Summer Internship Announcement for Minority Undergraduate College Students

Posted: February 6, 2019

The Penn State Endowed program in the Molecular Biology of Cacao is pleased to announce the 2019 Summer Internship Program for minority undergraduate college students supported by the Plant Genome Program of the National Science Foundation. The internship period is 8 weeks (June 1 to July 30, 2019). The interns will participate in plant genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology or bioinformatics research on Theobroma cacao, the chocolate tree. During the first 2 weeks of the internship period at Penn State, University Park campus in Pennsylvania, the interns will be introduced to cacao resercah. In the laboratory, the interns will join research teams and will be mentored by a postdoctoral and/or a graduate student researcher. For the following 4-week period the interns will join members of the research team to travel to Costa Rica where they will participate in a 2-week summer session at Earth University focusing on sustainable development and 2-week training at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica. Prior to the trip all students will participate in an international agricultural development orientation workshop presented by International Agriculture and Development Graduate Programs (INTAD) graduate students at Penn State. Following the training in Costa Rica, the internship will conclude with 2 weeks back at Penn State, University Park campus. At the completion of the internship, each participant will be required to prepare a presentation and present at a project meeting involving all participants.


  • The candidates must be enrolled in Life Sciences related B.S. degree university program in USA or Puerto Rico. 
  • Completion of basic undergraduate courses in molecular biology, plant sciences or bioinformatics or experience with undergraduate research in the same areas is required.
  • Oral and written English proficiency.
  • Basic Spanish is beneficial, but not required.
  • Students graduating May 2019 or earlier are not eligible. 
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.



Financial support provided:

Participant Stipends: $4000 per student 

Participant Travel: 

  • Maximum of $750 per student to travel to and from Penn State, University Park
  • Travel expenses and training fees for the international component of the internship



How to apply:

Applicants should submit a cover letter stating their interests and qualifications related to the internship and a resume detailing educational experiences and relevant course and/or laboratory work. Please, submit your documentation by email to Dr. Siela Maximova (  All applicants must state in the subject line of the email: Cacao Internship 2019. 


The application deadline is Friday, March 15th, 2019 at 12 pm.