2024 RESEARCH INTERNSHIP
Center for Whale Research
2024 RESEARCH INTERNSHIP
The Center for Whale Research (CWR) is seeking applications for two research interns for the summer of 2024. This is a three-month position, working with the CWR research and education staff on San Juan Island, Washington, to conduct on-the-water field work, catalog and analyze data, and communicate scientific information to the public. The successful applicants will be provided with housing, training by CWR research and education staff, and a $1,000/month subsistence stipend.
About the Center for Whale Research
The Center for Whale Research is an internationally recognized non-profit research institution based in Friday Harbor, Washington, USA. For the last four decades, the CWR has conducted rigorous, non-invasive demographic and behavioral research on killer whales in the Pacific Northwest, with particular emphasis on the endangered southern resident killer whales. As part of our primary research project, Orca Survey, the CWR completes an individual-level photo-ID census of the SRKW every year. Additionally, the CWR conducts behavioral studies of killer whales using unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) to understand their foraging, movement, and social structure. More information about the CWR, including our mission, goals, current research, and past publications, is available on our website (whaleresearch.com).
Role and Responsibilities
This internship aims to provide training and experience to students and early career researchers who hope to pursue a career in marine mammal research and conservation. Interns will participate in the CWR’s Orca Survey and Aerial Observation research programs, both on the water and in the office. The successful applicant will gain training and experience in:
Small boat operations and safety
Cetacean photography for individual identification and health assessment
Killer whale behavioral observation and sampling
Unoccupied aerial system (UAS) operations for behavioral observation
Data cataloging and management, including photographs, videos, and behavior notes
Identification of individual resident and Bigg’s killer whales
Communicating science to the general public
This work will involve early mornings, long days on the water in a small, open boat, and long hours of computer work cataloging and analyzing video and photographs.
Interns will spend one day per week in the CWR’s Orca Survey Outreach Center in Friday Harbor, communicating research and delivering short presentations to the public. Interns will receive science communication training from the CWR’s education and outreach staff. For more information about the internship, please read the Q&A with our 2023 interns posted here.
The internship will begin on June 15, 2024, and end on September 15, 2024.
Applicants must either hold or be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (i.e. life and environmental sciences). All applicants must be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license, and be able to live and study in the USA.
Required Skills and Experience
Experience being part of a collaborative research team in field or laboratory settings
Able to live in a communal setting
Good teamwork and communication skills
Highly motivated and eager to learn
Computer literate, particularly with Microsoft Office and file management systems
Comfortable communicating information to the general public, both one-on-one and in presentations
Physically able to lift equipment up to 70 lbs and spend long days on a moving vessel with significant wind and sun exposure
Comfortable with a flexible work schedule - will likely include early mornings and late evenings on the boat for fieldwork
To apply for this internship, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/ZExqoBxqqAaYBPB38
In addition to answering some basic questions, you will be asked to upload a cover letter, CV, and contact information for two references. In your cover letter, please clearly outline why you would like to undertake this internship, what you hope to accomplish in your career more generally, and any challenges or barriers you’ve faced in your career and education. Applicants from backgrounds underrepresented in marine and life sciences are highly encouraged to apply.
Applications close on February 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM, Pacific. Applicants will be notified whether they have been short-listed in early March. Short-listed candidates will then be invited to a brief online interview with the CWR research team, with interviews held in March. Short-listed candidates will be informed whether they were selected in early April.