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ACCESS Paleo banner with a blue illustrated image of a T. rex skull in the center. Text on the left reads: Advancing community college education and student success. Left text reads: building collaborations with local community colleges to increase diverse student's access to STEM fields.

ACCESS Paleo SoCal Program

The Advancing Community College Education and Student Success in Paleontology Project, or ACCESS, is a collaborative project created at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) to build collaborations with local community colleges to increase access to STEM fields like geoscience and paleontology for students from historically excluded and underrepresented groups and communities. ACCESS Paleo SoCal is a branch of the project started in 2021 and was developed in collaboration between the Alf Museum and UCMP to provide opportunities for students in Southern California. ACCESS Paleo SoCal is generously funded thanks to a grant from the David B. Jones Foundation.

We are looking for both interns (community college students) and mentors (advanced undergraduates at four-year institutions, or early-stage graduate students).

Program Description:

During this 7-week program, interns will be introduced to the fields of paleontology, geosciences, museum science, and science communication. Interns will work with museum staff and mentors to learn skills in fossil preparation, collections management, and curation. Students will also be provided an opportunity to participate in a summer research project. In addition, weekly field trips to other science institutions and universities will provide students an opportunity to meet and learn about career paths from professionals currently in the field.

As part of the program, interns and mentors will be provided an opportunity to attend the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Fall 2024. Following the program, ACCESS alumni will be offered continued community support through check-ins and other networking opportunities.

Participation in the program is a part-time commitment (21 hours/week, Tuesday – Thursday) for a consecutive seven-week period from June 25 through August 8, 2024. Stipends will be provided for interns and mentors at the start of the program.

Read full internship description.

ACCESS Application Information:

Eligibility Information:

The ACCESS Paleo SoCal internship is intended to recruit students from historically excluded groups or communities (including but not limited to: BIPOC, 2SLBGTQIA+, disabled students, first generation students) who seek to transfer to four-year institutions in pursuit of a degree in paleontology, museum science, and other related fields. Preference will be given to students who have not yet had extensive internship experiences prior to applying. Students must also:

  • Be currently enrolled at a 2-year institution (community college).
  • Have completed at least one semester or two quarters by June 2023.
  • Reside or attend college in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, or Riverside counties.
  • Be a United States citizen or legally authorized to work, study, or reside in the United States.
Applications for the 2024 cohort are due March 15, 2024.

ACCESS Mentorship Program:

The ACCESS Paleo SoCal Mentorship Program provides current undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop mentoring skills while also participating in networking building opportunities during the program. Mentors are expected to assist museum staff in introducing interns to topics such as science writing and science communication. Mentors will also assist in intern field trips, workshops, and transfer application sessions.

Read full mentorship description.

Eligibility Information
  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a 4-year institution majoring in biology, geology, museum science, or other natural history related fields.
  • Reside or attend college in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino County, or Riverside County.
  • Be a United States citizen or legally authorized to work, study, or reside in the United States.
Applications for the 2024 cohort are due March 15, 2024.

For information or questions about internships, please contact our Director of Visitor Engagement and Education:
Gabriel-Philip Santos, Phone: 909-482-5243 | Email:

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