OASE interns use life cycle thinking to customize solutions for your pollution prevention goals. 

Are you ready to accelerate your sustainability goals?

Apply now to host a full-time, ten-week intern.


Application Process

Host business applications will be due February 26, 2024. Before submitting an application, please review the OASE Program Information section below and contact us to discuss your project idea.

Please review the Host Business Responsibilities, and then click here to apply.  If you need the application in a different format, please let us know. We would be happy to assist you. 


  • A new set of eyes looking at ways to creatively address waste

  • Your intern being mentored by an engineer or scientist 

  • The option to join a growing community of practice on pollution prevention

  • A full report and presentation detailing the intern’s work and next steps for your company 

  • Potential to reduce waste, save money, and train the future workforce in sustainability in your business field

OASE Program Information

Since its pilot year in 2017, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Sea Grant have administered the OASE program through funding obtained by an EPA Pollution Prevention grant. Third- and fourth-year college students and graduate students are recruited to conduct research that helps Oregon businesses reach their waste prevention and sustainability goals. Students are located at the business fulltime for 10 weeks during the summer. The EPA grant helps offset program costs, and intern stipends are administered by Oregon Sea Grant.

This is a win-win program that supports environmental workforce development, waste reduction, environmental protection and economic savings.

Program Approach

The OASE team works with various companies within Oregon to identify projects that may benefit from participation in the program. Through this program, the OASE team enters into agreements with these companies to identify the roles and responsibilities of the host company and the OASE team in accomplishing the project. The OASE team then identifies and recruits undergraduate and graduate students with skill sets that may make them successful in completing the types of projects that are submitted by companies and vetted by the OASE team. The OASE team pairs these interns and their respective skills and interests with the participating company’s proposed project to develop project assignments.

The OASE team provides technical and program support to the interns throughout the project. The host company’s identified site coordinator is also available to provide on-site resources and support to the interns. The interns develop recommendations for improvements that follow the Program’s goals and prepare reports detailing their efforts and any results of implementation, if applicable. The OASE team will publish a summary of these reports and follow-up with participating companies regarding implementation to verify savings and other benefits. 

All information gathered and reported to the OASE team under this program is confidential. The only published documents are the case summaries prepared by the interns, which are reviewed and approved by the companies at the end of the internship. The OASE team also uses these case summaries for reporting and program marketing purposes.

Any Oregon-based business with a sustainability project that is able to commit to the following will be considered:

  • Attend a pre-meeting with OASE representatives to review projects/scope of work for final acceptance
  • Able to release environmental and economic savings results in a case study that will be released to the public
  • Agree to selecting your intern through the OASE selection process, see "Intern Selection and Deliverables" section for more details
  • Able to submit in-kind match (counted in staff hours)
  • If you hosted an OASE intern in the past, matching fund requirements apply. More information can be found in the "Matching Funds" section.
  • Propose a sustainability project that meets OASE's requirements, see "Project Requirements" section for details

Businesses that meet the following conditions will be given priority:

  • Businesses in the food and beverage sector (NAICS 311 and 3121)
  • Businesses that handle or manufacture chemicals listed on the EPA’s Risk Management Plan
  • Businesses located on the coast
  • Small or medium size businesses
  • Businesses that are BCorp certified

Please note: OASE does not provide insurance to interns. If your organization requires that summer interns have liability, workers’ compensation, or other insurance coverage, your organization may hire a student as an employee and they can still be considered an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar. Please specify this need as soon as possible. If you do not know the answer to this question, contact your Human Resources department.

Business project proposals will be evaluated on how they meet the following:

  • Projects that reduce toxic use, waste, and/or energy with measurable goals (measurable results include: time and money saved; kilowatts reduced; pounds of waste and toxic chemicals eliminated; and climate change gasses reduced)
  • Project tasks, goals and outcomes clearly identified 
  • Projects not designed to meet environmental compliance and environmental permit requirements 
  • Project teams that support intern's work and provide a quality work site
  • Project results (lessons learned, process) are transferable to other businesses or similar sectors

Below is a basic list of projects ideas. Be sure to check out our Case Studies page for more detailed project examples. 

  • Chemical inventory/footprint
  • Energy/water audit that identifies reduction opportunities 
  • Advancing the practices of green chemistry and engineering 
  • Advancing an alternative’s assessment, life cycle assessment or process mapping project 
  • A project to reduce toxics and waste that go beyond basic compliance and simple reductions 
  • Projects that aim to reduce Oregon’s Toxics Focus List chemicals 

Engineering and environmental analyses, like those completed by an OASE intern, can be costly for companies, but the benefits can far outweigh the cost of the project. Given the benefits of an OASE intern project for both the company and the student, OASE minimizes costs by partnering with other organizations that will also benefit from the project.

The approximate cost for each student is $15,000. Contributing to the stipend, housing, travel or other expenses can defray costs for the entire program. Although OASE interns are free to first-time businesses, to support as many students as possible, we ask businesses to contribute funding whenever possible.

Returning businesses are required to contribute a minimum of $7,000 in order to participate in 2020. 

If you provide an approvable project application and contribute $7,000 for one scholar, we will recruit at least one eligible scholar to complete your project. 

Placement depends on availability and alignment with a scholar.

New businesses who provide full or partial funds for a position have a greater likelihood of successful placement.

  1. If you provide an approvable project application and the entire cost of one or more scholars, we will recruit at least one eligible scholar to complete your project.
  2. If you provide an approvable project application, your position is given priority for placement 
  3. If you cannot provide any funds, we can place one scholar at your location.

Placement depends on availability and alignment with a scholar.

How to contribute to the OASE program:

Are you affiliated with OSU? The easiest way to contribute to OSG’s summer scholars programs is to directly charge an OSU index. Send Oregon Sea Grant the details of amount and an index number, and we will charge student expenses.

