Student internships to support Oso mudslide recovery

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Devon-Seymour-and-Grayson-Parr-220PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will offer student internships to help communities along State Route 530 recover from the mudslide that occurred near Oso, Wash., on March 22.

The 92 students whose families live in the affected area will be given first priority for a dozen internships to help with economic, environmental and community recovery. Interns will gain practical experience, earn college credit and make an hourly wage.

“As overall efforts move away from emergency response toward long-term recovery, WSU wants to engage students to help these communities heal,” said Mike Gaffney, director of the WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS) that is coordinating the university-wide part-time or full-time internships. “The physical, emotional and economic impacts in the Oso area are substantial and will require months – if not years – of concentrated effort before the affected communities will recover.”

The 10-week summer internships will be offered to WSU students whose majors relate to the skills that are needed by the communities of Darrington, Oso and Arlington; that includes natural resources, environmental restoration, communications, economic development, urban and community planning, public policy, public health and safety, education, marketing and health sciences.

Devon Seymour and Grayson Parr are undergraduate interns working with the WSU 530 Slide Recovery Team on the Pullman campus. (Photo by Mike Gaffney, WSU)

Students interested in the internships may contact Gaffney at or Devon Seymour at

In addition to the WSU president’s office, units that have committed to supporting the internships include the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, the College of Nursing and the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Commitments from other colleges and entities are anticipated.

Gaffney and Curt Moulton, director of WSU Snohomish County Extension, are leading the WSU 530 Slide Recovery Team. The internships are part of a broader coordinated effort to bring WSU resources and expertise to bear on long-term recovery efforts in the affected region.


Michael J. Gaffney, WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services, 509-335-3329,