15 Marine Biology Internships for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young marine biologist getting showing a specimen.

15 Marine Biology Internships for High School Students

Marine biology, the study of organisms inhabiting oceans and other saltwater environments, captivates the imagination of many high school students intrigued by the mysteries of the sea. From coral reefs teeming with vibrant life to deep-sea trenches, the field offers a fascinating look into the ecosystems that shape our planet. For aspiring marine biologists, securing marine biology internships presents invaluable opportunities to delve deeper into their passion and gain firsthand experience in scientific research and conservation efforts.

Participating in marine biology internships not only allows high school students to explore their interests but also equips them with essential skills and knowledge to thrive in college and beyond. These internships provide hands-on experience in conducting experiments, collecting data, and analyzing findings, mirroring the rigorous demands of undergraduate and graduate studies.

Additionally, interns have the chance to work alongside seasoned professionals, gaining mentorship and guidance that can shape their academic and career paths. In this blog, we will explore 15 marine biology internships that high school students can join to prepare for their chosen path.

15 Marine Biology Internships for High School Students

1. Summer Teen Internship Program at New England Aquarium

  • Location: New England Aquarium
  • Cost: free (stipend is provided)
  • Internship Period: Summer (7 weeks)
  • Application Deadline: unspecified
  • Eligibility: Available to high school students living in the Boston and Cambridge vicinity.

The New England Aquarium provides an enriching opportunity through its Summer Teen Internship Program, inviting young individuals to delve into the world of marine conservation and gain hands-on experience within an aquarium setting.

Multiracial university students

Presently, the program offers openings for two positions tailored to high school students: the Visitor Services Assistant and the Conservation Learning Aquarium Guide. Each role presents unique responsibilities, but both offer invaluable chances to engage with marine life, address ocean conservation challenges, and foster positive interactions with diverse audiences visiting the aquarium.

Upon completion of the internship, participants can anticipate the following outcomes:

  • Acquire comprehensive training encompassing marine science, climate science, public speaking, and customer service skills.
  • Develop vital competencies such as time management and accountability.
  • Engage in mandatory weekly sessions dedicated to professional development and ocean advocacy.
  • Access optional behind-the-scenes workshops and regular social gatherings for further enrichment and networking opportunities.

2. Learning Internship Alliance at Long Island Aquarium 

  • Location: Long Island Aquarium
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: Fall, Spring, Summer=
  • Application Deadline:
    • Summer Semester – May 15th
    • Fall Semester – August 15th
    • Spring Semester – December 15th
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

The Learning Internship Alliance (LIA) provides internship opportunities lasting 120 hours within the Aquarium’s education department. Interns collaborate with experienced staff members who serve as mentors throughout the program.

During the internship, participants engage with the public at interactive touch tanks, offering assistance and delivering lectures on habitats during operational hours. Additionally, mentors provide valuable guidance on pathways to pursuing a career in marine science.

This internship offers a multifaceted exploration of marine science through the lens of marine education. Participants have the chance to deepen their understanding of marine biology while honing their public speaking abilities through lecture delivery.

3. BFS Internships at SUNY Oneonta

  • Location: SUNY Oneonta Main Campus, Oneonta, New York
  • Cost: free with allowance
  • Internship Period: 10 weeks (May – August)
  • Application Deadline: April 12, 2024
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

SUNY Oneonta extends invitations to New York State residents for its exclusive 9-week summer research internships. These internships are meticulously curated, offering only 1-3 coveted positions to high school students, with priority given to a resident of Otsego County, NY.

Within the internship, participants actively contribute to faculty and staff research projects at the BFS central lab or pursue their own research endeavors. Throughout the summer duration, interns engage in a dynamic blend of fieldwork, laboratory analyses, data interpretation, and academic writing.

Throughout the summer, participants will engage in a diverse array of activities, including fieldwork such as fisheries surveys, plant surveys, and water sampling. Additionally, interns will conduct laboratory analyses, such as water chemistry assessments, zooplankton identification, and fish dissection. They will also be involved in data analysis, writing reports, and various other tasks. Any samples collected during fieldwork will be processed or prepared for storage upon return to the laboratory.

4. Ladder Internships

  • Location: Remote
  • Cost: $1990
  • Internship Period: 8 weeks (June-August)
  • Application Deadline: February 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

The Ladder Internship program offers a competitive opportunity for high school students to collaborate with startups across various industries. Ladder Startups operate within diverse sectors such as environmental science and sustainability, healthcare and medicine, and technology. A comprehensive list of available options can be explored via their application form.

smart female college student on campus

During the internship, each student undertakes a real-world project, culminating in a presentation of their work upon completion. In addition to direct collaboration with their startup manager, interns benefit from guidance provided by a Ladder Coach throughout the internship. Acting as a secondary mentor and sounding board, the Ladder Coach assists students in navigating the startup environment and maximizing their learning experience.

