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The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation

Graduate Internships

The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation was established in 1984 in New York through a bequest from the estate of Margaret Sussman in memory of her mother, Edna Bailey Sussman. Margaret Sussman was a 1934 graduate of Smith College and a successful artist. Her father, Dr. Otto Sussman, was president and director of American Metal Company, the predecessor of AMAX, Inc. Mrs. Otto Sussman – Edna Bailey Sussman – became interested in environmental issues and Navajo Indian relations. It is fitting that the Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation sponsors research and internships that apply hard science to solving existing environmental problems.

The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation supports internships for students matriculated in graduate degree programs at eight institutions: SUNY ESF, the Colorado School of Mines, Duke University, San Diego State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California at San Diego, the University of Michigan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Yale University.

SUNY ESF graduate students benefit tremendously from continuing generosity of the Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation. Between 1985 and 2018, 419 SUNY-ESF graduate students received more than $1.77 million to pursue "careers, the activities of which affect the environment, to understand the interaction of their chosen profession with environmental concerns."

Internship Requirements

The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation will provide support directly to students who are matriculated in graduate programs at SUNY ESF. Internships must meet the following conditions:

  1. The Intern position would not have been filled if the organization had to compensate the Intern out of its own funds. The Sussman Fund will consider enriching internship support for those who receive less than minimal support.
  2. The Intern will be utilized in an assignment involving the preservation of wildlife, the control of pollution, the preservation of natural land resources, or similar subject matter related to the environment.
  3. The Intern will not be utilized in sales, production, or any other capacity not directly related to the environment.
  4. The Intern will not act as a lobbyist, nor will the host organization be one whose primary function is to lobby.
  5. The Internship will occur in the United States or its territories and have a US-focus. Sussman will not fund internships to study non-US species (studies non-US/native invasive species and their impacts on US ecosystems is both permitted and encouraged).
  6. The Internship will not take place on the SUNY ESF campus or its properties.
  7. SUNY-ESF may submit a maximum number of proposals that must meet minimal criteria as established by the Campus Coordinator. The maximum number of proposals accepted by the Sussman Trustees is established each year immediately prior to the application deadline. In 2018, ESF was be permitted to submit 11 proposals, each of which were funded; we anticipate making 10 nominations for review in 2019.
  8. As in past years, EBS Trustees are particularly interested in considering proposals suggesting notable urban or climate related projects.


The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation provides financial support for graduate students who are currently matriculated in graduate degree programs (MS, MF, MLA, MPS, or PhD) at SUNY ESF. Applications from students who are currently applying for admission into graduate programs cannot be accepted. Faculty, staff and undergraduate students are not eligible to apply for Sussman Funds. Students who have been placed upon academic probation are not eligible.

Amount of Support

In 2019, the Sussman Foundation will pay interns a maximum of $15 per hour, for up to 35 hours per week, for 14 weeks. The scope of the work proposed should match the total funding requested. Applicants are required to provide a separate budget justification page in support of their requests.

Students may request support for internships conducted during any time of the year, but most internship proposals request funding within the summer. Sussman Internships do not provide tuition scholarships or health insurance benefits. These costs are the responsibility of the applicant. Sussman interns must report taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit one digital (PDF) copy of all documents (one single file, please!). You may scan elements such as advisor or internship host letters. The applicant's name should be on each page of the application and on supporting materials. Use standard, basic, copy or printer paper – no tinted or letterhead bond – for the cover, proposal, resume, and budget pages. [Students are advised to maintain copies of their proposals]. Please keep file size to a minimum when preparing your final application documents-- this takes some careful attention to detail to achieve (scan external documents in B&W if needed, and always scan at no more than 150 dpi), but the final PDF must NOT exceed 1.5 MB, or they will be disqualified. Please send the digital PDF file via e-mail to sshannon@esf.edu:

  1. Application Cover Page
    Specify the start and end dates of the internship period.
  2. Proposal: Describe the work of the intended internship and how it will contribute to your educational and career goals
    What work will be performed during the internship and how will this work benefit the host organization? How will Sussman be acknowledged? Identify the host site supervisor by name and title and describe how the supervisor will evaluate the work. Statements longer than 500 words will not be accepted.
  3. Letter from Faculty Advisor (Typically the Major Professor)
    Statements should be addressed to The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation (c/o The Graduate School). The faculty advisor's statement must explicitly discuss the following: (1) the start and end date of the internship, (2) the relationship between the internship and the student's academic program of study, (3) the nature of the work to be accomplished, (4) the name of immediate internship host site supervisor, (5) how the internship will be supervised and evaluated.
  4. Letter from Internship (host site) Sponsor (on official organization stationery with original signature)
    Statements should be addressed to The Edna Bailey Sussman Foundation (c/o The Graduate School), must be written by the person who will directly supervise the internship, and should explicitly discuss the following: (1) the start and end date of the internship, (2) the importance of the internship to the host organization, (3) the nature of the work to be accomplished, (4) how the internship will be supervised and evaluated.
  5. ESF graduate transcript (including current semester)
    Request one copy of the SUNY-ESF transcript from the College Registrar (to be provided to the student in PDF format via e-mail)
  6. Undergraduate transcript(s) (including transcripts for transfer credits)
    Students must request original transcripts from their degree-granting institutions or submit legible copies of transcripts from transfer-credit institutions. Scanned copies of official transcripts are acceptable, but web-based print-outs of unofficial transcripts are NOT acceptable.
  7. Resume or curriculum vita
  8. Budget justification page
    Describe how the total request was calculated, NOT how the money will be spent. Sussman will not accept proposals that request funds for travel, accommodations, supplies, or fees. Typically this request is calculated in terms of an hourly rate ($/hour), then considering number hours to be dedicated per week or per task, and ultimately the total amount of hours and funds necessary for the duration of the internship.

