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Undergraduate Internships or Senior Thesis Research in Ecuador

Three 2020 Summer Digital Interns

Application Deadline: March 9, 2022

Come talk to us about funding options for your summer internship in Ecuador. Look out for info sessions in the spring semester. 

Internship Eligibility

  • Must be a rising sophomore, a rising junior, or a rising senior at Cornell University.
  • Must be in good standing academically and have no unresolved disciplinary charges or sanctions.
  • Must have completed at least a year of coursework with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at the time of the internship.
  • Valid passport (check your passport expiration date) or have sent in your application by January 31, 2023.

Fieldwork for Undergraduate Thesis

Last year, LACS funded students to study LBGTQ artists in Peru; the mating behavior of katydids (insects) in Panama (funded jointly with the Lab of Ornithology); and small-scale indigenous producers in Ecuador to learn about their products, methods, and cultural attitudes, in order to effectively help them market their products in the US.

If you are a junior (i.e., a rising senior in summer '23) interested in doing fieldwork in Latin America or the Caribbean for your undergraduate senior thesis and have discussed it with your advisor, set up a zoom session with the program manager Bill Phelan by emailing him at to discuss options for funding.

For more information

Contact the LACS program manager for a Zoom appointment. We have some suggestions for internships in Ecuador depending upon your language ability and interests. The apply button takes you to the LACS email to request the internship application or tell us about an opportunity you are exploring.

Internship support

LACS internships are funded by an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Einaudi Center, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Einhorn Center, and alumni donors.

If you are interested in helping us fund these undergraduate awards that change lives and perspectives, please contact the OVPIA/Einaudi Center Director for Development Christian Shaffmaster ( and mention LACS Senior Thesis Research in the subject line. Alternatively, make a donation directly by clicking on the "Support Us" button in the top right-hand corner of our home page. Under "Other Designation" or "Special Instructions" put "For LACS Senior Thesis Research."

Meet Sammi Lin '24, LACS Winter 2022 Virtual Intern

Ecuador Summer Internships

Application Opens: Estimated likely on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 11:59pm

LACS will have many six- to eight-week internship options available in Ecuador during summer 2023. We are planning on these internships being in-person with some virtual engaged or research internship options also available. However, depending upon the public health situation in the world and when the decision needs to be made, these internships may need to be pivoted to virtual internships.

Internships come with roundtrip airfare paid to Ecuador. The budget for the internship is $3,000. From that, you would pay all costs including the cost of roundtrip airfare to Ecuador as well as payment of your ground transportation and food and lodging costs. For airfare, you must follow federal guidelines that are compliant with the Fly America and Open Skies Acts (basically, and easy to do, you must purchase your airfare from either American Airways, Delta, or United, or any other US Carrier flying from the US to Ecuador). The travel award will be paid to the student's bursar account and all relevant receipts will need to be forwarded to LACS. Internships are six to eight weeks in length, depending upon the student's interests, the partner, and the student's funding source (LACS, Laidlaw, Global Development Department,  or the Cornell Summer Experience Grant open to CAS & CALS UGs, apply early).

Virtual internships, if paid by LACS, have the stipend amount of $1,500, paid at the beginning of the internship. The filling of each internship opportunity is dependent on the availability of LACS funding (or non-LACS funding) and finding qualified applicants. Applicants are interviewed by the partners, LACS Ecuador Program and Internship Coordinator, and LACS Program Manager).

Global Development, Cornell Summer Experience Grant applicants, and Laidlaw Scholars interns are eligible and encouraged to apply for Ecuador internships through this application. Please note, the Global Development Fellow internship will be eight weeks in length. 


  • Application Opens: TBD, Applications Expected to open Tuesday, November 1, 2022
  • Application deadline: Tuesday, February 28th, 2023 (11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Interviews of applicants: March 1–25, 2023
  • Internship awards are dependent upon available funding. Funding is available from LACS and several other sources. If you have applied for a Cornell Summer Experience Grant (CSEG) and have a successful internship interview with one of our partners, we will work with you to provide CSEG with a letter of acceptance so that you can secure that funding.
  • Final decisions are sent to applicants at the latest by Friday, March 31, 2023. 


