Skip to main content

Undergraduate Internships or Senior Thesis Research in Latin America or the Caribbean

Three 2020 Summer Digital Interns

Application Deadline: March 9, 2022

Come talk to us about funding options for your summer internship in Latin America or the Caribbean. Sign up for a Zoom info session.

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.

Fieldwork for Undergraduate Thesis

If you are a junior (rising senior in summer '22) 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.
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.

Meet Sammi Lin '24, LACS Winter 2022 Virtual Intern

Ecuador Summer Internships

Application Deadline: March 9, 2022

LACS has fourteen six- to eight-week internship options available in Ecuador during summer 2022. We are planning on these internships being in person. However, depending upon the public health situation in Ecuador 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, we pay the cost of the Airfare R/T to Ecuador from that and give the student the balance as the living cost stipend (whatever the airfare cost, the stipend will not be less than $1,500). The stipend will be paid to the student's bursar account upon acceptance of an offered internship award. Internships are six to eight weeks in length, depending upon the student's funding source (LACS, Laidlaw, Global Development Department).

If we are required by the COVID public health context to pivot the in-person internships to virtual internships the stipend amount if paid by LACS will be $1,500 for a successfully completed internship paid in two parts, half at the beginning and half at the end 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.

Global Development and Laidlaw Scholars interns are eligible to apply for internships through this application. Please note, these two internships will be eight weeks long. 


  • Application deadline: March 9th (11:59 p.m. ET)--CLOSED
  • Interviews of applicants: March 5–25 In Process
  • Final decisions announced: Was 3/25, however, due to the large volume of applications we will announce the final decisions by April 10th.


  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If you do a Virtual Internship, 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.

How to Apply for LACS Internships

Apply here for the LACS Summer 2022 Internships 

In your application, indicate which two internships (by number 1–14) of those listed below, for which you feel most qualified and interested.

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.

1. Youth Leadership Project ReciclAcción – Municipality of Joya de Los Sachas [research/engaged]

Summary: Facilitation of youth group in assessing their community attitudes and needs, developing a plan, and learning new skills in order to further the promotion of household and community composting and recycling by the Youth Project ReciclAcción in the Municipality of Joya de Los Sachas.

The existing ReciclAcción Group received a course on digital marketing and can create posts and videos. The group is now more involved in disseminating environmental information and knowledge and waste issues in their communities. We need more people talking and actively working in reducing the problem, as well as finding additional incentives to promote environmentally-sound waste management as well as how to inspire and develop a culture of responsibility in the community’s management of waste. The internship will contribute to the "Clean Sacha with Your Help" youth program sponsored by the Joya de Los Sachas Municipality. That program’s goal is to raise awareness of the principles of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

The Cornell student with the youth program (ReciclAcción) participants will interact around the overall community waste problem, seek out alternatives as yet untried by ReciclAcción, and work with the youth group to develop how they can get all of the community involved in this campaign. First, the student will conduct research to find new ways (methodologies) that other countries use to treat organic waste and recycle or reuse, including using some articles to make new things. Second, whether in-person (or virtually) the intern will first learn about what the community sees as their issues around (and the community attitudes towards) waste and waste management. Third, conduct a brainstorming session with the youth of the program on ideas for dealing with waste management issues. Fourth, to develop a plan of action that the youth wish to carry out in the last remaining weeks of the internship (and beyond). 

The intern is welcome to include training sessions on leadership and/or communication for the youth group. Training on the use of social media may be a part of the intern’s work with ReciclAcción. If social media is part of the plan developed by the youth with the help of the intern, posts, videos, or resources will have been developed to feed the Facebook page and activate the ReciclAcción youth team participants. The final goal is to have ReciclAcción youth members find and test methods for motivating change in the attitudes and behaviors of the community in how they dispose of or re-use the community’s waste. One of the products of the youth may be to have more active social media pages with posts and at least weekly videos on the problem. If this pivots to a virtual internship, it will be conducted via a zoom connection facilitated by the Municipality.

Interests and Skills Preferred: Intermediate low- to high-level, or fluency in Spanish; Laidlaw scholar or other Cornell UG students interested in working with youth on engaged environmental projects; experience in community work or community volunteer work with youth and/or on environmental issues. Knowledge in digital marketing or social media. Additional but not required

2. Management to create the Allpa-Cambugán Biodiversity Sanctuary – Allpa Group [research/engaged]

Summary: This internship involves researching both economic income-generating activities other than charcoal production for communities as well as identifying potential international organizations the local organization (Allpa Group) and community could partner with, and apply for funding from, in order to be more successful at preserving this part of the bioreserve that is home to the capuchin monkey and the Andean bear.

