PSM - Internship
A 6 month internship experience provides students with an opportunity to gain workplace experience in marine biology in either an academic setting, or within the private or public sector. This transition from classroom to workplace allows students to put the experience gained in the year of coursework to use while working with academic research scientists, state and federal agencies, or private consulting firms.
Although our students have had success in obtaining paid internships, we do not guarantee that all internships will result in paid positions. While the majority of internships will be located in New England, students have pursued internships as far afield as Australia and Taiwan.
The internship occurs after the Spring semester of the at Friday Harbor Labs, and typically runs through the Summer semester and Fall Semester of the second year. The Three Seas Program director provides the necessary supervision for this internship program, and assists students in locating internship opportunities.
During their internship, students will be enrolled in an Internship Reflection Seminar. This seminar is designed to complement learning during and after the internship placement. Students will participate in activities to integrate academic learning and experiential learning including written reflections and monthly reports.
The internship is used to move students closer to their eventual career goal. Therefore, if students are satisfied with their internship experience, then the internship was a success. Beside that general goal, there are not may set rules, as we allow the student and internship advisor negotiate directly to determine the parameters of the internship. However here are some guidelines and factors to consider:
- Time frame: The internship can be any length in time. Students are available as soon as the Friday Harbor session ends, and some students are now permanently employed, 8 years later, exactly where they completed their internship. However, June 1st is a typical start date, and students complete their degree requirements in early December. Shorter internship opportunities are permitted, and past students have elected to do multiple internship opportunities during this 6-month period.
- Hours: Weekly work hours can vary tremendously among internships and even within a given internship (e.g. field time vs. lab or writing time). However students should approach this period as a short intense period where weekly hours well in excess of a 40 hrs may occur, as they are receiving valuable career training. If the internship is unpaid and financial limitations exist for the student (see #3), the advisor will need to consider that a student working 20 hrs per week in their lab (similar to research fellowship requirements at Northeastern University) will also be working 20+ hours per week to meet expenses for room and board.
- Pay: Internships can be paid or unpaid. Students realize the paid internships available to them may not be in the research area most applicable to their career goals, so we also encourage them to pursue unpaid internships, with both the student and advisor understanding that if financial concerns exist, the student may need to split time between their internship and a paid job (e.g. service related) to make ends meet. We leave this subject to negotiation between the student and their potential advisor.