It’s worth noting that the Ladder Internship follows a coaching+work-based model, distinguishing it from conventional internships on offer. Typically spanning 8 weeks, this virtual internship immerses participants in a unique learning journey.

5. Marine Advanced Technology Education Internships

  • Location: varies depending on the available posts
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: undisclosed (typically during summer)
  • Application Deadline: undisclosed
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

Founded with support from the National Science Foundation, the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is dedicated to leveraging marine technology to stimulate student interest in STEM and address real-world challenges within the maritime sector.

MATE offers a diverse range of internships tailored for high school students, spanning from assisting in turtle conservation efforts to collaborating with the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies. Each internship provides invaluable hands-on experience in marine science careers, offering opportunities to network with experts across various industry domains.

6. SoundWaters Spring Senior Interns

  • Location: Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: May to June
  • Application Deadline: undisclosed
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

The SoundWaters spring internship stands out as a top-tier marine science and education initiative, renowned for its blend of hands-on learning and field research methodologies. This exceptional program offers students a thrilling opportunity to utilize the local environment as a conduit for acquiring both career-specific and life skills.

Interns collaborate closely with SoundWaters team members, delving into topics such as Long Island Sound ecology, student group facilitation, live animal identification, water chemistry, and estuarine ecology. Responsibilities include assisting educators and staff with aquarium maintenance, program preparation, and guiding field study programs. Additionally, interns have the chance to independently lead learning stations, fostering leadership and communication abilities.

7. National History Museum’s Marine Science Teen Internship

  • Location: National History Museum
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: undisclosed
  • Application Deadline: rolling admissions
  • Eligibility: available for high schoolers

Administered by the National History Museum, this internship provides high school juniors and seniors with an enriched immersion in marine science and potential career pathways. Commencing in the spring, participants dedicate their weekends to engaging with museum professionals, delving into discussions on marine research, collections, and program advancement. Transitioning to full-time roles during the summer, interns undertake the development of a marine science-focused project.

By the program’s conclusion, interns will have garnered valuable insights into museum research practices and will be equipped to contribute to museum conservation and interpretation endeavors. Furthermore, through meaningful interactions with museum experts, participants have the opportunity to glean from their wealth of knowledge and apply their expertise to their own project initiatives.

8. Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program

  • Location: varies based on the student’s locality
  • Cost: free with allowance
  • Internship Period: undisclosed (typically June-August)
  • Application Deadline: January 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: available for high schoolers

Sponsored by the American Fisheries Society, the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program offers an 8-week paid summer internship and mentoring initiative. This program is designed to ignite interest in fisheries and aquatic science, particularly among historically underrepresented demographics.

As a Hutton Scholar, you will be paired with a seasoned fisheries professional in your local vicinity who will serve as your mentor throughout the program. Through this mentorship, you will acquire practical experience in fisheries science, conducting both laboratory and field research in marine or freshwater environments.

Marine Biologists working at the beach coast

Engaging as a Hutton Scholar also involves active participation in resource conservation and management projects. In addition to hands-on experience, you will gain insights into various career pathways and receive guidance on potential academic pursuits. Examples of activities you may undertake include electrofishing, specimen examination, data analysis, establishment of aquatic vegetation and fish habitats, and more!

9. Kwiáht Summer Apprenticeships

  • Location: Kwiáht Laboratory in San Juan Islands
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: available whole year round
  • Application Deadline: available whole year round
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers but San Juan Islands locals are prioritized.

Apprentices at their organization encompass students from middle school through graduate level, engaging in relevant research under the mentorship of the org’s associates. This unique opportunity allows apprentices to delve into their academic pursuits in an exceptional natural setting, utilizing state-of-the-art tools and benefiting from ongoing mentorship, with the encouragement to contribute to publications.

It’s a rare privilege for motivated students, starting as early as sixth grade, to access such enriching opportunities within research institutions. As a community-based entity, Kwiáht primarily recruits from local public and private schools in the San Juan Islands, Tribal schools with historical connections to the region, and select university programs in Washington State and British Columbia.

The selection process involves teacher nominations, submission of academic credentials or samples of work, followed by interviews conducted by Kwiáht associates. Upon acceptance, students may secure an apprenticeship aligned with their interests and, when feasible, may also receive a modest scholarship.

10. Dolphin Research Center Internships

  • Location: Grassey Key, FL
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period:
    • Summer Term (May to August)
    • Fall Term (September to December)
    • Winter Term (January to April)
  • Application Deadline: available whole year round
    • Summer Term – February 1
    • Fall Term – June 15
    • Winter Term – October 1
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers

Internships at DRC provide an exciting avenue for developing career skills and offer an opportunity to gain insight into the operations of a marine mammal facility. These internships entail focused work within specific departments, typically spanning 16 to 18 weeks and available year-round.

