“Internships. Internships. Internships.”

Parents, teachers, and career counselors all advocate for students to pursue at least one internship during their collegiate career as a way to apply their learning to life and gain skills that they can take into the working world after graduation.

Internships can help a student learn what they like and what they don’t like about an organization or a job.

Internships can be a great way to make connections in a desired industry or organization.

And when a student does an internship with CSU Extension, students are not only gaining skills for themselves, but they are also contributing to local communities and enacting the land-grant mission of outreach and service.

The CSU Summer Extension Internship program gives students the opportunity to take their research and expertise into the field to help communities across Colorado in the areas of Natural Resources and Sustainability, Food and Agriculture, Youth Development, Economic and Community Development, Health and Well-Being, and Emergency Planning and Resources. These internships help support the mission of our land grant by connecting community members to CSU and our engaged research and learning opportunities across the state of Colorado.

Each Extension internship awards $4000 for a ten-week internship (26 hours/week), with housing and travel funds assistance available for some opportunities. Work culminates in a final Extension program and poster presentation on campus at the Extension Forum held in the fall.

In summer 2022, the College of Liberal Arts had 18 students participate in an Extension internship. These students worked with faculty or Extension agents to identify community needs and fulfill those needs through research, interviews, mapping, and more. With an ability to think critically and creatively about the human experience and a strong skill set in writing, speaking, and listening, (as well as other discipline specific skills like data analysis, data visualization, or videography) students in the liberal arts are well poised to apply their essential skills to the requirements of a community and an internship.

Here are their stories.


Riley Lynch getting hands-on experience with her CSU Extension internship

Rain Garden Summer

Riley Lynch, CSU watershed science alumna and anthropology graduate student worked with the Colorado Stormwater Center during her CSU Extension internship where she managed communications with over 300 applicants and the 20 selected program participants of the Rain Garden Pilot Program. She also co-taught the three-hour Certified Rain Garden Installer Course, sourced nearly 600 native plants, and led multiple rain garden installations with groups of youth and adult volunteers.

Denver Skyline

Listening to Neighbors and Documenting Change

Axel Sandoval Bravo, interdisciplinary liberal arts student, and geography professor Carrie Chennault, head to southwest Denver to record the stories of longtime residents experiencing redevelopment and gentrification in their neighborhoods as part of an effort to engage in community building via CSU Extension.

JMC PhD candidate Joy Enyinnaya

Understanding Hesitancy of Routine Vaccinations

Joy Enyinnaya continues her research on misinformation by researching trends surrounding COVID information and vaccine hesitancy, providing education about herd immunity and documenting parents’ hesitancies about routine vaccinations in a summer CSU Extension internship in El Paso County.

Tobin Gold conducting primary research for his CSU Extension project

Archiving 150 Years of Agriculture in the Centennial State

Two history majors get archival research experience during their summer CSU Extension internships: Tobin Gold documents the agricultural history of the Sterling Irrigation Company and Aubree Vecellio helps with geolocation and visualizing historic images of the Colorado River Compact.

Farm tractor at Stanko Ranch in Routt County

Grad Students are Helping Preserve the History of Routt and Grand County in the Face of Land Development

Two history graduate students help preserve the history of Routt and Grand County in the face of land development by creating oral histories and interactive maps through CSU Extension internships.

Caesar Garduno

Benchmarking Best Practices for Supporting County Agricultural Initiatives

MPPA graduate student Caesar Garduno worked with Larimer County agricultural outreach programming to learn about the policymaking processes for rural agriculture support.

Alpizar-Calixto (left) and Abi Tekeste (right)

Closing Language Barriers in Healthcare for Spanish Speakers

Abi Tekeste and Giselle Alpizar-Calixto use their summer internship experience with CSU Extension to understand the language barriers to healthcare, and to provide information and resources, in rural Colorado in a project called Spanish in Professional Environments.

Aidan Lyde looking at the impact of wildfires on the Colorado landscape

Wildfire Risk Mitigation and Environmental Justice in Colorado’s Forest Landscapes

This summer, political science major Aidan Lyde worked on the Community Networks in Fire-Environment Resilience (CoNIFER) Project to improve the understanding of wildfire risk mitigation planning based on wildfire protection plans in Colorado with CSU Extension.


Out of the Classroom and into the Community

Putting communication theory into practice, three Ph.D. students engage in Extension internships that result in a Middle Eastern cookbook, updated curricula for a local 4-H program, and increase awareness of Extension and the Colorado State Fair.

Woman holding a box of fresh produce outside the Larimer County Food Bank

Building Bridges to Better Communities

Working with Grow and Give and the Family Leadership Training Institute respectively, Emilia Ravetta and Milagro Núñez-Solis, both Ph.D. candidates in sociology, connected food pantries with gardeners and youth with opportunities to strengthen their local communities in their CSU Extension summer internships.

Cortez city street

Showcasing Career Pathways for a Local Workforce

MPPA student Jake Brick worked in southwestern Colorado on a Colorado Workforce Initiative to help underserved communities access education in their CSU Extension internships.

Learn more about the CSU Extension internship program at intern.colostate.edu.