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P2 Services LogoPollution Prevention Intern Program

Challenging, hands-on internships  with the Iowa Pollution Prevention Program offer an introduction to project management through assigned projects at top Iowa companies achieving economic and environmental results. Interns apply acquired technical skills to their assigned project to assess a process or a system, identify opportunities, research and recommend alternative options, and implement improvements. An analysis of economic and environmental results is developed for each recommendation.

Students in this program are provided the opportunity to demonstrate their technical abilities and leadership skills at the host companies. Their professional development is enhanced by the experience of working on multifunctional teams promoting long-term sustainability. Students may also establish and build professional networks through host company staff and contact with vendors and suppliers.

Common projects address:

Student Perspectives:

Bailey Hadnott

This internship is unlike anything else that is out there. It is a very unique and rewarding experience.
Bailey Hadnott, The University of Iowa

Alex George

Being able to manage your own project and see the impact your project has on both the company and the environment gives you a huge sense of accomplishment.
Alex George, Iowa State University

Megan Melbye

My project gave me the opportunity to take ownership and responsibility of a project and be self-motivated for its completion. I gained more communication and public speaking skills during my P2 internship than any other internship I’ve been involved in.
Megan Melbye, University of Wisconsin-Platteville


  • Boiler efficiencies
  • Compressed air systems
  • HVAC system efficiencies
  • Motor efficiencies
  • Water conservation
  • Water/wastewater treatment
  • Process improvements
  • Solid/hazardous waste reduction
  • Alternative energy

Since 2001, host companies have saved more than $75.2 million in implemented intern projects. These projects also save water, divert waste from landfills, reduce hazardous waste and conserve energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The following annual savings are a testament that improved environmental performance is a cost-effective venture for Iowa’s business sector. 

  • 363 million kWh of electricity
  • 9.2 million therms of energy
  • 1.4 billion gallons of water
  • 213,858 tons of solid and special waste
  • 8,025 tons of hazardous waste

For more detailed information on recently implemented projects, review the Pollution Prevention Intern Program Case Summaries booklet.

How does the Pollution Prevention Intern Program work?

Iowa businesses, institutions, or agencies submit projects for consideration.

The DNR matches students with specific projects based on each student's coursework, academic performance, experience, technical and communication skills.

After one week of training, the intern serves at the host facility, where they analyze the current process, research strategies, calculate cost comparisons and implement improvements. After writing a final report documenting results and recommendations, the intern presents this information to management at the host company and writes a case summary of the project.

Internships begin in May, with 12- or 24-week project opportunities available.

While on-site the intern reports to a company supervisor, who provides daily supervision, company resources, and ensures company support of the project and implementation. Technical advisers with the program provide interns with resources, tools and technical support and guidance throughout their internship.

** Students are not trained in or qualified to assess regulatory compliance issues. **

"Sivyer Steel is thoroughly pleased with the P2 Intern Program.The professionalism and support of our intern, as well as the P2 Staff was incredible and a valuable resource to any business." Tonya Burgess, Sivyer Steel Corporation, Davenport, Iowa

How do I get started?

Iowa companies, medical facilities, academic campuses, or government agencies with a desire to improve environmental performance may submit a project request for a 2015 intern. Eligible companies have more than 100 employees, are RCRA Large Quantity Generators of hazardous waste, OR incur annual energy costs of more than one million dollars. Selected companies must sign a uniform program agreement prior to an intern being assigned to the project.

There is no-cost to a host company for the first 12-week period of participation. A cost share of $4,000.00 is paid to the department for each additional 12-week increment of participation in the Pollution Prevention Intern Program.  

The deadline for companies to submit a request for a 2015 intern is December 1, 2014.

Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in engineering disciplines or physical science majors are encouraged to apply. A complete application packet consists of a resume, an application form, an unofficial copy of most recent transcripts and a list of fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 courses.

The intern selection process will begin mid-October and continue into the spring until all project assignments are finalized. Applications from students will be accepted until all projects are finalized.  Students are encouraged to apply early for the best consideration of all projects.

DNR's Pollution Prevention Services provides interns with salaries and housing stipends.

For more information, contact:
Danielle Dilks

Resources and Information

Intern Case Summaries

total items   7   items x page            
Document DescriptionSize 
p2cs2008.pdf 2008 Intern Case Summaries Booklet7.24 MB
p2cs2009.pdf 2009 Intern Case Summaries Booklet2.91 MB
p2cs2010.pdf 2010 Intern Case Summaries Booklet3.82 MB
p2cs2011.pdf 2011 Intern Case Summaries Booklet4.16 MB
p2cs2012.pdf 2012 Intern Case Summaries Booklet3.06 MB
p2cs2013.pdf 2013 Intern Case Summaries Booklet2.58 MB
p2cs2014.pdf 2014 Intern Case Summaries Booklet3.87 MB