Allpa Cambugán is a reserve of approximately 500 hectares, mostly primary cloud forest, and is part of the Cambugán Protective Forest (4,100 ha). Cambugán y Paso Alto (9,160 ha together) is part of the core of the Ecological Corridor of the Andean Bear (64,000 ha) and the Chocó Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve. Today, however, despite legal declarations, the area is threatened by land and carbon traffickers and the construction of a dirt road cut into the forest lands which directly threatens the habitat of critically endangered species.

The general objective is to support the protection, conservation, and regeneration of this cloud forest ecosystem. The specific objective is to identify options for the generation of economic alternatives within local communities that will at the same time ensure the integrity and connectivity of habitat for these endangered species: the Ecuadorian capuchin monkey (Cebus aequatorialus) and the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus).

The essential tasks are to first, research information on potential paths to creating even more protected forest area within this biosphere reserve, potential international groups to work with, second to source funds to both better protect the area and help the local population find alternatives to making charcoal for sale which is destroying the environment and threatening the animal life. And finally, develop with the community and Allpa-Cambugán, an audio-visual presentation(s) (e.g., Powerpoint with sound or a short video format) in English and Spanish to promote the idea of the project to national, international, and funding partners.

Preferred interests and skills: Interest in researching possible funding sources; interest in working in international development; Intermediate high to fluent oral and written Spanish skills; PowerPoint creation skills; interest in forest-animal-human interaction; interest in environmental and endangered species issues; previous research skills or experience (at an undergraduate level); some fund-raising experience a plus.

3. Environmental communication to strengthen the food sovereignty of rural communities in Chocó Andino, Ecuador – Imaymana Foundation [engaged/research].

Summary: The internship will be developed within the framework of the work carried out by the Imaymana Foundation to promote the conservation of agrobiodiversity, the diversification of farms, and the food sovereignty of rural communities in the Andean Choco. The overall objective is to develop an environmental communication plan focusing on the promotion and dissemination of unconventional food plants and the conservation of agri-food heritage. This activity seeks to support the strengthening of the food sovereignty of the rural communities of Andean Choco.

The intern's activities are developing a medium-term environmental communication plan (6 months to 1 year) and developing communication material as an implementation input for the plan. The final product will be a dissemination and awareness campaign on the use of structured unconventional food plants (PACs) and digital material that promotes the use and knowledge of PANC.

Preferred interests and skills: Graphic design skills very useful; excellent communication skills in both oral and written English; best if also have those skills in Spanish as well; volunteer or work experience in awareness-raising campaigns; interest and/or knowledge in local plant foods, food systems, food sovereignty, and biodiversity.

4. Andean Ethnobotany Research in Andean Ecuador – K’allam’p Inc. [research/engaged]

Summary: The intern will conduct a literature review on ethnomedicine, ethnobotany and assist in the design of social science research questionnaire in an Andean community.

The internship will cover a new activity in the region. The study aims to work in constant conversation with indigenous midwives and/or “weeders” (people who harvest plants used for medicinal or food purposes). Both are connoisseurs of different native and introduced plants used as medicine, food, or both. With the pandemic, medicinal plants' use has increased, but knowledge of these plants has remained with very few seniors within Andean communities. Also, the pandemic brought urban people to communities and during 2020 there was the cutting down of a large number of trees to create farmland.

These agricultural activities are rapidly degrading the local biodiversity. Biodiversity loss, according to midwives, has eliminated areas of great cultural and ethnomedicinal value. The pandemic reinforced the importance of midwives and their ethnomedicinal knowledge and shows the need to protect and promote these areas of biodiverse natural wealth. The intern will assist in designing social science questionnaires and conducting literary reviews related to ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, midwives, and “weeders.” It will also assist in the preparation of audiovisual material for educational and social communication purposes.

Preferred interests and skills: interest in natural medicines from plants; skills in social science and environment research and questionnaire design; some experience in fieldwork; Skills in MS Office; Google Suite; Photoshop; good written and oral communication skills in English and Spanish; ability to work with groups and individually.

5. Sustainable production e-commerce information processing – ProIdeas Corporation [research/engaged]

E-commerce has taken off very strongly in Ecuador due to the pandemic and appears as an opportunity for direct marketing of the producer to consumers and to facilitate access to global markets and those with some level of specificity. E-commerce enables companies to expand beyond their local environment, reach a regional or global scale, and increase the consumer base. During the pandemic, online shopping has become vital, and many people are seeing the benefits of others buying for them or shopping online rather than visiting markets directly. 

