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Applications to join the next summer cohort of Montana INBRE Scholars as a Public Health Intern are due February 21, 2021. Students who have already identified mentors and projects should apply directly to become a Montana INBRE Scholar as a PHI Student. Students who are requesting Montana INBRE attempt to find a mentor and placement should use the seprarate "without mentor" application below. Complete details below -- please read carefully before making your selection.

IMPORTANT PROGRAM CHANGES FOR 2021: A whole new look: Montana INBRE student programs at MSU have recently changed, and the process of becoming a Montana INBRE Scholar as a Public Health Intern is different from previous years. All Montana INBRE opportunities at MSU for undergraduates now begin with a full-time, paid research experience taking place in Bozeman during the summer. Supplemental academic year research and travel opportunities will be available to those Montana INBRE Scholars who have successfully completed the summer research experience. Learn more below.

The purpose of the Montana INBRE Public Health Research Internship Program is to expose undergraduate students to the field of public health and to introduce common tools used to investigate and solve these issues. By gaining research experience with professionals on the front lines of public health and health-disparities work, we intend for students to become better informed and active citizens, as well as consider pursuing careers that address health- and wellness-related issues.

Like all Montana INBRE Scholars, Public Health Interns begin with a full-time, paid, 10-week research experience taking place in Bozeman during the summer.Supplemental academic year research and travel opportunities will be available to those Montana INBRE Scholars and Public Health Interns who have successfully completed the summer research experience.

A Public Health Intern is a Montana INBRE Scholar at MSU who is pursuing a research project that incorporates some aspect of public health-related field work, community outreach, community engagement, and/or placement with a public health-focused agency in or around the Gallatin Valley or Montana more broadly.

Public Health Interns are considered Montana INBRE Scholars in every respect, participate in all the same summer program components, and receive the same ongoing benefits as all Montana INBRE Scholars at MSU. Only a few differences exist:

  • PHI students pursue research projects with meaningful and immediate public health, community health, or community engagement components
  • Many PHI students spend significant time embedded at or working closely with a local community agency located in the Gallatin Valley
  • PHI students are usually exempted from Montana INBRE's match funding requirement for project mentors

Montana INBRE Public Health Interns collaborate with research faculty at MSU as well as community and public-health agency leaders in the Gallatin Valley to research questions related to public health, community health, health services, and human wellness and well-being.

By "research," we mean just that — with the help of our community leaders and faculty mentors, students identify real-world problems affecting human health and apply the scientific method to dissect root causes and propose solutions. In the end, student researchers present their findings, make recommendations and even help agencies implement real-world, on-the-ground solutions.

Here are just a few community partners that past interns have worked with:

  • Community Health Partners
  • The Gallatin Valley Food Bank
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • The Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity Program
  • Gallatin County City Health Department
  • The Montana Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
  • Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH)
  • Bridger Clinic
  • Healthy Gallatin Lactation Education Program
  • MSU Food & Health Lab

Full-time undergraduate students enrolled at MSU-Bozeman who are in good academic standing and who will have reached sophomore, junior, or senior-level status by the time the internship begins are eligible to apply to this summer program.

Students must be able to commit 400-hours durign the 10-week, full time Montana INBRE summer program. Students with GPAs below 2.5 may be considered on a case by case basis, often only when extenuating circumstances exist, and their applications must include an exceptional mentorship plan.

Summary of criteria:

  1. be enrolled (> 12 credits) at MSU-Bozeman in good academic standing during the spring semester in which you apply for Montana INBRE summer funding as well as be enrolled at MSU-Bozeman (> 12 credits) as sophomore, junior, or senior for the upcoming fall semester
  2. Be a US citizen or authorized to work in the United States
  3. Have a 2.5 or better GPA on a 4.0 scale
  4. be involved in or have a strong interest in pursuing an internship experience related to human health, public health, and/or community health

We accept applicants from a wide variety of academic disciplines, including the life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, math, applied sciences, art, nursing, computer sciences, and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary fields like public health, community health, behavioral health, education and others.

Public Health Interns are expected to:

  • Commit a minimum 400 hours to your project during the 10-week summer program
  • Prepare and deliver a poster presentation at the summer poster session
  • Participate in required Montana INBRE summer events, trainings, and professional development opportunities
  • Register with NIH’s eRA Commons
  • Agree to supply information needed for Montana INBRE’s annual report to NIH during your funding period and for five (5) years after your Montana INBRE funding ends
  • Agree to acknowledge and properly cite Montana INBRE's contribution in any scientific publications, presentations, and/or noteworthy publicity that may result from your INBRE-supported research activities

The total award amount for the 10-week, full time summer program is $4,600. In some instances, MSU's USP program will contribute a portion of funding to this amount. In other cases, Montana INBRE will contribute the full amount.

