campground near the field sites.
  • Compensation: $16.67/hr base rate (full time for up to 13 weeks) and travel per diem on occasions when camping is required.
  • Near the end of the internship period, the intern will give a brief presentation to CRITFC summarizing work completed during the internship.

Internship Objectives


  • Increase exposure of tribal members to professional careers protecting tribal resources
  • Promote retention of tribal students in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees
  • Provide an internship program for individual research experience and mentoring
  • Increase professional interactions with practitioners in fisheries and natural resources
  • Encourage employment in fisheries and natural resources

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a deeper understanding of environmental issues faced by tribal agencies
  • Preparation and familiarity with field research, leading to increased employment opportunities
  • Exploration of career and educational goals through personal interactions with working scientists and field biologists

Internship Requirements

  • Internship will be offered with a preference in the following order: (1) tribal member of one of the four CRITFC member tribes, (2) tribal member of a non-CRITFC member tribe, and (3) non-tribal member interested in learning about natural resource issues from a tribal perspective
  • Full time college student during Spring 2017 quarter/semester OR Fall 2017 quarter/semester (minimum of 12 undergraduate credits)
  • Demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in a natural resources field
  • Some experience collecting scientific data in the field with minimal supervision either through coursework or previous job experience, including demonstrated ability to record accurate and legible field notes (preferred candidates will posses at least 3 months of this kind of experience)
  • Have an interest in working for a tribal organization
  • Ability to work long hours outdoors under adverse weather conditions, hiking up to 5 miles over rough terrain while carrying 50 lbs


Supervision received: CRITFC internship supervisor and Oregon State University field supervisor

Working Conditions

The majority of the internship involves working in the field conducting physically demanding tasks such as backpack electrofishing, operating a seine net, or snorkeling for long periods of time (typically 10+ hours per day) in hot and potentially inclement weather conditions. Camping near project locations may be required at times. Duties may also include office or laboratory work such as data entry, post-processing of field data, and organizing and maintaining equipment at a field station or campground. Training will be provided on-site.

CRITFC Motor Vehicle Policy

The driver operating a CRITFC vehicle or their own private vehicle for business related purposes shall be in possession of a valid, unrestricted current driver’s license, or other operator’s license, as required by law; and be eligible for coverage under CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle insurance policy. Upon request, CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle policy is available to applicants to review the required criteria.

Application Form

The CRITFC Internship Application for summer 2017 internships is due March 17.

For more information, contact:
Tana Atchley
Tribal Workforce Development & Outreach Coordinator
(503) 238-0667


2016 TRAIL Intern Michael Buck (Yakama) working on his project.

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