Bureau of Reclamation Internship Program: Next Generation Latino Stewards

The Bureau of Reclamation is committed to providing educational and work opportunities to students so they can gain a better understanding of Reclamation’s role in conserving water and power resources. Hispanic Access is recruiting and administering this internship program for students of under-represented backgrounds at Bureau of Reclamation sites across the US. Culturally, ethnically, and economically diverse Latino students will be recruited through a highly competitive, national process. Selected candidates will receive mentoring and substantive hands-on work experience. This joint Hispanic Access-Reclamation program will cultivate a strong understanding and appreciation of natural and cultural resources, and help engineerng students gain valuable knowledge and professoinal skills to develop and maintain these resources. It will prepare the next generation of enthusiastic and diverse stewards of American resources. 

Project Goal & Objectives

Reclamation interns will gain on-the-job experience in environmental education, community service, and natural and cultural resource management. Interns will engage in projects that address some of the most critical conservation issues on Reclamation land, including environmental education, ecological restoration, species preservation, fuels treatments, research and monitoring activities, as well as business, administrative, and other activities that provide critical support to program/specialist capacities, and species preservation.

The goal of this internship program is to train leaders for America’s future, especially young men and women of color, who are under-represented in the conservation professions.

Hispanic Access is searching for highly motivated students who will work alongside Reclamation employees for the 11-week internship program. This is a paid internship; each intern will receive a $400 weekly stipend based on a 40-hour workweek. Housing will be provided for non-local interns.   

Basic Eligibility

  • Enrolled in an undergraduate program or recent college graduate, preference given to college juniors or seniors. Graduate students will be considered.
  • Majoring in or completed degree in civil, mechanical or electrical engineering
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Possess US citizenship or valid US work permit
  • Valid Driver’s License required
  • Ability to work with a team and independently
  • Mature, responsible and adaptable
  • Willingness to learn


  • Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2018.
  • Top candidates will be selected for interviews during the first 2 weeks of May and will receive additional details about specific assignments.
  • Final placement decisions and assignments will be made by May 14th, 2018.
  • The 11-week internship period will begin in early June 2018, depending on the specific requirements of the site.

Selection Criteria 

Applications and interviews will be rated according to relevant educational and work experience, oral and written communication skills, professionalism, technical knowledge and expertise. Candidates may express interest in specific projects in their application. Final candidates will undergo a background check before beginning the program.

For questions, please contact Michelle Neuenschwander at michelle@hispanicaccess.org


Available Positions

3 Engineering Interns – Technical Service Center
Denver, CO

Interns will work with senior engineers and scientists on ongoing design, research and or testing. The Technical Service Center has a very broad scientific/engineering program with a variety of great projects for interns to work on. Each intern will be assigned to one of the three projects based on their professional goals and will be matched with a mentor within their assigned project.  The specific assignments will vary depending on the interest of the intern as well as the ongoing workload. 

The 3 project assignments include: 

1. Engineering Design of Reclamation Structures

Objective: Prepare and check calculations and drawings, utilizing specific engineering computer programs to resolve specific issues (Civil 3D, WaterGEMS, etc). Prepare final designs and/or analyze final designs of Reclamation structures-water delivery systems, hydraulic structures, pumping plants, power plants and large dams.

Deliverables: Final design documents including AutoCAD drawings, construction quantity sheets, and backup calculation documents.

2. Research to improve infrastructure durability

Objective: Develop improvements to infrastructure durability.  The intern will prepare the research concept statement, outline the proof of concept testing, perform proof of concept testing, bench testing, field testing, and prepare interim reports and final reports. Specific subtopics include topics like: improvements to concrete repair materials, improvements to coatings to mitigate impacts of invasive species, improvements to resolve earthquake and flood loads on large hydraulic structures.

Deliverables: Prepare research papers describing interim and final results of the research program. Tabulate and check test results, prepare initial and subsequent draft reports and Present the research results to stakeholders and key decision-makers.

3. Research on water quality, water resources planning, environmental or ecosystems issues  

Objective: Develop improvements on issues related to water quality, water resources planning, environmental or ecosystems. The Intern will apply fundamental concepts of engineering research and will prepare the research concept statement, outline the proof of concept testing, perform proof of concept testing, and conduct bench testing and field testing. The Intern will prepare interim reports and prepare and present final reports.  Specific subtopics include topics like improvements to water desalination methods and minimizing sedimentation loads in large dams. 

Deliverables: A final research paper and presentation of results.  This includes tabulating and checking test results, preparing initial and subsequent draft reports.  

Additional duties for ALL interns:

  • Mentor/Supervisor meetings: Interns will meet with their mentors to discuss topics associated with progress and professional development.  
  • Stakeholder meetings:  Interns will participate in weekly design meetings with internal stakeholders and provide input.  They will also join monthly meeting with external stakeholders.  These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to develop communication skills and a better understanding of Reclamation and their mission contribution.
  • Critical thinking:  Interns will use and enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills every day.  Interns will use their technical skills independently because a high degree of autonomy leads to faster learning and willingness to take responsibility, making stronger engineers.  Mistakes also provide an opportunity for learning opportunities and interns will be highly engaged with their mentors and supervisor for guidance as necessary.
  • Intern contest: At the end of the program, each intern will compete in a contest where they will prepare and present a poster on their project.  They will be evaluated by judges on the quality of their presentation and poster, as well as the technical content of their work (critical thinking and problem solving).