You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

USDA-ARS Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory Summer Internship

How to apply: In order to apply to any posting, you will need to make a profile account in Zintellect at Once your profile is made, you will be able to apply to postings.

A complete application consists of:
All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.
Application Deadline

4/3/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis.
ARS Office/Laboratory and Location: Multiple research opportunities are currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory (EMFSL) located at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Northeast Area, in Beltsville, Maryland.

Research Project: The mission of EMFSL is to better understand the origin, movement, survival, and detection of foodborne pathogens. This includes how microorganisms are distributed through pre-harvest (farms, irrigation water, soils, manure, controlled environment agricultural production) and post-harvest environments (produce processing plants, washwater, on fruits and vegetables). Objectives including developing methods to detect, characterize, reduce and treat foodborne contamination issues (pathogens) responsible for foodborne illnesses. There are multiple research projects addressing these questions in EMFSL listed below.
  • Determine the presence, persistence, and genomic composition of protist parasites in various food animals, fresh produce, and water to assess the risk that parasites pose to human health and to develop intervention strategies to improve food and water safety (learn more here).
  • Characterizing antimicrobial resistance and pathogenic bacteria associated with dairy cattle. Methods used include standard bacterial isolation and culture methods, molecular biology, and genomic sequencing and analyses (learn more here).
  • Assessing the introduction and survival of saprophytic vs. pathogenic enteric bacteria during growth (including organic and conventional growing practices), harvest, postharvest handling and processing of fresh fruits and vegetables (learn more here).
  • Characterizing the role of various agricultural inputs (water, fertilizer, nutrients) on microbial contamination of fresh produce grown via Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) practices on earth and in space (learn more here).
  • Developing rapid and sensitive methods for the identification of specific foodborne pathogens, as well as nondestructive methods for the detection of biological and chemical contaminants on fresh fruits, vegetables, and food processing surfaces. (learn more here).
  • Investigating processes and factors controlling spatial and temporal variation of pathogens and indicator organisms in agricultural irrigation water sources. (learn more here).
  • Cost-effective filtration technologies and biological treatments to reduce pathogens in irrigation water. (learn more here).
  • Survival dynamic of pathogens isolated from agricultural water in soils (learn more here).
Scientific disciplines represented in the laboratory include:
parasitology, microbiology, molecular biology, bacteriology, food technology, plant science, animal science, soil science, hydrology, environmental science, spectroscopy, spectral imaging, and engineering. 

Learning Objectives: The selected participants will be matched with and mentored by individual scientists with appropriate research and expertise, and will be provided learning and training opportunities on various research technologies and methodologies which are employed at EMFSL.

Mentor(s): The coordinator for this STEM internship opportunity is Manan Sharma ( Other EMFSL scientists will serve as mentors depending on which specific research objective or topic the participant is interested in. If you have questions about the nature of the research or specific research questions, please contact the coordinator and they will contact the appropriate scientist. 
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 1, 2023. The start date is flexible between June 1 and June 15, 2023 (other start dates can also be considered).
Appointment Length: The appointment can be for 2-3 months (8-12 weeks), can be renewed upon recommendation of the ARS mentor, and is contingent on the availability of funds.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time during the 2023 summer (40 hours per week) and can be renewed for part-time participants during the academic semester.

Participant Stipend: The participant(s) will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. For undergraduate students, a monthly stipend of $3200 will be provided, along with $1000 dislocation allowance. For graduate students, a monthly stipend of $3520 will be provided, along with $1000 dislocation allowance.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must have had continuous permanent residency within the U.S. for 3 years. 

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. However, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields of study. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree.