Drawing Water: Art and Science Intern Wanted

Drawing Water: Art and Science Intern

Employer: Center for Limnology – UW Madison (questions can be directed to Amber Mrnak at amrnak@wisc.edu and Gretchen Gerrish at ggerrish@wisc.edu)


The University of Wisconsin, Madison at Trout Lake Station (TLS) in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, along with partners at the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Natural Resources Department (LDFTNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Northern Highland Fishery Research Area (WDNR) seek three interns to participate in a full-time, summer long, art and science collaboration focused on the multiple ways that art can be used to interpret local science focused on our waterways. Interns will work within a community of interacting artists and scientists but their direct work will take place within one of three partnerships:

Lac du Flambeau Tribal Natural Resources Department & Artist Adam Swanson

LDFTNR scientist Celeste Hockings and artist Adam Swanson are seeking an intern who is invested in understanding how science is conducted with the goal of protecting important tribal resources. This position will offer opportunities for wetland delineation, aquatic plant identification, and mapping. Adam is a painter and muralist who paints about the complex ecological challenges we face in our relationships to the land, water, and animals that make our area so precious. Adam is ready to mentor an intern who is enthusiastic about using environmental research to make informed and engaging artworks.



Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Northern Highland Fisheries Research Area & Artist Mindy Schnell

WDNR scientists Greg Sass and Steph Shaw and artist Mindy Schnell are seeking an intern that is excited to engage in activities related to fisheries research. This position will offer a chance for hands-on experience on the water where the intern will learn scientific processes in the field and work to translate their new knowledge to art. Research themes may include, aquatic habitat, interactions between fishes and anglers, climate change adaptation, and the long history of whole lake studies and how that plays into the science we do. Mindy’s art interest is in painting, drawing, and mixed media art. Mindy is comfortable in mentoring an intern in any two-dimensional art. 


University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Trout Lake Station and Artist Terrill Knaack

TLS scientist Susan Knight and artist Terrill Knaack are seeking an intern who is ready to jump in and gain new experiences. Susan’s current research focuses on understanding the decline of wild rice in local waterways and the intern will have an opportunity to participate in this research and enjoy the striking transformation of a wild rice population through the season. The intern will also have a chance to explore and be inspired by the function and beauty of aquatic plants in our local lakes and wetlands. There will also be many opportunities to interact with other researchers on station through the summer. Terrill’s art interests are varied and comprise many different media types, including painting, printing, and furniture. Terrill is ready to mentor any artist who is enthusiastic to engage at the art and science boundary.


The goal of the art and science collaboration is to demonstrate the beauty of the natural world and the scientific process; bridge communication and interest for varied groups of people; and encourage the next generation to link art and science to generate a richer and wider value system. We welcome applications from students coming from artistic and/or scientific backgrounds that are excited to work at this interface. 



  • Enthusiasm or demonstrated efforts to contribute time, energy, and experience toward communicating within the overlap of science and art.
  • Committed to actively engage for the duration of summer, attend weekly summer seminars, and invest time into being mentored by an artist and scientist team.
  • Willingness to be on the water and to engage with field training opportunities even under inclement conditions.
  • Enthusiasm for creating and sharing art science interface education with youth.

Key Contributions

  • Development and implementation of mentoring partnerships with artists and scientists.
  • Attend weekly summer seminars and contribute when appropriate.
  • Complete a project at the art and science interface.
  • Help plan and facilitate a middle school art camp at the end of the summer.
  • Volunteer to help organize informational activities for the general public throughout the summer e.g. participate in the annual Open House, plan potential galleries and/or other public events. 


  • Number of positions: 3
  • Start date: early May 2022
  • End date: late August 2022
  • Pay:  $5,800 for the summer

 Location and Housing:

This position is located at the Center for Limnology’s Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction, WI in northern Wisconsin. Dormitory style housing (not food) is provided free of charge. Enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, biking and shoreline campfires while gaining valuable experience!

How to apply:

Student artists age 18 or older working in 2 and 3 dimensional media, musicians, performance artists and creative writers are encouraged to apply.  All work must be original, no commercial molds, patterns, kits or laser prints will be accepted. 

Submissions should include:

  • Cover letter
    • Please explain what you hope to gain from this internship, why you are interested in this opportunity, and why you are uniquely qualified for this position. 
  • Resume or CV and unofficial transcript
    • Include any experience you have in art and science
  • Names for 3 References including email and phone number
  • Art portfolios/examples
    • Please submit a minimum of three examples of your work. This could be in the form of a portfolio or a minimum of three separate digital submissions. This could include digital images, MP3 files, short videos, pdfs, etc.
    • Provide a brief written description with each of your art examples. You may want to touch on the media, your goals for the piece, areas of growth and exploration, inspiration, etc. 

The CFL is an equal opportunity employer and is dedicated to an inclusive and positive working environment for all.

  • Questions for the application:
    • What do you hope to gain from working with an artist mentor?
    • What is your experience working with children? Explain your interest in mentoring students at the boundary of  art and science.
    • Briefly explain your science background, if any.
    • Briefly explain your art background.

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