In this context, we want to understand the opportunities represented by E-commerce for organic products, from fair trade, generated by groups of women, indigenous or small and medium-sized producers, with socio-environmental certifications and others related to sustainability issues. The final product expected from the internship is the design of at least four reports of database information analysis according to the project's needs and a manual of the use of free software used for database analysis.

Preferred interests and skills: Ability to do an 8-week in-person internship; qualitative and quantitative research skills; capacity to synthesize information, part of a major in international development careers; studies and skills in applied economics, communication tools, ability to translate database information of the organic products that the international market is looking for and present these in graphic form; skills to analyze which products and markets are a good match for the community organization; low intermediate Spanish required.

6. Digital marketing strategy applied to the tourism and artisanal sector of the parish of San Antonio de Ibarra – Municipality of San Antonio de Ibarra [engaged]

Summary: This internship will work to identify potential local, regional, and international NGO or commercial partners/markets interested in their artisanal products (wood sculptures, furniture, tools; and natural fiber artisanal work (tablecloths, wall hangings, shopping bags, etc.), and potentially paintings).

The student will create up to 10 promotional posters that show the touristic and cultural strengths found in the municipality. This internship is facilitated by our partner Fundación Futuro and the Municipality of San Antonio de Ibarra who will provide high-resolution photos, texts in Spanish (for the student to translate into English) of the artisanal work of the area.

San Antonio de Ibarra's parish is located in the province of Imbabura, Geo UNESCO World Park. For its part, San Antonio de Ibarra is a territory where its population is characterized by making handicrafts in wood that currently, this activity risks being lost because of the lack of markets. The main activities are to support the dissemination of the natural and artistic heritage of San Antonio de Ibarra's parish and design ten promotional posters that show the tourist and cultural potential of the parish of San Antonio de Ibarra.

The minimum tasks expected to be done by the intern are a structured schedule covering the internship all the time, graphic design, photo retouching, and Illustration of images and text. The specific product expected from the internship is to design eight-to-ten promotional posters that show the tourist and cultural potential of the parish of San Antonio de Ibarra. It will help to position the parish inhabitants' artisanal work, in turn, that will promote the tourist and commercial activities of the sector.

Preferred interests and skills: Proven artistic and graphic design skills; interest in artisanal and fair trade promotion; skills related to developing appealing posters as well as formats for digital marketing of products; intermediate medium to high Spanish language level.

7. Mapping Training with the Youth of the Ethnic Communities of the Kichwa, Shuar, Cofan, and Siekopai in the Ecuadorian Amazon – Yakum Foundation [engaged]

Summary: Work with the Yakum Foundation to review an existing set of maps and assist in improving the format of the maps, including standard legends, colors, orientation, and more.

The intern will collaborate with Yakum's institutional development team to support and develop work in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Yakum is working with the community to re-introduce 150 species of native trees for fruit, walnuts, palm oil, palm fruit, wood for construction, as well trees and plants that provide natural medicines. Yakum works with Kichwa, Shuar, Siekopai, and Cofan on mapping the boundaries, ecological and production zones of the community. Working with the geographer of Yakum, the intern will work to review existing maps and help to train a group of young people of the Siekopai ethnic group who are helping with mapping the community’s territory and to defend the natural environment of that territory.

Yakum’s overall objective is to develop valuable maps (general and thematic) for the Cofán, Siekopai, Kichwa, and Shuar communities. If possible, they would like to develop a series of "Time sequence" maps that illustrate the territories and boundary changes of the Cofan, Siekopai, Kichwa, and Shuar in time and space. They would like assistance in figuring out how to use these base maps to map out patterns of land use, deforestation, and how to use them to look at potential future deforestation with an eye towards where the community should be focused on conservation efforts.

The minimum tasks expected to be done by the intern are adjustments based on a group reflection on the way – mid-term evaluation, development, and collaboration in mapping production with Yakum. The final products expected are a folder of mappings related to Yakum's work in the Amazon, prepared with Diana Quilombo during the internship. We are training the Mapping Group Siekopai, posting on the website and various social media about the work results, and creating a transparent product file for Yakum, communities, and collaborators for them to use in the future.

Preferred interests and skills: Knowledge of the use of GPS; experience with developing maps from GPS coordinates; skills in the use of mapping programs (ArcGIS, MapInfo Pro, or other GIS mapping software); interest and/or experience in training others in mapping techniques (ability to communicate knowledge to others); interest in international development career; Intermediate medium to high oral and written Spanish.