Interns dedicate forty hours per week to their roles, with four days typically spent within their assigned department and one day allocated to providing support across various areas of daily operations through the Volunteer Resources Pool. Please note that all internships are unpaid, and applicants are not required to be enrolled in college to be eligible.

test tubes with different chemicals

Supplemental projects will be assigned based on DRC’s needs and the intern’s specific skills and areas of interest. These projects may involve assisting their department and collaborating with other teams.

In addition to their daily responsibilities, interns are expected to pursue individual independent study goals tailored to their skills and areas of interest. For those seeking college credit, internship duties can be incorporated into coursework.

11. U.S. EPA Internships

  • Location: varies depending on the available posts
  • Cost: free
  • Internship Period: available whole year round
  • Application Deadline: rolling admissions
  • Eligibility: open to all high schoolers (US citizens only)

The EPA Internship Program offers a unique avenue for high school students keen on contributing to environmental preservation and sustainability through government internships. These internships serve as a practical introduction to the EPA’s crucial endeavors in safeguarding the natural environment and public health. Spanning across multiple EPA offices and laboratories nationwide, these opportunities allow students to gain firsthand experience in environmental science, research, policy, and administration.

Interns at the EPA have the chance to partake in a range of projects, encompassing scientific research, community outreach, and education initiatives. This reflects the agency’s comprehensive approach to environmental protection, catering to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. The program underscores the significance of fostering a knowledgeable and enthusiastic workforce dedicated to addressing environmental challenges.

12. Stanford Earth Young Investigators High School Internship Program

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: To be announced
  • Program Date: Summer of 2024 (exact date is yet to be disclosed)
  • Application Deadline: To be announced
  • Eligibility: Grades 10–12

The Stanford Earth Young Investigators High School Internship Program provides an exciting learning opportunity tailored for high school students with a passion for environmental sciences. Hosted by the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, this program was initially designed as an in-person mentorship but transitioned to a virtual format in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

Central to the program is a focus on research, offering students a unique chance to delve into topics such as climate change, hurricane physics, and ecosystem sustainability. Through a combination of lectures, interactive sessions, and hands-on exercises, all led by Stanford Earth scientists, participants are encouraged to actively engage with the material and the scientific community. The program strives to be both educational and thought-provoking, fostering an environment conducive to exploration and critical thinking.

13. Environmental and Water Studies Summer Program @ Stanford

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Unavailable
  • Program Date: Unavailable
  • Application Deadline: Unavailable
  • Eligibility: Grades 11–12

The program offers a unique opportunity to deepen your knowledge of environmental and water-related topics. Its diverse curriculum covers a broad spectrum, including climate change, ecosystems, water policy, and conservation strategies. This acquired understanding serves as a solid foundation for your future endeavors in the field of environmental studies.

In essence, the Stanford Environmental & Water Studies Summer Program plays a vital role in fostering a more sustainable and resilient future. By empowering students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to address environmental challenges, the program contributes to a world where humans coexist harmoniously with nature, safeguarding the planet for generations to come.

14. Students On Ice Arctic Youth Expedition

  • Location: Arctic, Antarctic and more
  • Cost: $15,000
  • Program Date: undisclosed
  • Application Deadline: January 31, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students that are 14–24 years old

During Students on Ice expeditions, young participants from around the globe embark on educational voyages to the Arctic, Antarctic, and beyond. Supported by a diverse team comprising scientists, elders, artists, musicians, historians, knowledge keepers, and visionary leaders, these youths engage in immersive learning experiences. Through mutual exchange, they develop a deeper appreciation for these vital regions, their rich histories, and multifaceted complexities. This fosters a dedication to climate action, community well-being, and environmental stewardship, resulting in transformative experiences that inspire action and initiatives toward a nature-positive world.

This journey offers a unique opportunity to interact with experts in fields such as environmental science. These connections may open doors to future research projects, internships, or careers in areas like conservation. Picture yourself conversing about discoveries with a prominent climate scientist or collaborating on eco-friendly solutions with a social entrepreneur.

15. Acadia Institute Of Oceanography

  • Location: Seal Harbor, Maine
  • Cost: $1,600 – $3,300
  • Program Date:
    • June 16–21, 2024: Introductory Marine Science Camp Program
    • June 23–July 5 and August 4-16, 2024: Intermediate Marine Science Camp Program
    • July 7–19 and July 21–August 2, 2024: Advanced Marine Science Camp Program
    • November 22–27, 2024: Florida Marine Science Camp Program
    • November 18–26, 2024: Tropical Marine Science Camp Program
  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions
  • Eligibility: Students ages 10–19

AIO offers a variety of options tailored to your schedule and interests. For eager learners, there’s a 1-week beginner session. For those looking to delve deeper, there are two 2-week middle-level sessions. And for true oceanography enthusiasts, there are two 2-week advanced sessions. The best part? You don’t need any prior oceanographic experience to join in the excitement.

