The goal of the Graduate Public Service Internship Program is to provide graduate students with valuable experience in the public sector while they complete their graduate degrees through the University of Illinois at Springfield. The experience they gain will help them become competitive in the natural resources job market.
To learn more about the specific goals of the GPSI program please refer to the University of Illinois-Springfield website.
The GPSI program is a 21-month internship experience. The IL DNR has partnered with the University of Illinois at Springfield to give currently enrolled graduate students the opportunity to receive professional experience and hands-on training in their internship.
Each internship opportunity is unique at IL DNR. Prospective interns are chosen to interview with different offices within the agency and can select the opportunity that is best suited to their interests.
In addition to the valuable experience interns obtain, the GPSI program covers the cost of full-time graduate enrollment tuition at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Interns work 20 hours/week during the school year to accommodate their full-time school schedule and 40 hours/week during the summer months. Interns receive stipends through UIS and professional development funds to expand their scope of learning.
What GPSI's Do
Since there are many unique internship opportunities at IL DNR, job duties may vary between departments. However, interns can expect to:
- Aid the public and private sectors in natural areas preservation, endangered species protection, and rare resource stewardship
- Become familiar with Illinois' natural resources, law, policies, and procedures
- Develop critical thinking skills
- Network with resource professionals and organizations within and outside of state government
- Gain experience in communicating effectively with the public
- Understand the relationship between science, public policy, and agency programs
Current and Former GPSI Interns
Interested in becoming a GPSI intern? Find out what our current and former interns are doing!
Megan Jacobsen began her internship with the Natural Heritage Database Program in 2021. Megan has a degree in Natural Science (BA), and is earning a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Policy and Sustainable Development (MA), while obtaining a certification for Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). As a GPSI, Megan works to keep the endangered and threatened species database up-to-date and organized, as well as taking opportunities to help with field work around the state. As part of her capstone project, Megan is working to learn more about the endangered silvery bladderpod, and identify best management practices for the species' continued health and survival in Illinois. In her spare time, Megan enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and seeking out new opportunities wherever she goes.
Samantha Scalice began her position as GPSI of the Natural Areas Program in August of 2020. Samantha graduated from Purchase College (New York) in May of 2020 after obtaining a degree in Environmental Studies with an Ecology concentration and a Biology minor. Throughout her time at Purchase, she engaged in various activities such as maintaining a communal native pollinator garden on campus, researching the behaviors of urbanized Eastern Gray Squirrels, quantifying micro plastic contamination on shores, and spending her summers as an Endangered Shorebird Steward at a coastal state park monitoring Piping Plovers and other shorebird populations. Currently, she is working towards obtaining a Master's in Environmental Science and a certification in GIS from the University of Illinois Springfield. Samantha is excited by future opportunities during her time at the Heritage program, especially for fieldwork involving State-threatened Franklin's Ground Squirrels and Federally- endangered Piping Plovers. Samantha loves animals and pets of all kinds and enjoys attending live music events in her spare time.