Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Internships

The Virginia Aquarium offers unpaid internship opportunities that provide career exploration for rising college juniors and seniors seeking academic credit with an interest in pursuing careers related to Biology, Marine Biology, Science Education, Aquarium Sciences or related support staff positions. Select positions are available for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students seeking experience, not academic credit.

All interns must perform duties as required, keep a log of hours and activities, meet with cooperating staff member at least once a week, abide by the established dress code and give the minimum number of hours required for class credit.

Interns can expect to receive help from and access to cooperating staff, receive experience to enhance skills and build a resume, receive Aquarium intern benefits, and make lifelong contacts. Application packets must be complete when they are submitted and include the following. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.

Acquisitions & Quarantine Intern

Duties

  • Assist with aquatic husbandry and maintenance at the Virginia Aquarium Marine Animal Care Center. This will include:
  • Marine and freshwater specimen collection (seine net, hook and line, dip net, trawl net, etc.).
  • Disease recognition and treatment of marine and freshwater fish,
  • Water chemistry testing and treatment,
  • Food preparation, feeding aquatic animals, cleaning habitats, system maintenance and repair.
  • Involvement with various marine mammal and sea turtle stranding activities and participation in various field research projects.

Qualifications

  • Current student or recent college graduate with coursework in biology, marine science, fisheries science, or related field.
  • A strong career interest in fisheries management, aquaculture, public aquarium management, or marine science.
  • Previous field and/or laboratory research and small boat handling experience a plus.
  • Must know how to swim and SCUBA certified. Open water level preferred.
  • Must be able to work in extreme environmental conditions for up to 8 hours.
  • Must have the ability to lift 50 pounds.

Application Requirements

  • A complete Acquisition & Quarantine Intern application packet must include the following components. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.
  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.

Animal Care/Fishes - Aquarist Assistant Intern

Intern will complete a project that focuses on a particular aspect of aquarium husbandry and deliver a presentation about their project and experience to Virginia Aquarium staff and volunteers.

The Collection is Temperate Atlantic and tropical saltwater fishes and invertebrates, and tropical and native freshwater fishes and turtles. This includes sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, coral and jellyfish propagation, and culturing.

An ideal candidate will:

  • Have a desire to pursue a career in public zoos and aquariums, aquatic animal health management, fisheries management, or biology
  • Be a rising junior, senior, or college graduate
  • Have a 2.0 grade point average or higher
  • Be able to lift 50 pounds
  • Be comfortable working in environmental extremes; very warm or cold
  • Be able to stand for long periods of time

Duties

  • Interns assist with duties related to aquatic exhibits husbandry and maintenance in the Fishes section.
  • Responsibilities will vary based on the intern’s previous experience and demonstrated proficiency and may include food preparation, system maintenance, specimen collection, and animal feeding.
  • Other duties as assigned by managing staff.

Qualifications

  • Must be a current college student (rising junior or senior status), or graduate (within the past 12 months) with previous college-level coursework in biology, marine science, or related field.
  • Candidates should have a strong career interest in fish and invertebrate husbandry, aquaculture, public aquarium management, marine science, etc.
  • Field and laboratory research experience is a plus.

Application Requirements

  • A complete Aquarist Assistant Intern application packet must include the following components. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.
  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)
  • If you are SCUBA certified, include a copy of your certification

Animal Care/Mammals Intern

Intern will participate in mammal care maintenance, food preparation and educational programs. Interns also will be trained on facilitating interaction programs that are offered throughout the year. Intern will be expected to complete a designated project and/or presentation at the end of their service.

From this experience students will have an extensive shadowing experience in the marine mammal care field, build public speaking skills through educational programs and fee-based public programs, and expand marine mammal behavioral training knowledge.