Can your organization make a charitable donation? OASE is listed on the Agricultural Research Foundation (ARF) donate page. Payments can be made directly with PayPal, or by invoice, and will be applied to stipends, training, travel, coordination of program or housing. Returning businesses will contribute through this method. 

Can you make direct payments to the student or provide housing? One way to offset expenses is to directly reimburse the student. If possible, payments to individuals are a good option for work travel related charges. Covering lodging expenses during a student’s internship is another way to provide support.

There are five main members of the OASE project team: 

  1. Pollution prevention intern 
  2. Host company, represented by their site coordinator
  3. OASE technical advisor/mentor(s): DEQ, professors, others
  4. OASE developer and coordinators: DEQ, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, Portland State University
  5. OASE program administrator: Oregon Sea Grant

Since its pilot year in 2017, OASE has partnered with the following businesses:

  • Ant Farm Café
  • Bob's Red Mill
  • Boeing
  • Bold Reuse
  • Bora Architects
  • Bridgetown Mushrooms
  • Columbia Sportswear Company
  • Craft Brew Alliance & Widmer Brothers Brewing
  • Defunkify
  • East West Tea Company, LLC (Yogi)
  • EcNow Tech
  • EMA Architects
  • GoBox
  • Good Clean Love
  • Grand Central Bakery
  • Green Hammer
  • Hummingbird Wholesale
  • Imperfect Foods
  • Knife River Concrete
  • Lamb Weston Potatoes
  • New Seasons Market
  • Northwest Green Chemistry
  • Nossa Familia Coffee
  • Oregon Kelp Alliance (ORKA)
  • Oregon Soap Company
  • Pacific Seafood
  • Port Orford Sustainable Seafood
  • Providence Health and Services
  • RiverBend Materials
  • Stanley Infrastructure
  • Stumptown Coffee
  • TE Connectivity
  • Tofurky
  • Vivid Stabilized Woods
  • Willamette Falls Paper Co (previously West Linn Paper)

February: Business proposals are due. Businesses work with the OASE program coordinator to answer any questions they may have to submit their project proposal.

March-April: Intern recruitment and site visit.  OASE program coordinator visits business sites to review program requirements and refine their project scope. Host businesses are selected. Oregon Sea Grant receives and vets student intern applications. Businesses interview top candidates for their position.

May: Preparation for Intern. OASE will coordinate a meeting between businesses, technical advisors/mentor, and interns to finalize project scope. OASE hosts an event to showcase past projects and introduce the new cohort.

June-August: Intern Arrives! Interns attending mandatory training hosted by OASE, work fulltime for 10 weeks on their projects, and prepare final reports and case study presentations.

September-October: Wrap Up. Approve final case study for dissemination. Interns present at community events. Program evaluations are submitted.

Intern Selection Process

Oregon Sea Grant will recruit and select up to three, screened candidates for the host. The host commits to selecting one of the candidates and is responsible for the final selection process (interviews). You may choose to conduct a phone or in person interview with the candidates. The company is also responsible for conducting any additional tests required for the intern to work on-site (i.e., drug testing or a background check).

By the end of the internship, each intern will provide the business and project team the following:

  • a final detailed project report, following OASE's outline
  • a case study summarizing the project for an external audience
  • a presentation of project results to be delivered to the project team, business management, and external partners

What is the Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience (OASE)?

Since 2017, Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has matched talented engineering, chemistry, sustainability and environmental science students with Oregon businesses to create sustainability solutions. Summer projects focus on research and education that can help improve efficiency, save money, and reduce waste through energy or water audits, toxics use reduction, green chemistry, and life cycle assessment.

What is a host business?

A host business is an Oregon-based business who has been selected to host a fulltime, ten-week intern to conduct onsite research. Interns are placed at businesses to analyze the company’s waste streams and to research and recommend process improvements that will lower operating costs while reducing negative environmental impacts. Your business may be able to address waste reduction projects sooner and faster with the help of an OASE intern. An intern can make suggestions that improve efficiency, save money, reduce waste, or decrease regulatory requirements. Students are mentored and guided by an OASE engineer or scientist.

Who covers the administration and cost?

OSG and DEQ administer this non-regulatory and voluntary program. We received an EPA Pollution Prevention grant that helps offset the costs of the program.

Businesses are required to provide match (counted in hours not dollars) contributions to help support the intern program. Your hours are used to meet grant requirements. For about four months, you will need to track and submit the hours devoted to support the intern (hiring student, training, report review, etc.).

How to become a host business?

When the request for host business proposals is announced, an application will be available for download here. Before submitting a proposal, please contact us to discuss your project idea with an OASE program administrator.

What about insurance?

OASE does not provide insurance to scholars. Do you require that summer interns have liability, workers’ compensation, or other insurance coverage? Your organization may hire a student as an employee and they can still be considered an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar. Please specify this need as soon as possible. If you do not know the answer to this question, contact your Human Resources department. 

Are there training opportunities?

Students are required to attend two half-day trainings that cover basic concepts of sustainability and pollution prevention, project management, report writing and professional conduct. Students and businesses representatives are required to attend a Meet and Greet social event where past successes will be highlighted and the new cohort will be introduced.

What are additional ways that host businesses can support the OASE Program?

The approximate cost for each student is $15,000, and contributing to the stipend, housing, travel, or other expenses can defray costs for the entire program. To support as many students as possible for the Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience, we ask businesses to contribute funding and/or student housing, whenever possible. OASE can also receive support from charitable contributions through the Agricultural Research Foundation (ARF). 

Can a host business participate in the OASE program more than once?

Yes, returning businesses are required to contribute a minimum amount of funding in order to participate during a subsequent year. Placement will depend on availability and alignment with a scholar.