After the summer experience, some PHI students may wish to propose continuation of their work during the academic year. As Montana INBRE Scholars, PHI students who complete the summer program are eligible for supplemental INBRE "top up" academic year funding. Interested students can inquire with Montana INBRE staff during the summer internship for details.

All summer PHI internships are unique, but main focus of every internship will be a health-related research project that directly benefits a public heath-focused agency or target community. The scope and parameters of student projects are typically developed through a collaborative process among the student, the supervisor(s) at each agency and the Montana INBRE office. Each project must be relevant, useful, and important to the agencies and/or the target community.

During the summer program, students will investigate health and wellness issues, provide services to agency clients and pursue a focused research project. Many students work with a public-health agency in the Gallatin Vally while a few, with stong faculty mentorship, gain first-hand experience working to address the health needs of rural and under-served populations in other areas of Montana.

Students who are embedded at local community agency may spend much of their internship time working directly with agency leadership or staff. Those with a more academic focus may work more directly with a faculty researcher and have more mixed project components that include lab work, field work, and computer-based research, depending on the project parameters and community need.

PHI students participate in the same summer programming as other Montana INBRE Scholars -- a schedule that includes weekly meetings as well as other opportunities to socialize and collaborate with other Montana INBRE Scholars.

At the end of the summer internship, students will present the results of their efforts with a research poster and a presentation at Montana INBRE's summer research poster session.

After the summer experience, some PHI students may wish to propose continuation of their work during the academic year. As Montana INBRE Scholars, PHI students who complete the summer program are eligible for supplemental INBRE academic year "top up" funding. Interested students can inquire with Montana INBRE staff during the summer internship.

Summary of the two PHI application methods

There are two ways to apply to Montana INBRE's Public Health Internship program — one for students who already have a faculty mentor and project idea identified and another for students who are interested in public health more broadly but would like help finding a placement. Choose the method that best matches your situation or contact us if you have questions.

Please note that applications with a project idea and mentor already identified often receive priority consideration.

COVID-19 Announcement: Due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, aspects of undergraduate public health research (face-to-face interactions with individuals, community organizations, and vulnerable populations) may be infeasible or inadvisable for the forseable future. Montana INBRE staff are closely monitoring the situation and will provide programmatic updates here when available. Students submitting proposals should anticipate an ongoing need for social distancing; in any application for PHI funding, please address any contingency plans for how your proposed research aims can be accomplished under such circumstances.

I already have a faculty mentor and research project idea

In the event that you already have a public health internship idea and have identified a faculty mentor to help guide the project, please apply to become a Montana INBRE Scholar. In the second step of the application process, make sure to also inform Montana INBRE that you would like to be considered for a Public Health Internship.

I would like help finding a mentor and/or internship placement

If you do not have a project or mentor identified already, please use the following application method. Montana INBRE will consider the strongest "without mentor" applications each spring and work with selected students to develop viable summer-term projects. Outstanding summer projects may be elligible to continue as PHI-supported projects into the following academic year.

Tips for applying without a mentor: Applications that have a project idea and mentor already identified often receive priority consideration. If you don't have a mentor or idea, consider applying "without mentor" early enough in the year so that the Montana INBRE office has time to work with you to develop a viable plan. In some instances, you may make enough progress before the final application deadline to join the "apply with a mentor" cohort — and thereby increase your chances of your project receiving funding.

Before you apply without a mentor or project identified, make sure that you have already:

  1. considered applying early in the application cycle
  2. obtained .PDF copies of transcripts for any relevant college or university coursework previously completed (unofficial copies are acceptable)
  3. asked for and received two signed .PDF letters of support, at least one of which must be from from a current or former professor

Tips for letters of support: Letters of support should address such things as why you are qualified for the internship, how you will benefit academically and/or professionally from the internship, why this particular opportunity is well-suited to your current academic or professional trajectory, and provide evidence for your ability to perform related tasks. Feel free to pass these parameters along to your letter-writers.

To apply, use the "without mentor" application

Montana INBRE's PHI application deadline mirrors MSU's Undergraduate Scholars Program's deadline for applying for summer-term research. USP typically sets its summer term deadline near the end of February each year. Visit USP's website for the most current deadline information.  

Contact

If you have questions about becomming a Public Health Intern at MSU, please contact:

Bill Stadwiser
Public Health Internship Program Coordinator
Tel: 406-994-3360
Email: william.stadwiser@montana.edu

Dr. Sarah Codd
Director of Montana INBRE Student Programs
Tel: 406-994-1944
Email: scodd@montana.edu

Cori Huttinga
Program Specialist and Finance Manager in the Montana INBRE Office
Tel: 406-994-7531
Email: chuttinga@montana.edu