To get a job you need education and experience.

To get job training and skills, CCC students spend their summers as paid interns at natural resource management agencies or as assistants to scientists on a climate change related research project.


“The internship has been my favorite part. It gave me a taste of what I’m planning to do for my career after school.”
–Thomas Fernandez


Michael Gatlin, US Forest Service Fisheries Biologist, and Daisy Eirich, CCC student at UNM-Taos, do a fish population survey in the Carson National Forest near Taos, NM.


 Examples of CCC Internships

U.S. Forest Service Carson National Forest, Taos, NM

Student interns assist wildlife biologists with population surveys of threatened, endangered and sensitive species. Students wade through beaver ponds in the pre-dawn light listening for the call of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers. They work as a team in streams to see if native cutthroat trout are present. And, in case the Mexican Spotted Owl has decided that a warming Taos area is hot enough to call home, they scale steep mountainsides at night, hooting along the way to see if any owls from the south have moved in.


“What really made me aware of climate change was working with the Forest Service and seeing the actual effects and changes as they were happening.” –Matthew Martinez


New Mexico Environment Department, Surface Water Quality Bureau

Santa Fe, NM

Student interns assist scientists in assessing the quality and quantity of water in streams, lakes, and even tailings ponds in New Mexico.  Students put the concepts they’re learning in class to work in the field!


 “The team has taught me many new skills from limnology to surface hydrology. It’s been great because the material applied so much to my classes. I could see doing it as a future career.” -David Atencio


Bureau of Land Management Field Office, Taos, NM

Students have interned with a variety of BLM supervisors, so the work has ranged greatly from assisting with assessments of amphibian populations in ephemeral lakes to doing an inventory of plant species on potential rangeland to assisting with fire planning and ecosystem recovery efforts.


Randy Suazo, CCC Student at UNM-Taos, gets in deep working with the BLM Aquatic Resources team in the Santa Fe River.

“Being outdoors doing something different each day was an exhilarating experience I will never forget.” – Randy Suazo


Taos Soil and Water Conservation District, Taos, NM

Student interns use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to map local acequias (irrigation ditches) for long-term monitoring. They assist the field crew with just about anything that local landowners need from stream bank restoration to maintaining the water quality and quantity of wells. They learn how to help area farmers continue to work the land.


Los Alamos National Laboratory Climate Change Research Group, Los Alamos, NM

Student interns assist high-level scientists to study the question of why trees are dying in Northern New Mexico. Across the landscape, piñon pines, aspens, and other iconic trees of the Southern Rockies are dying. Why? New York Times, Rolling Stones Magazine, and the journal Nature have covered the research by Los Alamos scientists showing that warmer average winter temperatures are the primary cause.   CCC students are helping scientists conduct this research!

“I have connections in construction. I have connections for maintenance jobs, but I’ve postponed other opportunities because I want to be a scientist and now I have the opportunity to be a scientist.” –Miguel Vigil


U.S. Forest Service Region 3 Forest Health Protection Office, Albuquerque, NM

If trees are sick in the forests of New Mexico or Arizona, then scientists from the Forest Health office are there to check it out. Student interns help by collecting samples of diseased plant tissues, insects munching on leaves or tree sap, and documenting the extent of the forest that is not healthy. There is also microscope work to identify samples.


Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, CO

Students assist professors and graduate students from across the United States who gather every summer in Gothic, CO, to study the flora and fauna of the high alpine Rocky Mountains. You might think they go just because the area is so incredibly beautiful and that working there involves following trails through waist-high wildflowers, or possibly because everyone at the dinner table is also a science-geek and nature lover. But the scientists there are burning with passion to know more about the mountains and students learn how to do research from them.


“The internship is fun. Labor intensive, but a lot of fun.” –Daisy Eirich


New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM

Students work as research assistants to the CCC graduate students at NMHU doing their Masters Thesis research on a topic related to climate change. UNM-Taos students have helped the Masters Students do early morning surveys of the snakes, frogs, and reptiles that live near the Mora River; they have helped to build rock dams that restore arroyo health and facilitate the return of native plants and animals; and they have assisted with vegetation surveys and GIS mapping of the watersheds that supply municipal water to Las Vegas.


1000CJ Vialpando_Rio Mora_05.12.15 - Version 2
CCC Masters student CJ Vialpando demonstrates snake-handling techniques to UNM-Taos students including Matthew Martinez.


“I’ve always been a hands-on learner.” –Matthew Martinez