Duties

  • Daily husbandry of marsh exhibits and mammal areas
  • Preparing diets and feeding, cleaning enclosures and maintaining records
  • Assisting full-time staff, performing exhibit repairs, animal observations, entering large aquatic habitats for cleaning and maintenance, and behavioral training.
  • There is possible interaction with members of the general public and the harbor seals during animal interactive programs offered by this section.
  • Speak on microphone for educational programs

Qualifications

  • Should be in excellent physical health and be able to lift 50 pounds.
  • Must have the ability tolerate working in varying environmental conditions that could include direct sun and warm temperatures, confined spaces with delicate exhibit materials, cold temperature for food storage, and wet conditions in and around aquatic habitats.
  • Must be a strong swimmer.
  • SCUBA certification is a plus.
  • Candidates must provide written proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccinations. The rabies vaccination process will allow an intern to safely work with our mammal collection protecting both the student and our animals. The approximate cost of re-exposure vaccinations vary but will cost up to $300 per shot. Currently, this process involves a series of 3 shots given over a period of 21 days. It is possible to make these arrangements though a family doctor or local health department.

Application Requirements

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)
  • Written proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccinations
  • If you are SCUBA certified, include a copy of your certification

Dive Program Intern

If you have a desire to pursue a career in fisheries management, animal health management, biology, professional/commercial SCUBA industry technician or manager, or a professional aquarist this internship is a great opportunity.

In addition to a daily journal intern is required to complete an assigned project and presentation that provides experience in public aquarium dive operations management.

Duties

  • Assist with daily dive programs.
  • Assist with the maintenance of Aquarium SCUBA equipment and dive duties.
  • Serve as tender for volunteer divers during programs.
  • Participate in daily dive programs.

Qualifications

  • College student or recent graduate (within the past 12 months) with previous college level course work in biology, marine science, informal science education or related field.
  • Course completion to at least third year or junior undergraduate status in an accredited college or university.
  • Ability to work in environmental extremes (very warm or cold).
  • Ability to lift up to 75 pounds and stand for long periods of time.
  • Candidate should have a strong career interest in SCUBA diving technology, SCUBA diving industry management, fish-invertebrate husbandry, marine science, public aquarium management, etc.
  • Field and laboratory research experience a plus.
  • Must have Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification.
  • Must be CPR, First Aid and AED certified.
  • A dive physical is required prior to any water exercise or trial.
  • A certification card and copies of all dive logs must be submitted before the intern will be accepted into the program.
  • Must own your own scuba mask, fins and bathing suit

Diving skills and proficiency will be assessed prior to incorporation into actual SCUBA diving duties. Inadequate skill level or proficiency will exclude intern from actual SCUBA diving duties but not preclude intern from completing dive internship.

Application Requirements

  • A complete Aquarist Assistant Intern application packet must include the following components. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.
  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)
  • Copy of dive certification card and all dive logs

Nature Play Place Intern

Intern will gain an exciting array of new skills and experiences in outdoor education.

Duties

 

  • Assist education staff in a team environment to develop and present informal outdoor education programs and activities in the Nature Play Place outdoor education area.
  • Supervise and mentor young volunteers ages 11-17.
  • Provide guests and volunteers with unique outdoor experiences that cultivate an appreciation for the natural world.

Qualifications

  • Must be a college student studying biology, education, or another related field.
  • Must have the ability to maintain a high energy level in hot, humid, wet, and muddy conditions
  • Must have good communication skills and be comfortable with public speaking.
  • Must enjoy working with children.
  • Team player with the ability to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • CPR/First Aid certification preferred but not required.

Application Requirements

 

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be from an academic instructor
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)

Sea Camp Intern

Intern aid Sea Camp instructors with providing a safe, educational and memorable experience to all campers attending summer camps at the Aquarium.

Duties 

  • Assist with leading and facilitating sea camps.
  • Help with camp preparations.
  • Oversee camp equipment.
  • Assist with clerical tasks.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Prefer candidate majoring in biology/science or education.
  • Must have completed at least one year of college or a recent graduate (within the past 12 months).
  • Must have the ability to recognize and share teachable moments with campers.
  • Must be able to work actively outdoors.
  • Experience working with children is a plus.