  • Students must commit 6 weeks, 30–35 hours per week over the summer (6–7 hours per day, 5 days per week) or 8 weeks for some funders (6–7 hours per day, 5 days per week).
  • Completion of a mid-internship survey and a concluding reflection and evaluation survey.
  • Students participating in the summer internship program are not permitted to hold full-time jobs during the internship.
  • Applicants shortlisted for interviews will be asked about competing commitments over the summer.
  • For virtual internships: Students participating in the summer virtual internship program are not permitted to hold full-time jobs during the internship. Part-time jobs may be possible, but must be outside the 30-35 hours per week committed towards the internship. You will be expected to be sensitive to differences in time zones and be available for virtual meetings during office hours in the country of the internship.

How to Apply for LACS Internships

We look forward to receiving your application for the LACS Summer 2023 Internships. For questions or to learn more, please contact us at The application period will open in early November 2022. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2023. 

Please note: Applications will be reviewed and all candidates must be willing to participate in an interview with our program manager, internship facilitator, and partner host organization in Ecuador prior to our final selection of candidates.

Ecuador Partner Organizations

Below, we've listed our main partner organizations in Ecuador.

 1. FUNDACIÓN FUTURO, INCLUSIÓN Y DESARROLLO (FUFFID): FUFFID is a non-profit foundation created two years ago to work in favor of the vulnerable population with complete projects that support them in breaking the cycle of poverty and changing their vulnerability situation.

The mission of the organization: To be an organization with a high degree of trust from the most representative social actors of the vulnerable population and from national and international organizations and institutions with whom we share the commitment to work for the benefit of the most vulnerable population in the country.

The vision of the organization: To be an innovative organization specializing in implementing comprehensive programs and projects that contribute to the development of capacities and the inclusion of the population living in conditions of vulnerability, to improve the quality of life and the exercise of their rights.

Interest groups: Vulnerable population due to: Poverty situation, the situation of discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, disability.

Lines of action: Participatory community development, Popular and Solidarity Economy, Fair Trade, Caring for the environment and climate change, and Attention to the migrant population.

2. YAKUM FOUNDATIONYakum is an Amazonian NGO working in 20 Cofan, Siekopai, Shuar, and Kichwa communities across the Amazonian región of Ecuador. This is a unique region having extremely high bio and cultural diversity. Yakum establishes species-rich "Food Forests," regenerating poor soils, monitoring, and food processing. Yakum also is forming and developing youth and women’s groups to empower them to achieve their dreams. Finally, Yakum is developing Carbon offset work to benefit forest diversity and cultural integrity in the Amazon. We expect our work to positively impact community nutrition, income, cultural development, conservation, and education. 

Yakum on Facebook

3. PRO-IDEAS CORPORATION: The Pro-Ideas Corporation is an Ecuadorian NGO that supports the production, innovation, and competitiveness of peasant producers, rural companies, and other service providers in general through the management of production-based on the management and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. It was established by Ministerial Agreement No.28 of the Ministry of Agriculture on September 3, 2015. It comprises a human team of professionals with more than 15 years of experience. The pro-Ideas corporation is a leader in promoting sustainable innovation, project developers, an incubator of sustainable enterprises, and human talent managers for sustainable management and use of our agrobiodiversity.

It has established strategic alliances with two of the most important associations of indigenous Amazonian cocoa producers (Kallari and Wiñak) and two of the most renowned national universities (PUCE and USFQ).

The corporation's mission: We support innovation for rural production based on the sustainable management and protection of agrobiodiversity, strengthening peasant producers, indigenous entrepreneurs, and rural service providers. Support the management of production based on the management and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. Strengthen the capacities of peasant producers, rural companies, and other service providers in general. 

4. MUNICIPALITY OF JOYA DE LOS SACHAS: The Autonomous Municipal Decentralized Government of the Canton La Joya de Los Sachas is a non-profit, governmental institution. It is mainly in charge of guaranteeing access to essential services such as water, sewerage, and solid waste management. In addition, it regulates and controls the use and occupation of land in its territory, ensuring orderly growth and a vision of progress. Its territorial jurisdiction cares for cultures in danger of disappearance and vulnerable social groups such as children, adolescents, youth, the elderly, special abilities, and women. 

5. ALLPA GROUPGrupo Allpa is a non-profit organization that promotes the conservation and regeneration of ecosystems and cultures of Ecuador through research, development, and education in practical alternatives of applied ecology, which allow building sustainable life models following the Sumak Kawsay and the Rights of Nature. Grupo Allpa was born in 1998, applying Permaculture in the context of indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador, joining conservation and rural endogenous development activities. The Foundation enrolled in the Ministry of Environment and began working through several farms called "EcoCentros” managed by families committed to a profound change in their relations with the land. At the same time, it acquired land for conservation purposes.

