WhitmanWayfinderSTEMNatural science includes many fields: astronomy, astrophysics, chemistry, geology, geoscience, material science, nanotechnology, optics, and many more. Whitman's liberal arts approach provides students interested in this field with a strong foundation in science and research while simultaneously teaching them the communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Following a summer internship with the Tolman Group Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Nathaniel Larson '19 said:

"I now know about the planning and the uncertainties that go into chemistry that involves molecules that have never been researched and published before. I understand so much more intuitively the structures of compounds, mechanisms of reactions, and what to do in the organic lab setting."

There are many clubs on campus that will allow you to explore your interests, stretch your skills, and make an impact in an area about which you're passionate. Contact the ASWC Club Director at aswc_clubdir@whitman.edu to learn more about current clubs or start your own.

Mycology Club

Mycology Club promotes awareness of the Fungi Kingdom by meeting weekly to organize lectures, watch fungal documentaries, and grow gourmet mushrooms in the shed behind Lyman Hall.

Physics Club

Physics Club (SPS) meets weekly to work on hands-on projects and discuss physics topics in a creative and inclusive manner. From electric truck building to quantum gravity!

Community involvement helps students understand a broad range of issues and is becoming increasingly important in the eyes of many employers. For more ways to connect with local organizations, contact the Student Engagement Center in Reid.

Advanced Studies Enrichment (ASE)

Twice a week Whitman tutors gather in the Hall of Science armed with snacks, textbooks, and knowledge to help Walla Walla AP students with math and science.

Cool the Schools

Students volunteer to teach about climate change to local middle schoolers each spring.

Kooskooskie Commons

Get involved with the natural resources and landscape in Walla Walla by helping to preserve the Kooskooskie commons. Learn through cultural activities, storytelling, experiential education, conversation, celebration, and the arts about the importance of our environment. Volunteers will work on stream riparian, wetland restoration, stream clean up, removing non-native vegetation, planting native plants, GIS monitoring, and other outreach efforts.

Science in the Schools

Students can participate in this partnership between the Whitman science department and local schools in many ways, including volunteering on Family Science Night.

Washington Native Plant Society

Learn to appreciate, enjoy, study, and preserve the environment for native plants. Work outdoors maintaining native plants and weeding for a more sustainable environment. Volunteers must be willing to get dirty and have an appreciation for the beauty of the environment.

Fellowships and grants afford many students the opportunity to continue their learning beyond graduation in high-impact programs. For more information, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Grants in Reid Campus Center.

Amgen Scholars

The Amgen Scholars U.S. Program provides hundreds of undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in a hands-on research experience in science and biotechnology at ten of the nation's leading educational institutions (California Institute of Technology, Columbia University/Barnard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California San-Francisco, or Washington University in St. Louis and National Institutes of Health). The financial support varies by institution.

Goldwater Scholarship
The Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage high motivated students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields. During the scholarship awarding process, the Foundation Board of Trustees will consider the nominee's field of study and career objectives, as well as their potential to thrive and contribute to that field. Each scholarship will cover the eligible expenses for the undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

Hollings Scholarship
The Hollings Scholarship provides awards that include academic assistance, with a maximum of $9,500 per year for full-time study during the 9-month academic year; a 10-week, full-time internship position that pays $700 a week during the summer at a NOAA facility; and academic assistance with up to a maximum of $9,500 for Scholars with "hands-on"/practical education training experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation, conferences where students present a paper or poster, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.

NIH - Oxford-Cambridge Biomedical Scholars Program
The National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program is an accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to a career in biomedical research. The scholar's doctorate, usually completed in four years, is conferred by either Oxford or Cambridge, depending on where research is done; hence, applicants must meet requirements for acceptance into the graduate program of the relevant University. Students conduct research at both locations and potentially other sites, including field work in Africa and elsewhere around the world. The projects culminate in the award of D.Phil or Ph.D. in science from either Oxford or Cambridge. Students may also pursue M.D./Ph.D. training through partnerships the program maintains with a broad range of American medical schools.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program's (GRFP) purpose is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The Fellowship also grants Fellows a $34,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the institution. Fellows will also receive three years of support, international research, professional development opportunities, and XSEDE Supercomputer access.


To learn more about working on campus, visit the Student Employment page. We have general job search resources here. For employers committed to diversity and opportunities for minorities, visit workplacediversity.com, nemnet.com, and blackcollegian.com.

Industry Job Boards & Resources

Internships and on-campus employment are excellent for accumulating work experience, developing your narrative, and broadening your network. Note that the list below is not comprehensive. Check sites such as vault.com and internships.com for more opportunities.

To see what Natural Sciences internships Whitman students have held in the past, check out the Whitman Internship Database and search "Natural Sciences" or "Science, Engineering & Technology".

Studying away from campus is a fantastic way to learn more about the world, as well as an excellent experience upon which you'll draw throughout your academic and professional career. For more information, contact Off-Campus Studies in Memorial.

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM)
Through the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program, students learn mathematics from leading Hungarian scholars in English. Hungary has a long tradition of excellence in mathematics education. The instructors of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics are members of the three institutions in Budapest known for having educated more than half of Hungary's highly acclaimed mathematicians. The school is near the center of historic Budapest, classes are small, living costs are modest, and all courses are taught in English.

CIEE: Seoul Arts and Sciences
The CIEE: Seoul Arts and Science program provides students an environment in which to study at a top-ranked Korean university and experience life in Seoul. While participants enroll in Yonsei University courses, CIEE organizes co-curricular programs designed to provide a deeper understanding of Korea. Program participants take courses in English and Korean through the Underwood International College (UIC), a division of Yonsei University.

University of St. Andrews
Whitman Students may enroll directly at the University of St Andrews in Scotland as visiting students through an agreement with Whitman College. Founded in 1413, St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and is located in a picturesque medieval town overlooking the sea. The University enrolls about 7,000 students, including a significant number of students from the US and other foreign countries. English literature, history, international religions, religion, economics, philosophy, biology, biochemistry, math, and physics are among the many disciplines that students may enroll in. In addition to enrolling in classes alongside with local students, students attending St Andrews may join the many clubs and activities available to regular students.

University of Otago
Whitman students may enroll directly at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, as visiting students, through an agreement with Whitman college. The University has 19,000 students, offers a broad range of courses, and is particularly appealing to students of biology, geology, and environmental studies because of the unusual geologic features of the South Island and the rare flora and fauna of the area. The city of Dunedin is a "university town" of about 120,000 inhabitants and the University is conveniently located near downtown bookstores, shops, and cafes.

Here are some possible post-graduate degrees pursued by people in physical sciences. Contact Gayle Townsend at townsegv@whitman.edu for additional information.

  • MS/Ph.D. in Chemistry
  • MS/Ph.D. in Applied Geospatial Science
  • MS/Ph.D. in Geosciences
  • Ph.D. in Microbiology
  • Master in Public Health
  • Ph.D. Environmental Sciences
  • MS/Ph.D. in Physics

Alumni in the Field

Log in to LinkedIn or Whitman Connect to learn about Whitman alumni with jobs in the natural sciences.