FAQ for Faculty and Staff


The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), designated as a National Park Service (NPS) site in 1972, is the largest national park in an urban area in the country, and located only within a few miles of SF State.  This is an excellent opportunity for students to take advantage of interning at amazing places such as Alcatraz, Marin Headlands, Fort Funston, Muir Woods, Crissy Field Center, The Presidio & Fort Mason.  Established in 2012, students who become an Academic Intern help expand the diversity of people that work and play in their national parks. Targeted outreach occurs primarily, but not exclusively, to ethnically and socioeconomically diverse students.  The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the official partner of the GGNRA and a proud partner, sponsor, organizer, & core internship agency for this program.

Why should I encourage a student to apply? What are the benefits?

What makes this program special is students acquire tangible on-the-job skills, develop leadership talents, and create stronger student awareness and connection to their national parks and public lands.  This experience is unique because it also creates a pathway to employment through networking across the Bay Area, CA and the nation. This program invests in a new generation of skilled NPS and park partner employees, and helps diversify the NPS workforce. There are a multitude of benefits to the students, the university, and the parks.

What majors are eligible to apply for this program?

Any and all majors are eligible and encouraged to apply. This is an interdisciplinary internship where students across campus can explore internship options.  Students must read the position descriptions closely to determine if they have the skills needed for the job, it is something they’d like to learn more about, and whether or not the experience would complement their professional development or career goals.

Do student interns get paid?

Yes!  All student interns receive a stipend of $50 per day.  This does not impact their financial aid awards (if applicable to them) because this is not a “paid job” but rather internships are volunteer opportunities with a stipend.like to learn more about, and whether or not the experience would complement their professional development or career goals.

What is the timeframe for the internship?

This program operates on the university academic year calendar.  Recruitment begins during the fall semester, there’s a mandatory orientation in mid-January, and the internship begins after the orientation; everything is completed the week before final exams where an end of semester celebration occurs in mid-May.  Summer extensions are possible yet, in general, students must have the time and be able to commit.

How many hours do students have to work at the internship?

Opportunities vary from 2 to 5 days per week with half- and full-day options depending on the needs of the students and agency staff.  With 16-40 service hour options, a minimum of 2-days per week is all that’s required.  All arrangements are made with the supervisor and hours can be coordinated with the students’ classes, family, jobs, and/or other obligations.  Consistency is important, however, so once a schedule is created, it’s key that everything is as structured as possible (unless otherwise discussed between the agency and student). 

How and where do students apply?

Applications are submitted via online each October on the Parks Conservancy Academic Internship website.  Students are strongly encouraged to contact ICCE to obtain assistance and support writing their cover letter and resume before submission. Another option is to attend a resume workshop led by CARP.  This is also a chance for students to practice their professionalism and learn how to write a solid cover letter to submit with a polished resume.  Students should minimally request for an advisor, professor, or career development staff to review all materials and provide feedback before applying.  

What type of positions are typically available for students?

Positions include interpretation, business management, media design, digital imaging & social media, youth leadership, program planning, community outreach, natural resources (such as vegetation monitoring, habitat restoration, & wildlife), environmental education, environmental health & safety, facilities & maintenance, volunteer programs, and much more!

Who supervises/mentors the interns?

Experienced staff, rangers, and administrators from the NPS and Parks Conservancy staff dedicate their time and expertise to supervise and mentor all students they work with.  Supervisors have anywhere from 3 to 20+ years in the field or with management including the desire to be part of this extraordinary opportunity to help prepare the Next Gen of NPS and/or park partner employees.

Can the spring internship be extended into summer?

Students who would like to continue in their same or other position during the summer months need to discuss this with their supervisor.  Some positions may carry over into the summer, while others may not.  And, the stipend is the same (see the previous page).  Students must earn continuation into the summer, which is based on performance and need, and is therefore not a guarantee.  Other positions may also open up offering a chance to build other skills.

Can students take a CSL course with this internship?

Students who are interested in taking a Community Service-Learning (CSL) class with this internship placement can select from one of 200+ CSL designated courses available at SF State. The student must first check in with the instructor on record to confirm this internship works with the class. For students to receive Community Service Learning (CSL) hours on their transcripts, they must register with ICCE's ULink49 online database.

Student Quote

“Before beginning my internship I had never once considered working in a park… I quickly realized that this opportunity had presented itself as a steppingstone to a brighter and happier future. I gained a great deal of insight, knowledge, and hands-on experience.  My supervisors have allowed me the freedom to get involved with several projects and use my creativity putting my skills to the test. In addition, the staff has been very welcoming from the start, they have made me feel very comfortable and included…”    (Academic Intern, 2013)

Application Information

Info Session I

Wednesday, September 21st (LIB 242) 11:15 am -12:15pm

Resume Workshop I

Wednesday, September 28th (LIB 242) 12:30pm-1:45pm

Info Session  II

Tuesday, October 4th (LIB 242) 12:45pm-1:45pm

Resume Workshop II

Tuesday, October 11th (LIB 242) 12:15pm-1:30pm

Application Due

Monday, October 17th by 11:59 pm. 

For more information on how to apply to this program, please contact Jose R. Lopez at jirlopez@sfsu.edu. All resume workshops are provided by the Campus Academic Resources Program (CARP).