In 2012, the Group experienced a restructuring, including a personnel change and a deepening and expansion of its objectives. In recent years, its work has focused on technical and educational support for indigenous and farmer processes in 15 provinces of Ecuador, social impact on food, production, and consumption issues, support for solidarity trade processes, and international alliances to advance the agenda for a just society in a positive relationship with nature.

6. IMAYMANA FOUNDATIONImaymana Foundation is an Ecuadorian non-profit organization whose main objective is the conservation of the northwestern Chocoan forests of Pichincha and the sustainable development of the communities of the territory. Imaymana Foundation works with rural communities settled in the Mancomunidad del Chocó Andino (MCA). The Foundation has strengthened sustainable production chains to support economic autonomy, ecosystem restoration, empowerment, organization, and capacity building, especially with women and youth. In addition, it conducts research and provides technical advice on environmental governance processes.

7. K’ALLAM’PK’allam’p Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to regenerative agriculture, social ecology, and comprehensive resource management. The word "k'allam'p" has been used for thousands of years by the Kichwa peoples of the Andes to describe the relationship between social knowledge and the land.

8. MUNICIPALITY OF SAN ANTONIO DE IBARRAThe Municipality of San Antonio de Ibarra are a place of friendly and enterprising people who make handicrafts in wood and fabrics. We market products aimed at satisfying the needs of our customers.

Vision: Project institutional services into the future.

Responsibilities: Efficient management of resources. In carrying out activities, carried out in a way that meets excellence and quality. Contributing to the local development of San Antonians.

9. GAD PARROQUIAL SALASAKA: This is a welcoming place that works for citizenship in terms of enterprising, arts, and traditional knowledge. It aims to benefit people from the town offering diverse courses such as music, singing, traditional dancing, handicrafts, and agricultural projects as well. The Decentralized Autonomous Government (GAD) of the local parish of Salasaka promotes the human and sustainable development of the population, strengthening the identity, organization, and community participation through coordination, management, and negotiation with public and private national and international institutions for the implementation of various programs and projects.

Vision: The Salasaka Parish Government until the year 2025, with the support of its employees and the community in general, will successfully implement and apply the strategic plan sustaining the good use of the tools oriented to improve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of the different goods and services to the community.

Responsibilities: Efficient management of recourses. Through multiple projects, it aims to work for the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, equity, inter-territorial, integration, and citizen participation.

10. PA'ARRIBA FOUNDATION: Pa'Arriba Foundation (U.S.) is the parent foundation of Fundación Pa'Arriba Ecuador, which operates locally in Ecuador to develop community-based prevention, support, and cultural transformation ecosystem designed to leverage the power of community to reduce violence in the country. The foundation has three main programs: Neighborly Conversations (Conversando con tu Veci(ndad)), a community-based psychosocial support program; OyeSARA (HeySARA), a currently in development digital platform designed to provide rapid access to support resources in cases of violence; and, LANA Hermana (Sisters Supporting Sisters), a virtual community using economic empowerment, art and sisterhood to help women gain independence with support from the International Coaching Federation's Ecuador Chapter.

11. UNIVERSIDAD DE SAN FRANCISCO DE QUITO (USFQ): USFQ is a Cornell Global Hub partner university.

Global Hubs are Cornell’s collaborative centers of engagement around the world. Hubs will give students exciting opportunities for semester-long and short-term study abroad, field experience, participation in faculty-led research, curricular pathways through majors, internships, and more.

USFQ is ranked as the top university in Ecuador and number 65 in Latin America by QS Latin America Rankings 2021. USFQ's education model is aimed at the formation of leading, innovative and entrepreneurial professionals, serving the community within the philosophy of Liberal Arts, and integrating every sector of local and regional society.

The USFQ was founded in 1988; it was officially recognized by Ecuador's Ministry of Education and Culture in October 1995.

 USFQ seeks to train free-thinking, innovative, creative, entrepreneurial individuals within the framework of the Liberal Arts and under its founding principles. USFQ aims to be a university of excellence in all its activities and unique globally given its capabilities within the philosophy of Liberal Arts and its founding principles.

The USFQ is the University number 1 in Ecuador and 65 in Latin America by QS Latin America Rankings 2021. USFQ education model is aimed at forming leading, innovative, and entrepreneurial professionals, serving the community within the philosophy of Liberal Arts, and integrating everyone sector of local and regional society.

Additional Information

Funding Type

  • Fellowship


  • Student