Learn More and Apply for an Internship with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County!

2024 Sarasota County Summer Internship applications are available!

Are you interested in getting hands-on experience in your chosen field? Do you want to make a difference in your community?
Intern Sarasota County is dedicated to providing students with an unsurpassed learning experience and insight into the dynamic world of public sector employment.

Develop new skills you can apply in the workplace

Gain skills that will enhance your resume and increase your career options while exploring public service! Observe and participate in tasks and responsibilities preformed daily by skilled professionals. Experience workplace culture, office dynamics, and business etiquette.
Your internship will include impactful hands-on work within a department, networking, professional development, and building long lasting connections with other interns, mentors and Sarasota County team members.

2024 Summer Intern Cohort

The 2024 summer internship cohort applications will open in December 2023.

Program dates: The 2024 summer internship program runs May 20, 2024, through Aug. 09, 2024.

Internship hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (some departments vary).

Pay range: $13 per hour (high school students) up to $20 per hour (grad/masters students), based on credit hours earned.

Your internship includes:

  • Competitive wage
  • Hands-on work experience
  • Professional headshot
  • 1:1 mentoring with county staff
  • Professional development events

Minimum qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old, or age 16 with parental consent.
  • High school diploma, or equivalent (if applicable).
  • Eligible to work in the United States – we love local, national, and international students!
  • Currently seeking a diploma or degree through an accredited secondary or post-secondary educational program, or within 12 months after graduation.

This year our Environmental Education and Outreach interns might work with a variety of our programs, including 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture, Ecology and Natural Resources, Marine and Coastal, and Sustainability.

Continue reading to learn about the experience one of our interns had last summer.

Finding My Place in Sustainability: An Internship Reflection

A photo of a woman outside on the trail using her phone to learn about a plantHello! My name is Samantha Sliger, the 2023 Sarasota County summer intern, and I am thrilled to share my reflections on an incredible internship experience that has truly shaped my path toward a meaningful career in sustainability. With a background in public relations and a deep concern for the environment, I knew there had to be a way to combine my passion for communication and graphic design with my love for the planet. And so, my quest to find my niche in sustainability began.

The Circular Economy: A Turning Point

During my final semester in college, I enrolled in a “Sustainable Living” class that opened my eyes to the concept of the circular economy. The idea of promoting a regenerative approach to resources and eliminating waste resonated deeply with me and compelled me to seek a career that could drive positive change for the environment while leveraging my creative skills.

A Journey to Sarasota: Finding Purpose and Mentors

After an online search, I discovered an internship opportunity in Sarasota that seemed the perfect fit. Little did I know that it would be so much more than just a learning experience. The people I met along the way became my mentors and friends, introducing me to the breathtaking beauty of Florida. The work and research I conducted prepared me significantly for my next step in pursuing a master’s degree. This experience has given me the confidence to pursue a future career in sustainability, and I am immensely grateful for the valuable lessons learned from these wonderful individuals. Here is a snapshot of some of the work I had the privilege to do while splitting my time between the Sustainability and Ecology and Natural Resources programs.

A Look Into My Internship

Heat outreach

One of the most rewarding facets of my internship revolved around the creation of heat outreach materials for the sustainability program. Confronted with the escalating global temperatures, I embarked on a mission to educate and enlighten others about the impact of extreme heat. Crafting informative factsheets, captivating blog posts, compelling videos, and engaging social media content allowed me to effectively communicate the urgency of climate change and shed light on the critical issue of extreme heat awareness.

Connecting with nature and wildlife

Engaging in the creation of a comprehensive course aimed at educating community members on the art of coexisting with wildlife proved to be an enriching journey. It provided me with the opportunity to immerse myself in the captivating realm of wildlife and gain insight into the importance of cultivating eco-friendly interactions. Across the duration of the summer, I crafted over ten blogs that collectively formed the series titled “Florida Wildlife FAQs.” The gratification of this endeavor lies not only in providing valuable answers to Florida residents but also in fostering a deeper connection and promoting a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Promoting community-wide energy efficiency

An additional aspect of my internship involved supporting the energy upgrade team, which collaborated with the Sarasota County Housing Authority. During energy sweep days, my colleagues and I visited low-income housing units to implement energy-saving solutions, such as installing LED light bulbs, low-flow showerheads, kitchen and sink faucet aerators, weatherproofing materials, and other similar items. Observing the transformation in people’s attitudes was remarkable. Initially, there was some hesitation when we knocked on their doors, but as we began installing the devices, residents became more involved. This initiated a productive conversation that allowed everyone to gain insights into sustainable practices.

Volunteering and making a difference

During my internship, I had the privilege of volunteering for several impactful organizations. Participating in the Mote Marine clean-up on World Oceans Day allowed me to witness the urgency of ocean conservation firsthand. Working with All Faiths Food Bank to sort and distribute food for those in need highlighted the importance of sustainability in tackling food insecurity. Moreover, through Hope4Communities, I had the opportunity to connect with families while distributing energy and water conservation devices, reinforcing the significance of sustainable living at the grassroots level.

Inspiring the next generation

During my two weeks at 4-H Camp Exploring Your Environment summer camp, I had the pleasure of mentoring and leading activities for young minds eager to learn about nature. Watching their enthusiasm while identifying animal tracks and creating plaster molds was a heartwarming experience that reinforced the importance of inspiring and empowering future generations to care for the environment.

Promoting accessibility to nature

In my final weeks, I worked on developing promotional videos for a virtual interpretive story map of some of the most unique and precious natural areas in Sarasota County. The Natural Areas Story Map allows people to connect with nature easily through an interactive app. The project aimed to make nature more accessible to all and foster a deeper appreciation for our natural surroundings. I was also able to explore the preserves and spotted some amazing wildlife!

Embarking on the Next Chapter

As my internship comes to an end, I’m thrilled to begin my next chapter. I’ll be heading to London, England, to pursue a master’s degree in sustainability management at the University of Westminster.

Leaving my comfort zone and transitioning from Morgantown, West Virginia to Sarasota has been an immensely rewarding experience, fostering significant personal growth. Now, as I prepare to embrace London’s diverse culture and meet new people, I carry with me the invaluable lessons, experiences, and cherished relationships I cultivated during this transformative internship. I look forward to the opportunities that await and the chance to continue making a positive impact on our planet’s future.

A Heartfelt Thank You

To my supervisors, Katherine and Sara, thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow under your guidance. Your mentorship has equipped me with the knowledge and passion to continue making a difference in the field of sustainability and natural resources.

To my mentors, Alia and Zahir, your wisdom and support have been invaluable. I am grateful for the open conversations and the genuine friendships we have formed.

To the UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County team, you have created a welcoming and uplifting environment that fostered my personal and professional growth. Your kindness and encouragement have made my time at Extension truly unforgettable.

As I finish my reflections, I strongly urge those looking for an internship to explore their environmental passions and desire to work with outstanding individuals to seriously consider this unique opportunity.

Samantha Sliger 

Want to read more about the Sarasota County Intern Experience? Check out our 2022 summer intern’s experience HERE.


Avatar photoAvatar photo
Posted: December 8, 2023

Category: Natural Resources, Professional Development, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Communications, Ecology, Intern, InternSarasotaLife, Internship, Natural Resources, Pgm_EcoNR, Pgm_Sustain

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories