Bartels Science Illustration Program

Sign Up for eNews

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers two paid illustration positions to early-career artists through the Bartels Science Illustration program each year. The first appointment occurs from July through mid-January, and the second occurs from January through mid-June. Each participant works on a project illustrating birds, wildlife, and/or plants related to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s print publications, outreach materials, and web sites.

Participants work on projects related to the Lab's mission, and these projects often result in publication of the participant’s work. The goal of the program is to offer participants the opportunity to gain experience and refine skills by engaging in a stimulating production environment, and to allow the participants to immerse themselves in the Cornell Lab’s conservation culture as it relates to art and illustration in the context of ornithology. Participants will have access to the many resources at the Cornell Lab and Cornell University, including entry to the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates to study prepared specimens; daily contact with world-renowned scientists and researchers; access to the University’s extensive Library system; and the opportunity to study original art by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, George M. Sutton, Andrew Goldsworthy, Charley Harper, Maya Lin, Jane Kim, James Prosek, and others.

Qualifications: Qualified applicants must meet the minimum qualifications listed below in addition to a portfolio of their work. Preference will be given to applicants whose portfolios include ornithological work and who accurately illustrate birds, even if the artist’s style is graphic or abstract. .

--Individuals with at least two years college education or new artists just starting their career
--At least 20 years old
--Experience and exceptional talent in illustrating, painting, or drawing birds and wildlife
--A focus on developing skills in ornithological art
--Fluency in English

Work Schedule: Each appointment lasts up to six months and is conducted at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The participant is required to be available during these times, although there is some flexibility in work schedule. Additional time on weekends may also be required to participate in events or workshops as relevant to the internship. An hourly rate of $16/hr is paid to each illustrator, and may be subject to Federal and/or State income taxes. No relocation assistance is provided and visa sponsorship is not available or accepted.

Application: Please email the following items to Diane L.Tessaglia‐Hymes, at, or send them to her addressed to: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.

(1) Letter of interest stating why this program is of particular interest to you and what you hope to gain from it. If you have a project of special interest to you, describe it in your letter; however, this is not required. Describe any particular interests or skills you have related to this program.
(2) Your resume
(3) Two letters of recommendation from faculty members or colleagues familiar with your work. These may be included with your application or sent directly to Diane via email or postal mail.
(4) Five or six samples of your work that you feel best reflect your skills in scientific illustration. Please include works that depict birds. Electronic submissions are preferred, and we discourage submitting originals or hard copies greater than 11 x 14 inches.

Application deadline: Applications must be received by 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time on the first Monday in April.  Unless prior arrangements are made, applications received after this date will not be considered for the current year but will be kept on file.

Questions: Contact Cornell Lab design director Diane Tessaglia-Hymes by email (preferred) or by phone at (607) 254-2417.

Back to main page


A self-paced online tutorial. Learn to ID birds by size and shape
Birds of North America Online, ultimate source for bird info, join for $5/month
Shop for our Causes, your purchase supports our mission
Get delicious, Bird Friendly certified coffee from Birds and Beans.