Student Intern Program
North Willamette Research & Extension Center
Oregon State University


The Nursery Intern program at OSU is designed for students interested in ornamental crop production. The program focuses on research methods for solving common nursery related problems.

We accept students from throughout the U.S. and around the world. We accept only the most ambitious students. The intern program challenges students to think creatively and develop problem solving skills.

There are two primary learning objectives for this program. First, to improve research skills by developing experiments to solve common production problems in Oregon nurseries. Second, to develop communication skills by helping students with written and oral presentations about nursery related issues.


We work closely with nurseries throughout Oregon. We identify production problems, then develop experiments to provide practical solutions to those problems. Examples of research conducted by student interns include:

  • Determining the cause of chlorosis in maple trees
  • Identifying wood boring insects in Oregon nursery crops and their seasonal flight times
  • Determining the influence of injected fertilizers on soil chemical properties
  • Determining the influence of sucker removal methods on production of apple trees
  • Determining the influence of soil compaction on growth of shade trees

Communications skills

Applied research has no value unless the results can be effectively communicated to others. This internship program will improve student communication skills in one or more of the following ways:

  • Learn to develop web pages for publishing on the internet.
  • Write articles for publication in trade magazines.
  • Deliver oral presentations at nursery workshops or at science meetings.
  • Improve written and spoken English (if English is your second language).

Quick facts about the program:

Primary instructor: Dr. Jim Owen

Location: Aurora, Oregon (20 miles south of Portland)

Duration of internship: 3 to 18 months

Time of internship: year round, although most interns are hired for the summer growing season. Special consideration will be given to students who want to work during the months of February - May.

Education: for U.S. students, you must be enrolled in a college or university with plans to continue classes after completing the internship.

For international students, you must be enrolled in or have completed a college or university program equivalent to a Bachelor of Science in the U.S.

Pay: students work 40 hours/week, and are paid for each hour of work. Pay is based on experience.

Images of the program


Recent students
Tim (California), Gilda (Ecuador), and Zach (Oregon) collect evapotranspiration data from a nursery in 2004..
Marzena (Poland) and Adam (Tennessee) focused their 2003 research efforts on production of bare-root shade trees.
Grazyna (Poland) studied the effects of substrate pH on growth of container crops and weeds.
Eryn (Oregon) focused her research on activity and flight times of wood-boring insects.
Julie (Tennessee) studied the ecological impact of Buddleja davidii, a potentially invasive weed in Oregon.
Magdalena (Poland) studies biological weed control in container tree production by growing a flowering companion crop.

For more information on this internship program, email Dr. James Altland