DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program

DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program

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With plant biodiversity as a unifying theme, research at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University by staff and visiting scientists from around the world builds on a broadly integrative program that will advance knowledge about how plants function, how they have evolved and diversified over time, how they shape ecosystems, and how they respond to a rapidly changing planet. The DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University gives undergraduates in the life sciences a unique opportunity to experience research from start to finish while gaining training and connections among scientific colleagues. DaRin Butz Interns will not only conduct research, but will also develop their project with their advisors and be guided through the process of sharing their research through written reports and oral presentations, an important component of scientific research. Interns will participate in activities with the other DaRin Butz Interns, including a weekly reading group and tours of the Arboretum. (FAQs)

Read about Emily Rosa’s experience as a 2017 DaRin Butz Intern here!

Read about Bridget Bickner’s experience as a 2018 DaRin Butz Intern here!

Applications due March 1.

Experiences and expectations

During the ten-week program, DaRin Butz Interns will:

  • Work full time for the full ten-week period.
  • Perform hands-on-research on a project that the intern help develop.
  • Participate in activities with the advisor’s research group.
  • Actively participate in weekly reading group and other weekly activities with the other interns.
  • Prepare and write research proposal under the guidance of their Arboretum Advisor.
  • Attend the end-of-program research symposium and give a 10-minute presentation on their research.


The DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program pays a stipend of $4500 for the ten-week period. Arboretum Advisors hosting interns will receive $500 to support the intern’s research expenses.

Research Topics

During the internship, DaRin Butz Interns will conduct research in the lab of an Arboretum Advisor. Potential advisors and research projects are listed below. Applicants should choose the research topic they find most interesting and contact a relevant potential advisor (see below) as early as possible to express their interest in working with the advisor during the internship. Potential advisors may conduct interviews prior to acceptance into the program and their lab.

  • Adaptation and Speciation in Plants
    Under the leadership of Robin Hopkins, Assistant Professor at Harvard University and Faculty Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum, this research program is focused on the evolutionary processes involved in speciation and adaptation in plants, using diverse tools from population genetics, field biology, genomics, and molecular biology. Send email.
  • Air Pollution and Urban Ecosystems
    Under the leadership of Boston University Associate Professors and Associates of the Arnold Arboretum Pamela Templer (email) and Lucy Hutyra (email), this research program is focused on air pollution in urban ecosystems and its effect on plants, soils, waterways and the atmosphere. This project will be integrated with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program site that Templer and Hutrya established at the Arboretum and provides a unique opportunity to analyze real-world data in the environment the student lives in, while taking advantage of the national network that places their findings in the context of national trends. Please note, interns in the Templer/Hutyra Labs will spend time at the Advisor’s home institution in addition to the Arboretum.
  • Evolutionary Diversification of Plants
    Under the leadership of William (Ned) Friedman, Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Faculty Fellow and Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, this research program is focused on the organismic interfaces between developmental, phylogenetic, and evolutionary biology. The Friedman Lab explores how patterns of morphology, anatomy, and reproductive biology have evolved through the modification of developmental processes. Send email.
  • Whole Plant Physiology
    Under the leadership of N. Michele Holbrook, Professor at Harvard University and Faculty Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum, this research program is focused on the physics and physiology of water and carbohydrate transport in plants with the goal of understanding how constraints on the movement of water and solutes between soil and leaves influences ecological and environmental responses. Send email.

Application Information

To be considered for an internship, online applications should include the following:

  • Cover letter. In 1-2 pages, your cover letter should state clearly the following: (i) interest in the program, (ii) interest in the selected research topic, (iii) career objectives and how the internship will help to achieve these goals.
  • Resume.
  • Unofficial transcript. An unofficial or unencrypted electronic transcript from the institution where the applicant is currently enrolled is preferred. A PDF copy or screenshot of courses/grades is acceptable.
  • One letter of recommendation. As part of the online submission, you must send a request to the referee to submit a letter of recommendation (via the request section). The referee will be automatically sent an email with a link to an online submission form where they will upload a letter of recommendation. It is highly recommended that you contact your referee prior to sending the request. Please inform the referee to expect an email from admin@communityforce.com with instructions for submitting a recommendation letter. Each referee must upload his/her letter of recommendation via the link by March 1.


Interns selected for the DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program are expected to participate fully in the all aspects of the program and the work-life of the institution with maturity, curiosity, and commitment to learning.

  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in the life sciences (part-time or full-time at the time of application) leading to a baccalaureate or associates degree. High school graduates who have not yet enrolled and students who have already received their undergraduate degree at the time of application are not eligible for the program.
  • Prior research experience is not required.
  • Maturity, self-motivation, and willingness to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States.
  • Must be able to work at least 40 hours per week for the entire ten-week term. Late starts, early departures and vacations are not permitted during the 10-week program (except for official Harvard-wide holidays).
  • Harvard University does not provide health insurance for summer interns. All costs of any health care required is the responsibility of the intern.
  • Students who have already participated in the program are not eligible to reapply. Those students are encouraged to contact Arboretum staff directly to discuss potential opportunities.

Additional Information

For questions about the internship or submission process, contact the selection committee (Email).
The DaRin Butz Foundation Research Internship Program at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is made possible by the generosity of The DaRin Butz Foundation.

Submit Application