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University Circle is one of the largest employment drivers in the state of Ohio. With strong anchor institutions and an abundance of arts & cultural, non-profit, as well as private sector and small businesses, there may be an opportunity waiting for you here in University Circle.

Physical Anthropology Kirtlandia Intern

Cleveland Museum of Natural History / Posted February 15, 2023

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH), founded in 1920, is located in the heart of University Circle, five miles east of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Considered one of the finest institutions of its kind in North America, the Museum offers an incredible visitor experience, attracting roughly 275,000 visitors a year.

Building on its strong foundation of excellence in education and research, the Museum is poised to transform itself. CMNH will invite and engage a broader audience in the exploration of science and the natural world by revolutionizing the way it presents natural history. The Museum has currently launched a capital campaign to support a dramatic renovation and expansion of its facilities and exhibits. This ambitious plan will position the Museum to play a leading role in regional and national efforts to improve science education and increase scientific literacy.

The CMNH is seeking a dynamic, creative and energetic individual who is passionate about the Museum and its mission; exhibits strong organizational and administrative skills; is looking for new challenges; and enjoys working in an enthusiastic and fast paced environment.

Department: Physical Anthropology

Supervisor(s): Emma Finestone, Ph.D.

Internship Description:

Physical Anthropology, also known as Biological Anthropology, is a discipline concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of humans, extinct hominin ancestors, and non-human primates, particularly as they relate to adaptation, variation, and evolutionary change. Physical Anthropologists at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History conduct international fieldwork as a method for understanding human evolution. Fossilized bones and artifacts found during field survey and excavation allow scientists to reconstruct the past behavior of ancient hominins.

The Kirtlandia intern will work with the supervisor at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to develop a research project relating to Pliocene and/or Pleistocene hominin behavior. We anticipate that during a portion of the eight-week internship, the intern will have the opportunity to travel with the supervisor to Kenya to participate in fieldwork as part of an international paleoanthropological team. At the completion of the project, the intern will have gained an understanding of basic field methods and experience in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting archaeological and zooarchaeological data. Under the guidance of the supervisor, they will analyze data and synthesize the results which will be presented as a Kirtlandia Society research presentation in Cleveland. The supervisor will also help the intern develop the project for presentation at an academic conference or publication if the intern chooses to do so.

Required to Apply:

The ideal candidate will work well as part of a team, be open to participating in international fieldwork, enjoy work outdoors, and exhibit respect for other team members and cultures. Previous field experience is desirable. Some experience in basic laboratory methods in archaeology is preferred, with proficiency in the use of Excel and PowerPoint.

- Write a letter of interest (1-2 pages) that:

  • Details your research interests  
  • Explains why you are a good candidate for this position
  • Describes your previous work experience and/or other pertinent information that might support your application 
  • Discusses how you expect to benefit from your experience as a Research Intern

- Two letters of recommendation submitted to efinestone@cmnh.org

Application Deadline – March 15, 2023

General Information

  • Duration: Eight weeks (ending on August 12) for a total of 320 hours, exact dates to be arranged with direct supervisor
  • Compensation: $15 per hour, plus up to $200 for expenses for materials required by the project, minus payroll deductions
  • Who May Apply: Students who are currently attending an accredited college or university as an undergraduate (college sophomores, juniors, and seniors), or who have graduated from college within the current calendar year.
  • If the project involves international fieldwork, international travel and lodging will be covered.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities (Must be able to perform the essential functions of this position with or without reasonable accommodation.)

  • Responsible for assigned tasks associated with research activities including, but not limited to, specimen preparation, labeling, sorting, identification, digitization, imaging, field collection, monitoring, data collection, analysis, interpretation, or manuscript preparation.
  • Assists in accurate record keeping of research activities.
  • Responsible for the handling of Museum and archaeological objects with care and attention in order to mitigate damage.
  • Assists in ordering supplies and equipment in support of research project.
  • Performs all duties according to established museum operating, safety, and environmental and quality policies.
  • Adheres to the CMNH Manual of Research and Collections Policies.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by supervisor or museum management.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Excellent organizational and attention to detail skills.
  • Ability to handle collection objects carefully and safely to not cause damage.
  • Computer operating system experience. Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite products to include Word, Excel, Power Point.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both written and orally.
  • Strong problem solving and listening skills.
  • Ability to work successfully with Museum members, employees and the general public.

Physical Working Conditions:

  • Indoor/Outdoor, all weather conditions.
  • Position may require sitting, walking, standing, reaching including stooping, kneeling, and crouching.

Physical Effort Required:

  • May require sitting, walking, standing for extended periods of time
  • May require lifting objects that weigh up to 30 lbs
  • Must be able to respond to emergency situations.


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