Happy students walking together.

More than just a summer program, AIO is a transformative experience that encourages young minds to think critically about our relationship with the ocean. With its blend of high-quality education, hands-on learning, and stunning location, the Acadia Institute of Oceanography has established itself as a premier institution in marine science education.

How to prepare for Marine Biology Internships

Students can take several steps to prepare for marine biology internships:

Academic Preparation: Focus on excelling in relevant science courses such as biology, chemistry, and environmental science. Developing a strong foundation in these subjects will help students understand key concepts and terminology used in marine biology research.

Hands-On Experience: Seek out opportunities to gain hands-on experience, such as volunteering at local aquariums, marine research centers, or conservation organizations. Participating in fieldwork, data collection, and laboratory experiments will enhance students’ practical skills and familiarity with marine science techniques.

Research Skills: Hone research skills by conducting independent projects or participating in science fairs. Learning to design experiments, analyze data, and communicate findings effectively prepares students for the research components of marine biology internships.

Networking: Build connections with professionals in the field by attending workshops, seminars, and networking events. Engaging with marine biologists, researchers, and educators can provide valuable insights into internship opportunities and career paths in marine biology.

Specialized Training: Consider enrolling in specialized courses or workshops focused on marine biology topics such as oceanography, marine ecology, or marine conservation. These additional trainings can deepen students’ understanding of specific areas within the field and make them more competitive internship candidates.

Resume and Cover Letter: Develop a polished resume and cover letter highlighting relevant coursework, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any previous experience related to marine biology or research. Tailoring application materials to showcase enthusiasm for marine science and relevant skills will make a strong impression on internship coordinators.

Interview Preparation: Practice interviewing skills and prepare thoughtful responses to common interview questions. Being able to articulate one’s passion for marine biology, relevant experiences, and career goals will help students stand out during internship interviews.

By actively engaging in academic pursuits, gaining hands-on experience, and networking with professionals, students can effectively prepare themselves for marine biology internships and maximize their chances of success in the field.

How to choose the right internship

Choosing the right internship in marine biology involves several key steps:

Identify Your Interests: Reflect on your specific interests within marine biology. Do you have a passion for marine ecology, conservation, oceanography, or marine mammal research? Understanding your interests will help narrow down internship opportunities that align with your career goals.

  1. Research Opportunities: Conduct thorough research to identify internship programs offered by marine research institutions, aquariums, conservation organizations, universities, and government agencies. Explore their websites, review internship descriptions, and consider factors such as location, duration, and areas of focus.
  2. Consider Your Skills and Experience: Assess your skills, academic background, and previous experience to determine which internships are suitable for your level of expertise. Some programs may be geared towards beginners, while others may require more advanced knowledge or specific prerequisites.
  3. Evaluate Program Structure: Review the structure and components of each internship program. Consider factors such as the duration of the internship, whether it’s full-time or part-time, the availability of mentorship and training, and the types of projects or research opportunities offered.
  4. Look for Networking Opportunities: Consider internship programs that provide networking opportunities with professionals in the field. Internships that offer mentorship, networking events, and interactions with researchers and scientists can help you build valuable connections for future career opportunities.
  5. Review Application Requirements: Carefully review the application requirements and deadlines for each internship program. Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and prepare all necessary materials, such as resumes, cover letters, transcripts, and letters of recommendation, well in advance.
  6. Seek Feedback: Seek guidance from mentors, teachers, or advisors who can provide insights and recommendations based on your interests and career aspirations. They may be able to suggest specific internship programs or provide valuable feedback on your application materials.
  7. Apply Strategically: Apply to a diverse range of internship programs that align with your interests and qualifications. Tailor your application materials to highlight relevant experiences, skills, and motivations for pursuing a career in marine biology.

By following these steps and carefully considering your interests, skills, and goals, you can choose an internship that offers valuable learning experiences and helps you progress in your marine biology career.

Chemist/Engineer holding a test tube inside a lab


Final Thoughts

Participating in marine biology internships is not only valuable for gaining practical experience and developing relevant skills but also essential for shaping future careers in the field. These internships provide students with opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, collaborate with professionals, and contribute to meaningful research and conservation efforts. Additionally, internships offer insights into the diverse career paths available within marine biology, helping students make informed decisions about their academic and professional trajectories.

By immersing themselves in hands-on learning experiences and building connections with industry experts, interns are better prepared to address pressing environmental challenges, contribute to scientific advancements, and make a positive impact on marine ecosystems and communities worldwide. Overall, marine biology internships play a crucial role in preparing the next generation of scientists, researchers, educators, and advocates dedicated to understanding and protecting our oceans.


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