Internship and education opportunities abound

Dr. Jonathan Hunstiger, Adult Education Program Manager for Southern Ute Education Department.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Education Department is excited to highlight a number of internship opportunities and certificate programs accessible to Native American applicants, while also reinforcing the scholarship opportunities available to Southern Ute tribal members.

Students who are interested in doing something throughout the summer, can benefit from a number of internship opportunities, explained Dr. Jonathan Hunstiger, Adult Education Program Manager for Southern Ute Education Department.

“These are hybrid internships, interns are not just going to work, they get college credit, or get paid; most involve a final presentation of some kind,” he said. “These kinds of experiences are good, if someone is looking to broaden their horizons.” 

Internship Opportunities

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Denver, Colo., is seeking summer interns. “It would be a whole summer, NREL would pay for it. Interns would go to work for the lab and be involved in research, which would be presented at the end of the course,” Hunstiger explained. “They can come out of that with great experience, and a great summer job.”

Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, N.M. is another cutting-edge employer seeking qualified interns.

There is a competitive online application process, being an enrolled member of the Southern Ute Tribe does not guarantee admittance, Hunstiger explained, never-the-less, these programs are seeking more Native American applicants.

“Having either of these on their résumés would be a feather in their cap.” Hunstiger emphasized. “Both labs are making an effort to involve more Native Americans in their internship programs.”

For those with political interests, another exciting internship opportunity exists in Washington D.C., working with either the Democratic or Republican party. This summer program would have interns working as lobbyists, under the direction of a State Representative

“These internships are more intense, competitive, they pay more and look good on a résumé,” Hunstiger said.

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center also has opportunities for interns each summer, for those looking to work closer to the Four Corners region. Crow Canyon is a 170-acre research center and “living classroom” located outside of Cortez, Colo., which offers experiential education programs for students and adults.

Southern Ute tribal members interested in being firefighters, or EMTs, still have an internship opportunity available through the Los Pinos Fire Department in cooperation with Southern Ute Education.

The position comes with a paid wage for a firefighter in training. When complete, individuals would be certified to work as firefighters at any location in the United States. This is generally a two-year internship program, not tied to college credit. “This is an exciting opportunity, it could very easily work into a career for them,” Hunstiger said.

“Internships provide a more intense, focused experience,” Hunstiger said. “Targeted towards junior, senior year students in college. These often lead to job opportunities, working with the same company out of school.”

Certificate Programs

For those looking to expand or build knowledge in a specific area of focus, certificate programs are also a great option. These are classified as short term, educational instruction. Usually between one-two years with same pay as internships, in a college setting, plus additional training in one’s field or career.

The San Juan College, School of Energy courses, in Farmington, N.M. can be considered for a certificate program or college credit.

The Southern Ute education Department has additional info, for anyone who is interested. “I’m the starting point, I would put them in touch with the right people, help get them started on the application process.”

The Education Department can provide part-time scholarships to Tribal Members for this series of classes at San Juan College.  If interested, contact…

Dr. Jonathan Hunstiger, Adult Education Manager

(970) 563-2784






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