Process and Deadlines

Deadlines Instructions

Potential 2019 Applicants:November or December 2018

  • Meet with faculty advisor to discuss the potential for appropriate internship experiences.
  • Seek suggestions for possible hosts and supervisors.
  • Seek a host organization. The organization may be public, private, or not-for-profit. It is appropriate for the student to use their academic plan to guide discussions with the potential supervisor at the host organization to reach agreement on the nature of the internship. Go to The ESF Job & Career Services website for suggestions for environmental internship resources: www.esf.edu/jobs

Current 2018 Interns: Friday, 7 December 2018

Digital version (MS Word file attachment to email) of final reports due from Sussman 2018 Interns - send to sshannon@esf.edu by 11:59pm. Please use formatting consistent with previous Sussman reports in the archive below.

Potential 2019 Applicants: January 2019


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Informational Meeting, 11:00am, 217 Bray Hall (download past presentation)

Dean Scott Shannon is the Sussman representative for SUNY ESF. Please direct questions to his attention.

Monday, January 28, 2019

submit one (1) digital (PDF only) copy of the complete application due to Dean Scott Shannon, 227 Bray Hall. (e-mail: sshannon@esf.edu)

1 February, 2019 – 28 February, 2019

Campus review of Sussman proposals and notification of proposal revisions to applicants by e-mail.
Mid - March 2019 Internship Award decisions made by Sussman Trustees. Applicants notified by e-mail

Friday, 6 December 2019

Final reports due from 2019 Sussman Interns (submitted as MS Word docs via e-mail)

Final Report: Interns must submit a digital copy (MS Word) of a final report to the Sussman Fund (send e-mail to sshannon@esf.edu) by the deadline at the end of the semester following the internship. A lengthy final report is unnecessary -- generally 3-5 pages are sufficient. Sussman internship reports will be posted below on the ESF Sussman website in January each year. Campus Review: Sussman Internship applications are reviewed first by a campus committee chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School and including up to 4 faculty who have supervised past Sussman Interns. This review process results in narrowing the number of proposals from 25-35 or more, to 10 to be forwarded as official ESF nominations to the Sussman Foundation Trustees in 2019. All final decisions regarding internship awards are made by the Sussman Trustees, and may be fewer than our maximum allocation of 10 submitted proposals.

Criteria for Campus Evaluation

  • Completeness of application
    Are all required materials complete and with original signatures?
  • Cover page
    Are the objectives clear and reasonable? [Objectives are measurable, precise, tangible statements. Goals are general intentions -- do not confuse the goal of the thesis/project with the objectives of the internship] Is the period of work specified and does it match the period indicated by the academic advisor and host supervisor? 
  • Quality of proposal
    Proposals must be 500 words or less, demonstrate good command of the English language in the active verb tense. Proposals must be written for an educated lay-audience, not for scholarly publication or peer review (do not write like an NSF propsal!). Graduate students are expected to write to various audiences and explain in their own words the purpose of their research. If it is necessary and appropriate to include a citation, then the proposal is too technical. Above all, proposals should clearly state a central purpose and/or research hypothesis, followed by a concise work plan articulating the use of sound science, design, and/or best practices to address an environmental issue. For your use, please consider looking at our local evaluation form; this does not provide a hard and fast set of criteria that are foolproof, but should provide greater insight into how the local faculty evaluate the application pool to determine the nominations to be forwarded on to the Sussman Trustees.
  • Quality and strength of letter from Academic Advisor 
    [Faculty advisors must be full-time and eligible to serve as major professors at ESF – adjuncts and instructors are not eligible to serve as Sussman faculty advisors.]
  • Quality and strength of letter from Host Organization 
    [Host must provide detailed support and evidence of direct supervision]
  • Evidence of academic abilities – especially in subject areas directly related to the proposed internship 
    [transcripts that show incomplete or failing grades, or evidence of academic or disciplinary action will not be considered]
  • Reasonable duration of internship 
    [internships for a full-time, 14 week duration will be given priority. There is NO benefit to proposing less than the full-14 weeks and the funds needed to support that time period]

Remember, Sussman will not support work conducted at ESF, or its properties, or outside the US or its territories.