Now Hiring! Where to Look for Summer Funding

 Jan 22, 2018    by Clay Tucker and Taylor Rowley

Graduate funding often matches the 9-month term that most professors hold, so not every graduate student has access to year-round funding. Perhaps you pick up a job at the local coffee shop, or maybe you move back home for three months, or maybe you have somehow saved enough money to have a white-knuckle penniless ride through JJA (that’s June, July, and August in climate-speak). However, did you know that there are numerous routes to funding your summer, while doing something you love AND forwarding your career?! We have listed some traditional and non-conventional methods here. Though many of these opportunities are not secret and others are applying as well, it may behoove you to start looking at/for these opportunities now!

The Most Obvious: Ask your advisor! She/he is your closest ally in the research world. Though you’ll likely already know what is available from her/him, your advisor may have some old funding tucked away that you don’t know about, or they may know exactly where you should go looking.

The Good News: This is the most approachable option, and it will likely lead to the most relevant work for you.

The Catch: If your advisor had extra money, you would probably already be getting it, but advice from her/him could go a long way.


The Next-Most Obvious: Ask your University! Universities often have institutional funds to apply for. Your department or college may be a good first place to look.

The Good News: You may qualify for these funds through diversity initiatives or unique background knowledge.

The Catch: These funds may be from places you wouldn’t normally look (e.g., the library, on-campus collections), but maybe you’ll learn something new in the process!


Clay’s Personal Favorite: Begging (alright, maybe not “true” begging…). Many students leave during spring semesters due to various reasons (e.g. graduation), and the projects under which those students were funded likely still have funding left! Never be ashamed to ask a professor for a job – they have all been graduate students and easily understand the financial hardships therein.

The Good News: These jobs usually allow for the most freedom. You’ll be able to do the research on your own time at your own pace, as long as you get the job done. There’s also a chance you’ll get to do something you really want to.

The Catch: You have to ask! These opportunities are much more available than you think, but you have to ask. If you’re still hesitant, read my blog on not being a wallflower here!


The One Everyone Uses: USAJobs frequently has summer internships and job positions available. They are so eager to get positions filled that they regularly post on their Twitter and Facebook pages. In particular interest is their Pathways program specifically designed for students. Though they receive lots of applications, these jobs are updated daily, so check often.

The Good News: There are soooo many jobs available here, and they are quite transparent in what they want from an applicant. Additionally, if you’re a US military veteran, you get put on the top of the list!

The Catch: Many times the positions listed on USAJobs are full-time positions. However, contacting the employing agency and explaining your situation could assist with that problem.


The Fun One: We are probably all part of some academic professional affiliation. One of Taylor’s society memberships is to the Geological Society of America (GSA). GSA offers paid internships under their GeoCorps program, during which a paid intern assists land managers in various parks for various projects. Though GSA’s offer is particularly impressive, other organizations offer similar internships (e.g., AGU, AAG, SeaGrant).

The Good News: These internships usually incorporate amazing experiences both in terms of enjoying your time and padding your CV.

The Catch: Since these organizations are so large, they usually garner great interest. Dust off that CV and submit early!


The Dark Horse: USAJobs is a great way to look for Federal positions, but did you know that private companies list on similar websites? and other similar websites use simple keyword-based systems to match you to a job in your preferred area. Though these websites may find information outside your realm of expertise, they may also hold some amazing offers as well.

The Good News: Private companies are often hiring at higher pay rates than public and non-profit institutions. Additionally, they may hire you on a project-by-project basis that could be useful for future funding.

The Catch: Not all employers use these websites, but contacting them via the next method might prove worthy!


The “Duh” Moment: Google! Seriously, just Google “climatology internships” or whatever you think you might be qualified for. This might seem too simple or elementary, but I’m here to tell you, do not be ashamed to use a search engine for simple tasks! (And yes, I really did link Google here. All the more reason to use it!)

The Good News: It’s simple.

The Catch: It’s going to take some time to find exactly what you want. Some of the top listed items may just be the highest paying sponsors.


The Not-So-Obvious: Many of us work with scientific instruments, and the people who make those instruments want them to be as accurate and user-friendly as we do. Occasionally, these instrument-makers want scientists to use these tools and give feedback on experiences and/or new fields of research for the tool, and if you’re good enough, they might have you train new people how to use it!

The Good News: This could lead to learning some seriously cool new techniques that you could use in the future, and you’ll probably be saving numerous people from future headaches.

The Catch: These jobs are not usually advertised. Instead, you may find it useful to get (and stay) in contact with your favorite instrument-maker and ask regularly if they need help.


The Sequel: Chances are good that you (or someone you know) have interacted with an internship in the past. This is a great chance to get on board for their next adventure. They know that you are worth working with, and you know that they are worth it.

The Good News: You know what you’re getting yourself into.

The Catch: Someone who had extra funding previously may not always have that available. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Hopefully this is a good starting point for finding some extra summer funds, and at least one of these methods proves fruitful to you and possibly jumpstart your new career! Don’t forget, the ECCF has resource pages listing lots of great Fellowships and Job Boards to help you find additional opportunities as well as a listserv with new opportunities announced daily (send an email to to sign up. 

Just one last piece of advice: many graduate assistantships come with an agreement that you will not overwork yourself during your time as a student. Always check with your superior to make sure that getting another job is okay.

Happy working!



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