8. Research on the potential of Carbon Offset Methods and Markets for Biological and Cultural Conservation in Amazonian Ecuador (Fundación Yakum) [research/analysis]

Location: Virtual internship with potential for in-person, TBD.

Summary: To review worldwide case studies on the theme of “Avoided Deforestation” as a Carbon offset mechanism to provide income and other benefits to indigenous communities in favor of protecting their forests and reinforcing their cultures. The home office of the foundation is in Tena, Napo Province, Amazon Region.

Review and analysis of case studies, project experiences (successes and failures and why), and successful methods for carrying out carbon offset projects with indigenous people in the Amazon in Ecuador. A review of the potential of these projects for supporting biodiversity and cultural conservation.

The goal is for the Siekopai people to avoid deforestation in order to maintain their 24,000 hectares of forest by developing a cash flow, through a carbon offset program or a version of that which will be legally possible within the constraints of the Ecuadorian constitution. Yakum is also looking at a larger 62,000 ha initiative with the Cofán indigenous group. The constitution does not allow for direct payments to peoples within Ecuador but that the payments go to the state. Yakum is also interested in developing social and eco credits to accompany the carbon credits. The intern would look at voluntary and formal markets on how to do this. Reforestation and agroforestry projects are also another way to offset, however, the scale is smaller.

Yakum Foundation needs analysis of what works and what to avoid on these projects from case studies. Ethnographic and case study research provide context and understanding, often relevant for making management decisions on such development projects.

Preferred interests and skills: Persistence, as this is a complicated, developing theme. Able to deal with differing opinions and ambiguity. Good research and writing skills. Knowledge about environmental sciences. Climate change knowledge. Beginning to Intermediate Low Spanish a plus, an intern with the interests and skills will be considered even with no background in Spanish language skills.

9. Fundación Futuro Project assistant [research/engaged]

Summary: Facilitation and help to the Future, Family, Inclusion and Development Foundation (FUFFID) to improve the database of projects on the guidelines to look for possible financing opportunities or contact entities that provide some type of support to FUFFID.

The importance of this internship lies in the fact that it is essential to have good projects presented to different donor organizations to execute the projects in the beneficiary communities and territories fully.

The general objective of the internship is to improve the FUFFID project database. In addition, interns will contribute to the design of projects and look for possible financing opportunities or entities that can provide support for FUFFID initiatives.

The tasks that the intern is expected to do considering that it could be a virtual internship:

  • Assist in the investigation and compilation of the necessary information (technical, operational, financial, legal, market) for the design of the approved projects and the preparation of the documentation to be used to support them.
  • Support the development of documentation applicable to the processes once the project is put into production (forms for the development of the service, procedures, contingency procedures, manuals, among others).
  • Support in the translation of project profiles, as needed.

Preferred interests and skills: Intermediate to high level of fluency in Spanish, knowledge of information search strategies, dynamic person, and experience in writing projects.

10. English language training for young leaders from the Ayora Municipality [engaged]

Summary: This internship involves the need to support young people from the Ayora Municipality by teaching a supplementary English course to complement the training that the young students receive in high school.

The proposed internship is a new activity designed to support a supplementary English course for 20 high school students from the rural communities of the San José de Ayora parish. The goal is to expand young people's basic knowledge of English by incorporating technical vocabulary and structures. The context in which the internship will take place is in the Cayambe canton, a multi-ethnic and multicultural territory with an indigenous population. The San José de Ayora parish is located 77 km northeast of the city of Quito, at 2,700 meters above sea level. It is located in the area of ​​influence of the Cayambe Coca National Park and therefore of the Cayambe volcano, with essential paramo areas, an ecosystem with high potential for providing environmental services such as carbon storage in the soil especially the storage and distribution of water to Lowlands.

The tasks that the intern is expected to do is develop: a) a structured schedule that covers the entire time of the internship, b) diagnostic test of the level of English, c) study plan of basic understanding of the English language, and d) conduct a final test to demonstrate the progress of learning the English language

The participating institutions (local government and foundation) will work jointly to reinforce our commitment to delivering information, documents, videos, and files. The local government will guarantee the permanent presence of the 20 young people selected for the education program and internet access. The product(s) generated through the virtual or in-person internship help improve young people's skills, who will have more and better knowledge of the English language.

