As a nationally recognized archaeological research center, the OSA regularly works with volunteers and students on a number of archaeological research, fieldwork, laboratory, and education projects. The archaeological collections at the OSA are comprised of artifactual materials from Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, Late Prehistoric, and Historic archaeological time periods, as well as related photographs, written records, and other research material. In addition to the archaeological collections, the OSA maintains comparative and teaching collections including precontact and historic artifact types; lithic resources; fresh water bivalves; botanical specimens; and faunal collections of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. 

Student Internships

Students from across Iowa, including the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, and Cornell College, assist with projects at the OSA that align with course goals in other University departments or fulfill requirements for independent study. Such opportunities are available for academic credit. Internships are open to both undergraduate and graduate-level students, as well as recent graduates, of all majors. The OSA also supports opportunities for undergraduate research in conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Research (formally ICRU) at the University of Iowa and internships through the University of Iowa Museum Studies Certificate Program

Are you eligible for work study?

Let us know when you contact us! 

Two students clean a large piece of mammoth bone with picks

Contact us to help you develop a customized internship to fit your academic and research needs and interests:

OSA Staff member Research/internship interest
John Doershuk ICRU, Cornell College One Course at a Time, archaeological research projects, student fieldwork opportunities
Mary De La Garza Computer programming, database development, app development, drone archaeology, archaeological site records/GIS
Lara Noldner Bioarchaeology, physical anthropology, osteology
Carrie Parris Museum studies
Elizabeth Reetz K-12 education, community outreach, science communication
Teresa Rucker Archives, digital archives, library sciences


In-Office Volunteer Opportunities

A man in a KN95 masks sorts fish bone at a lab table

The OSA is continually soliciting interest for reliable and responsible students and community members seeking volunteer positions at our facilities in Iowa City. Previous archaeology experience is not necessary. Volunteering is a great way to build credentials in research, lab work, or fieldwork, or just to exercise your passion for archaeology and learning. We will help you to track your volunteer hours to help bolster your resume, and can also provide letters of reference. We can develop flexible short-term or long-term volunteer schedules, dependent on the need for volunteers throughout the year. OSA's ability to host and supervise volunteers is contingent on staff capacity and availability

Interested in Volunteering?

Complete our volunteer inquiry form to inform us of your areas of interest and availablity.

Coursework & Certification Programs

Several OSA staff are adjunct faculty with the UI Department of Anthropology and teach occasional classes and freshman seminars on cultural resources management, bioarchaeology, experimental archaeology, and more. 

Archaeology field school opportunities are offered through John Doershuk in partnership with Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, the UI Department of Anthropology, and Cornell College. Summer field schools are typically announced in late winter or early spring to allow time for planning and registration. 

Coursework and field school opportunities are posted on our news page and social media channels.

A student kneels on a tarp and takes notes about artifacts

Fieldwork Opportunities

The OSA does not typically offer volunteer fieldwork opportunities, but projects do occasionally arise with the Iowa Archeological Society or through grant partnerships. We recommend the Iowa Archaeological Certification Program to those interested in being called up for emergency volunteer projects. Follow our social media to learn when other fieldwork opportunities are available.