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Student Interns Come On Board

  photo of student interns

Bright new faces have appeared in the offices and laboratories of the AFSC facilities in Seattle and on board research vessels in the North Pacific as the Center offers its summer internship program for the 10th year in a row. The AFSC internship program provides 10-week employment opportunities for students interested in careers in marine science. Many of the interns have had little to no previous marine science experience but have a great interest in learning more about the subject. The interns receive exposure to "real life" in the workplace, including guidance on what it takes to be a professional scientist and, for some, a once in a lifetime experience in the field. The internship program benefits the AFSC internship mentors also, as mentors gain assistance with their research and the satisfaction of providing educational and professional guidance to those who seek it.

Internship opportunities at the Center in 2005 included field work in Alaska conducting aerial and ship surveys of harbor seals; studying California sea lions on San Miguel Island, California; studying the life history of rainbow trout at the Little Port Walter Field Station on Baranof Island in Alaska; and studying the systematics of marine fish and invertebrates in laboratories at the AFSC in Seattle and aboard ship on bottom trawl surveys. Although most internships had a field component, some consisted of analyzing data at the AFSC Seattle facilities.

The application process for an AFSC internship requires students to write an essay on their interest in marine science and to describe their career goals and need for a paid internship. An option to volunteer for nonpaid positions was added in 2004 to provide an opportunity for those qualified students not needing funding, foreign students, or those that can bring their own funding (e.g. from their home institution). Competition for the AFSC internships has become more competitive in the last few years as the number of applicants has increased. Passive recruiting efforts have attracted students from all over the United States as well as abroad. The summer 2005 internships have drawn energetic and enthusiastic students from academic institutions such as Cornell University and Connecticut College on the East Coast to Harvey Mudd College and University of Hawaii on the West, and internationally from Pakistan.

With 49 applicants, this year was a record year in the number of applicants and in the number of paid and unpaid internships at the AFSC. Many thanks go to the generous funding from the AFSC Office of the Center Director, the University of Washington (UW) School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences and other funding sources, as well as the dedicated work of the AFSC Outreach Committee.

Additional information about the AFSC Intern-ship Program is available on the AFSC website at or from

By Rebecca Reuter and Susan Calderón

photo of Jennifer Ferdinand and Rebecca Reuter  

Ferdinand and Reuter Receive NOAA Diversity Award

Jennifer Ferdinand and Rebecca Reuter of the Center’s REFM Division and Gary Shigenaka (National Ocean Service) were awarded the NOAA Diversity Spectrum Achievement Award for their efforts in the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI).

Jennifer and Rebecca, both members of the AFSC Outreach Committee, played key roles in introducing members of racial or ethnic groups currently under-represented in science and engineering to academic and professional careers in marine science through their collaboration with the Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Program (MIMSUP) at Western Washington University. The MIMSUP provides undergraduate students from various colleges and universities with classroom and research training in marine science.

As the capstone experience of MIMSUP, both Jennifer and Rebecca assumed lead roles in coordinating the annual "NOAA day" for MIMSUP students to visit the AFSC facilities. The students’ visits gave them the opportunity to interact one-on-one with AFSC scientists, present their research projects to an audience of AFSC staff and receive constructive feedback, learn first hand from AFSC scientists about the nature of their work and research at the Center, as well as obtain practical advice on career paths in marine science. This effort has led to some MIMSUP students pursuing summer internship opportunities at the AFSC.

The award was given to the team for their commitment to changing the prevailing trends for students considering marine science as a career choice and underscores the participation by NOAA scientists as the key to making this goal a reality.

By Rebecca Reuter


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