Smithsonian Plant Health Specialist


This Smithsonian Gardens internship allow the intern to work closely with the Plant Health Specialist and Arborist across the entire Smithsonian Gardens campus, including sites at the Portrait Gallery and the Suitland Greenhouse complex. This internship will provide the opportunity to promote a better understanding and hands on experience of integrated pest management techniques, urban ecosystems, and proper identification of pest species in a gardens landscape.

  • Learn to efficiently scout and monitor for pest problems.
  • Learn to diagnose disease and pest problems on a wide variety of plants and landscapes
  • Learn to write reports on findings and develop pest management programs
  • Assist with release of biological controls and beneficial insects
  • Develop communication skills with the public and horticultural staff about pest management strategies
  • Learn about ways to promote and support urban ecosystems and pollinator conservation
  • Gain hands on experience by increasing practical entomological skills and pest management techniques

This internship will meet the needs of a student who is interested in sustainable pest management strategies and seeking hands-on experience with urban ecosystems in the museum setting. The intern will work under the supervision of the Plant Health Specialist and Arborist. Interns are encouraged to take advantage of the abundant resources of the Smithsonian Institution.

Duties & Responsibilities:
Assisting with scouting and identification of insect pest, diseases and fungi that are associated with plants. Collecting samples and working in conjunction with pathology and soil laboratories.  Releasing beneficial insects for control of pest populations. Recording data and developing management strategies for different types and levels of pest populations. Communicating with staff results of scouting reports. Assist with outreach events and educational public interactions. Opportunity to work on specialized projects such as invasive species or pollinator service surveys. 

Education and Experience:
Smithsonian Gardens accepts current and recently graduated undergraduate and graduate students studying horticulture, entomology, plant science, biology, ecology or other related fields. Selection is based on both an evaluation of the applicant’s application and available positions.

Application Instructions:
To apply, applicants must register and submit an application online at Smithsonian On-line Academic Application System (SOLAA) at . On SOLAA, select the Smithsonian Gardens' internship application.

Requirements for applying to the Smithsonian Garden intern program:
Submit an on-line application
Two letters of recommendation
Unofficial College transcript(s)
Essay describing background, interest in field, career goals and chosen project




If you have questions regarding the internship application process, please contact the Intern Coordinator at (202) 633-5840 or e-mail at