Preferred interests and skills: Knowledge of Spanish language (medium or high level) and a dynamic aptitude for teaching young people including knowledge of teaching strategies and dealing with young people from the rural sector. Communication or related skills and good empathy to work with people from other cultures.

11. Teaching English as a foreign language—Salasaka Municipality, in a rural Kichwa (Indigenous) community [engaged]

Summary: This internship involves providing support to young people from the Salasaca Municipality by teaching a supplementary English course to complement the students' training at the high school level.

The internship will take place in the Salasaka Parish, a rural Kichwa (indigenous) community with its own customs, traditional festivities, knowledge, and languages still alive. The municipality is in the province of Tungurahua, in the central Andes of Ecuador. Its population is approximately 13,000 inhabitants who speak their native Kichwa and Spanish

The GAD Parroquial Salasaka with Soledad Chango will guarantee the permanent presence of the students selected for the program and access to adequate teaching spaces, internet, and pedagogical materials. In addition, supervisors will oversee the success of the internship and promote full compliance with the objectives set forth.

The expectations for the internship are to:

  • develop essential and intermediate English language proficiency with students.
  • administer a final written and oral test.
  • assign a presentation with conversation, music, or drama (optional).

These requirements are intended to prepare the children and youth of Salasaka for international educational fields. This training will help the students prepare for their futures by giving them increased English communication skills that will help them in their chosen professional fields, to access to information, be involved in the development of tourism in the region, and all the benefits of learning a new language.

Preferred interests and skills: Knowledge of Spanish language (intermediate, upper-intermediate or advanced); dynamic aptitude for teaching young people: knowledge of teaching strategies and dealing with young people from the rural sector. Communication or related skills and good empathy to work with people from other cultures. Artistic skills: dance, music, painting, singing (optional). Empathetic and able to relate to and work with people of different cultures, thinking, life systems, and beliefs.

12.  Comparative regional analysis on indigenous social movements influence in law-making and law implementation (Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, the U.S., and Canada) [research assistant]

Supervisor and Cornell alumnus: Assistant Professor David Cordero-Heredia, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.

This regional comparative project studies how: (i) the shape of national racial policy; (ii) the existence of a strong/weak indigenous social movement; (iii) the characteristics of the legal system; and (iv) the opportunities for International Law to influence the domestic state of affairs have shaped the domestic implementation of indigenous peoples' rights. Research assistants will work on bibliography and archival research and in the systematization of interviews. Research assistantships over the summer (30 hours a week). Depending on the development of the pandemic, summer could be in person in Ecuador or virtual.

Preferred knowledge and skills: Knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not required; proficiency in research and writing skills.

13. Ancestral knowledge contribution on Rights of Nature development in the Americas. [research]

Supervisor and Cornell alumnus: Assistant Professor David Cordero-Heredia, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.

Recent worldwide developments of the jurisprudence of Rights of Nature have triggered a vivid discussion of how judges and policymakers should apply this new concept (RON). RON presents a new paradigm of human-nature relationships based on the respect of the life-cycles and fragile ecosystems. Some non-Western cultures have shown that this sort of connection is possible. The project will address how indigenous knowledge contributes to shaping the jurisprudence of the RON in the Americas and the potential of an inter-epistemic dialog to protect nature. Research assistants will work on bibliography and archival research and in the systematization of interviews. Research assistantships could be conducted during the summer (30 hours a week). Depending on the development of the pandemic, summer could be in person in Ecuador or virtual.

Preferred knowledge and skills: Knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not required; proficiency in research and writing skills.

14. Communications Intern with Pa'Arriba Ecuador [engaged]

Communication position to strengthen the English-language social networks of Pa'Arriba Foundation, working on issues of gender-based violence and human rights in Ecuador.

Summary: The internship will focus on generating a communication plan and relevant content for the English-language social networks of Pa'Arriba Foundation to show its work in Ecuador on issues of gender-based violence and human rights. 

The intern's activities are developing a medium-term communication plan (6 months to 1 year) and developing communication material as an implementation input for the plan. The final product will be a dissemination and awareness campaign on the importance of community-based tools for stopping the pandemic of violence battering the country. It will support broader communication and fundraising campaign to be implemented in Spanish by the foundation in the first half of the year. 

Preferred interests and skills: Graphic design skills very useful; excellent communication skills in both oral and written English; best if also have those skills in Spanish as well; volunteer or work experience in awareness-raising and fundraising campaigns; interest and/or knowledge in human rights, cultural transformation, violence against women and other vulnerable groups.