Application Requirements 

 

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)

School Programs Intern

Intern will be introduced to a variety of educational programs to help build marine science knowledge, public speaking and presentation skills, and confidence teaching all ages in an informal setting.

Intern will be expected to work with education staff to develop presentation skills and deliver components of the program to school-aged children. Depending on intern’s objectives, he or she may work to develop a special presentation or project.

Duties 

  • Work with education specialists to complete administrative tasks and special projects related to school programming.
  • Assist staff with live animal presentations and hands-on programming at the Aquarium and offsite at schools, libraries, camps, and festivals.

Qualifications

  • An interest in marine biology or education
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Comfortable interacting with children and adults
  • Public speaking and customer service experience preferred

Learning Objectives

  • Review program outlines and animal information to build knowledge.
  • Shadow education staff during programs to build knowledge and presentation skills.
  • Co-instruct with education staff to practice skills and improve the ability to communicate effectively with all ages.

Application Requirements

 

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)

Sensible Seafood Research Assistant

Intern research and collect data related to unsustainable behaviors and help create and implement campaigns designed to encourage sustainable behaviors using community-based social marketing strategies.


Duties could include one or more of the following based on when an intern joins the current project or campaign:

  • Perform literature searches related to the region and specific sustainable behaviors.
  • Collect and log observable data related to specific sustainable behaviors.
  • Create and facilitate intercept surveys.
  • Collate and interpret data using statistical analysis.
  • Assist with creating and facilitating specific sustainable behavior campaigns.
  • Assist with evaluating campaigns.

The intern will complete a final report (white paper) on their project findings. A presentation to Aquarium staff and volunteers during a Lunch & Learn is encouraged but not required.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the process and associated steps of community-based social marketing that lead to successful behavioral changes
  •  Learn how behavioral changes are targeted and studied based on research and observable data
  • ?Learn how to analyze and apply data and results to implement successful behavioral change campaigns in the community

Application Requirements

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)

Stranding Response Intern

Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program (VAQS) interns promote the conservation of marine animal species through research, rescue, rehabilitation, and education. Interns are current undergraduate/graduate students or recent graduates, within 12 months, seeking academic credit and/or experience.

The intern will develop and complete an independent, staff assigned project and 15-minute presentation for the stranding staff and volunteers. Intern must be comfortable around dead/decomposing animals

Duties

  • Respond to live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles in the field. Work may be conducted under adverse weather conditions such as extreme heat and humidity or rain/wind.
  • Assist with data and sample collection.
  • Participate in post-mortem examinations, data collection and disposal.
  • Assist in the care of animals in rehabilitation including, but not limited to food preparation, feeding, cleaning (mopping the floor, washing dirty laundry, vacuuming tanks, washing dishes, etc.), tank repairs, and other husbandry duties.
  • Assist in coordinating the release of rehabilitated and disentangled animals.
  • Assist with public outreach and education events.
  • Assist with volunteer and cooperator training.
  • Assist staff with daily administrative tasks including answering phones, taking messages, preparing volunteers for a response, office organization and data entry.
  • Other duties as assigned by Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response staff.

Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Comfortable driving full-sized pick-up trucks and a large van.
  • Must be in good physical condition and able to lift over 25 pounds.
  • Ability to work in adverse conditions.
  • Applicants should work well independently and as part of a team.
  • Must be self-motivated, articulate, mature, reliable, responsible and able to take, as well as give direction.
  • Background in biology and familiarity with stranding response is preferred but not required.

Learning Objectives

An internship with VAQS program serves as an introduction to the world of stranding response. This internship provides candidates with hands-on experience helpful in directing future academic and professional decisions.

Application Requirements

  • A cover letter which includes how the internship experience will assist with career or academic goals.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.
  • Resume
  • College Transcript(s)

Interested in Applying?

See Dr. Richard Snider (03 Natural Science Building) to apply.