logos of HPG community partners in a stacked triangle formation

2021 Graduate Student Summer Internships

Applications Due: Friday, February 19th by 5:00pm CST

Please note that as of Wednesday, Feb. 17th, one of our partners can no longer participate, but we are able to offer a new opportunity: the Arts Access Initiative of The Englert Theatre / FilmScene “Strengthen, Grow, Evolve” campaign. If you already sent in an application and would like to edit your preferences, please contact jennifer-new@uiowa.edu.


The following 10 internships are being offered during summer 2021 to graduate students seeking PhDs in humanities departments at the University of Iowa. Students in social science departments that include a humanities focus or qualitative approaches, such as anthropology, communication studies, and relevant areas in the College of Education, may also apply.

The purpose of the program is to offer graduate students the opportunity to explore how their academic training might translate into a variety of professions and workplaces. We have worked with partners to find meaningful opportunities that will help scholars learn to hone leadership, communication, project management, curation, and other talents that are valued in many kinds of workplaces, including higher education.

Time Commitment:

The internships are planned for 8 weeks in June and July. Students should expect to work 30 hours a week. This time may include occasional evening or weekend events as deemed necessary by the organization but will mainly include regular weekday hours.

This time also includes a series of assigned activities, including writing weekly reflections, participating in trainings and other meetings as an intern cohort, and undertaking informational interviews.

The interns are required to attend a daylong orientation before the internship, four skill-building meetings during the internship period, and a final summary debrief. We will also hold an early fall semester showcase to feature the work of our interns.

Students must be fully devoted to the internship during the two months. Therefore, the student should not hold other appointments during this time.


Graduate students enrolled in PhD programs of humanities or humanistic social sciences departments at the University of Iowa and who are in good standing in their programs are eligible to apply.

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.” –National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

Scope of Work:

Organizations have designed projects especially for our interns. You will find descriptions of each project and the skills required or desired linked below. At the beginning of each internship, the graduate student and the organization will use this description as a starting point and come to an agreement about the scope of the project that fits both the student’s skills (those the student already possesses and those that will need to be learned and refined) and the organization’s needs.


Interns receive a $5,000 stipend. Our community partners will receive $3,000. Interns who drive to their sites will be compensated for mileage.

COVID-19 Statement:

We expect that all Summer 2021 internships will occur virtually with possible opportunities for some work to occur outdoors when participants are masked and at a safe distance from others. We are also aware of rapidly changing findings and policies regarding COVID-19 and will follow CDC guidelines, as well as recommendations from the University of Iowa’s Critical Incident Management Team.

How to Apply:

Read the project descriptions to gauge which you might find especially interesting. We also encourage you to visit each organization’s website to learn more about its mission and activities before you apply. You will have the opportunity to indicate two preferred internships; these must be at separate sites. Note that finalists’ materials will be forwarded to the sites, which will contact applicants for an interview. Please do not contact the organizations directly with questions about the application process, but instead reach out first to Obermann Associate Director Jennifer New at jennifer-new@uiowa.edu.

Before you begin, please collect these materials.:

  • The names of two references with contact information. Please do not ask for letters. Instead, ask your references if they can speak for you and share a copy of your CV and application narratives with them. One of these referees must be your dissertation director or main academic advisor.
  • A current CV of no more than two pages.
  • Your thoughts on these specific areas:
    • your interest in the specific internship (300 word/600 characters maximum)
    • the skills and competencies that you would bring to the organization and that would prepare you to succeed in the internship. Be sure to include your experience in organizing projects, using digital tools, working with different communities, and anything else relevant to the particular internships you have selected (300 word/600 characters maximum)
    • the reasons why the internship would benefit your academic work and/or advance your professional objectives (300 word/600 characters maximum)
  • IN ADDITION, please ask your Director of Graduate Studies to indicate his/her/their support for your application by emailing the following to obermann-center@uiowa.edu:
    • As the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of [DEPT NAME], I affirm that our PHD student [NAME OF APPLICANT] is making good progress through our graduate program. I endorse this application for a 75% internship beginning June 1, 2021 and continuing through July 31, 2021. “
      [DGS electronic signature]

Deadline: Friday, February 19th by 5:00pm CST

Contact Obermann Associate Director Jennifer New at jennifer-new@uiowa.edu with any questions.

Click on each site/internship name for specific information.

Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development

Internship: Telling Untold Stories from the Food System

Iowa Valley RC&D is a 501c3, Amana-based nonprofit. The seven-person team works to grow local economies, strengthen food systems, foster protection and enhancement of natural resources, and develop awareness for the arts, history, and culture.

National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library

Internship: Sustainable Food Coordinator

NCSML is one of the region’s leading ethnic museums. The NCSML’s 35 staff members are responsible for public programs, educational projects, and world-class exhibits.

Public Space One

Internship: Public Archives Intern

Public Space One (PS1) is an artist-led, community-driven contemporary art organization in Iowa City that aims to provide independent and inclusive spaces for making and presenting art through exhibitions, performances, residency programs, education, artist resources, and advocacy. Its major programs include the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, Media Arts Co-op, and Iowa City Press Co-op, alongside year-round artist exhibitions and projects.

Hancher Auditorium

Internship: Campus & Community Engagement Internship

Hancher is a multidisciplinary performing arts presenter committed to connecting artists and audiences with transformational artistic experiences. For 48 years, Hancher has presented the world’s finest performing artists in order to enlighten audiences; support the creation of new works; and provide artistic, educational, technical, human, and physical resources to the University and the people of Iowa.

Labor Center – University of Iowa

Internship: Iowa Labor History Oral Project Intern

Internship: Iowa Women in Trades Network Intern

The UI Labor Center provides educational programs and research support to Iowa’s working people and their organizations. Since 1951, the Labor Center has acted as a bridge between the University and Iowa’s labor community.

Iowa City Area Development

Internship: Project Better Together

Iowa City Area Development is a 501c6 nonprofit based in downtown Iowa City. This 5-person team works to grow the local economy. The Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD)’s mission is to create, collaborate and lead regional economic development initiatives that contribute to the creation and growth of companies, wealth and quality jobs through a spirit of innovation and a culture of sharing that transforms knowledge into economic opportunity. Formed in 1984, ICAD Group serves the communities of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Kalona, Solon, Tiffin, Tipton, the Amana Colonies, West Branch, West Liberty, and Johnson County. 

Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative – Meskwaki Nation, The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa


Special Collections – University of Iowa Libraries

Internship: Brokaw Press Pass Digital Exhibit Assistant

Internship: Historical Iowa Civil Rights Network Collection and Archives

The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections provides access to rare and unique books, manuscripts, and maps that span over 4000 years, and is home to remarkable archives including the University Archives, Iowa Women’s Archives, International Dada Archive, and the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.


Arts Access Initiative Internship

Arts Access Initiative is a project of Strengthen Grow Evolve, the joint capital campaign of The Englert Theatre and FilmScene. Through a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Initiative aims to improve access to and engagement with the arts for all people in the Johnson County community by taking collaborative action on arts, education, and engagement.