Universidad de San Francisco de Quito Internships

Up to two of the following (#15-17) will be funded if we have qualified applications for them.

None of these require Spanish. An introductory level of Spanish is recommended. Note whether the one you are interested is specifies on-site (in-person) or virtual, some offer both.

15. USFQ -- Obtaining high value-added compounds from residual lignocellulosic biomass for potential industrial applications by Lourdes M. Orejuela-Escobar [research/engaged]

The vision of this project lies in concepts of green engineering, zero waste technology, biorefinery and circular bioeconomy for obtaining / recovering high value-added chemical compounds [1]. Varieties of plant waste exist in Ecuador, and, in many cases, are not used, or are disposed of in the field, becoming a source of contamination. Thus, it is proposed to use some plant species wastes to subject them to biorefinery processes where the biomass will be converted and, in a certain proportion and according to their chemical composition, different compounds that constitute raw material for other processes or products will be recovered.

Responsibilities of students

Collect waste from fruit peels and leaves of different species for the recovery of essential oils and natural dyes. 

Extract essential oils from fruit peels and leaves through steam distillation and with the assistance of ultrasound.

Extract natural dyes through state-of-the-art techniques by using Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and classic methods.

Evaluate the use of bio-based hydrogels for biomass conversion.

Run encapsulation (spherification) experiments with biopolymers / natural gelling agents in two proposed formulations containing one or more encapsulated high value-added compounds.

Propose uses for solid waste after it has been subjected to extraction processes.

 Select the best product proposal developed.

Write an indexed article

Initiate patent process for said process and / or product.

Minimum Hours Per Week: 4 hours

Language Requirement: The instruction could be only in English, although an introductory level of Spanish would be recommended.

Modality of Participation: On-Site or Virtual

16. USFQ -- Activity patterns of medium and large mammals in the eastern foothills of the central Andes of Ecuador by Carolina Reyes-Puig


This project aims to estimate the patterns and levels of activity of medium and large mammals in the eastern foothills of Ecuador. In this way, highlighting the importance of ecological interactions on a  landscape scale and that in the future allow understanding prey-predator relationships.

Responsibilities of students: Should be a 2nd or 3rd year student in areas associated with Biology, Ecology or related. The student will oversee working with databases of large and medium mammals of Ecuador. Mainly Spectacled Bear, Mountain Tapir, and Puma. The responsibilities will be framed in reviewing photos of camera traps, detailing their information in databases, and assisting in subsequent data analysis.

-          Available during Summer Sessions too

-          Minimum Hours Per Week: 5 hours

-          Language Requirement: The instruction could be in Spanish or English

-          Modality of Participation: On-site: Spring and Fall 2022. Virtual: Summer 2022

17. USFQ -- The Respect Project--Latin America and USA  by Gerald L. Finch [research]

This research is to measure in the U.S. the reliability of two different questionnaires to measure the four respect factors discovered in The Respect Project—Latin America.  The precise method of accomplishing this research can be determined after discussions with all the participants in the research.

Responsibilities of Students: The ideal student should be familiar with data management software such as SPSS. We estimate that the students most likely to be interested in this research would be those interested in Social Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Organizational Behavior, Industrial Psychology, Anthropology, or Human Resource Management.

-          Minimum Hours Per Week: 5 hours

-          Language Requirement: All in English

-          Modality of Participation: On-Site

-          Direct Supervisor: Gerald L. Finch

18. USFQ -- Venezuelan Migration in Ecuador by Cristen Dávalos [research/engaged]

This project aims to analyze the socio-economic profile of Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador, and analyze the limitations of their integration during the current context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in order to formulate recommendations for national and regional policies.

Responsibilities of students: The ideal student will be enthusiastic about the topic, from a

program in the Social Science and Humanities Departments and contribute to the research project with qualitative and quantitative research methods. In addition to contributing to a literature review, the student/s will also support the implementation and analysis of an online survey directed towards Venezuelan migrants on their socio-economic background, migratory experiences from Venezuela to Ecuador, integration in Ecuador, and access to enough safe and nutritious food, as well as public services (housing, healthcare etc) during the current context of the coronavirus outbreak.

-          Minimum Hours Per Week: 5-10 hours

-          Instruction: Instruction will be in English, as well as the written

end products. However, the surveys will be done in Spanish and a basic level of Spanish is required.

-          Modality of Participation: On-Site or Virtual-

Ecuador Partner Organizations

 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 GROUP: Grupo 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. Contact:

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 Sanantonians

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 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.

12. University of San Francisco de Quito (USFQ)

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