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Raven Benko feeding winter flounder larvae Hollings scholar Raven Benko of Western Washington University feeding rotifers to winter flounder larvae being reared under different CO2 levels in an ocean acidification experiment at the NEFSC's Howard Laboratory. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Chris Chambers, NEFSC
woman near net getting fish from a commercial fisherman Hollings scholar Regina McCormick of Notre Dame University at a pound net in Sandy Hook Bay acquiring summer flounder from commercial fishermen. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Chris Chambers, NEFSC
woman by tank extracting sample UniLaSalle intern Clémentine Mureau extracting hemolymph from a northern quahog for the project she worked on at the Milford Laboratory in 2016 studying up-regulation of calcifying hemocytes in oysters and clams following shell damage. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Gary Wikfors, NEFSC

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May 25, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Summer Students Experience Science and More at NEFSC’s Sandy Hook, Milford and Orono Labs

Dozens of high school and college students are arriving at NEFSC labs in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Milford, Connecticut and Orono, Maine to begin summer research experiences. They come from many different states, colleges and universities, and will participate in a variety of research projects ranging from coastal ecology and fisheries, habitat restoration and aquaculture to sea-run fish and their ecosystems.

At Sandy Hook, the James J. Howard Laboratory is hosting twelve “associates” from multiple external programs including six students from the NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program and two students from the NOAA College-Supported Internship Program who attend universities and colleges in eight states.

“We also host high school students from our area who often return to our Laboratory as interns or contractors in later years,” said Chris Chambers, one of the coordinators of the Sandy Hook Internship Program (SHIP). “Central to the success of SHIP has been its founding principle of sharing ideas among attendees, learning from others’ experiences, and providing our summer associates a leg-up on developing their path to success in the marine sciences.”

Initiated in 2010, SHIP is designed to broaden the research experiences and professional growth of lab associates (summer interns, contractors, and volunteers) by sharing ideas with NEFSC staff about how science gets done, how it is communicated, and how to develop professional networks.

“Along with the research experience that each associate receives, there are weekly SHIP meetings where associates, mentors, and laboratory staff gather to discuss items critical to a robust foundation for students as they ponder graduate school and a career in the marine sciences,” Chambers said. “A critical part of our work as federal scientists is cultivating an appreciation of science – and the scientific enterprise – in students who are likely to choose marine sciences as a career path.”

The discussion topics are suggested by students and staff, vary from year to year, and have included themes such as résumé construction, making first contact with potential employers and graduate advisers, networking strategies, grant writing, scientific presentations, and elements of publishing scientific research including schemes for determining co-authorship.

At the Milford Laboratory in Milford, Connecticut, educational opportunities are offered throughout the year. An annual laboratory Open House in October is a two-day event, with one day exclusively dedicated to school groups. Three Laboratory scientists serve on the advisory board to the Sound School, a regional vocational aquaculture center in New Haven, and staff have been involved in the Bridgeport Aquaculture School.

College-level students from the US, France, and sometimes other nations also intern at the Milford Laboratory. Graduate students from local and international universities conduct thesis research taking advantage of the facilities, technologies, and scientific expertise found there. One of those programs, with the French engineering school UniLaSalle, has brought a summer student to the Milford Lab for a four to five-month internship for more than a decade. The research experience is part of a five-year program that takes French high school graduates through a combined undergraduate and graduate experience that culminates in a master’s degree.

At the Maine Field Station in Orono, paid internships are offered by the Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team (ASERT), in conjunction with the University of Maine in Orono, through an agreement with the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture and School of Marine Science. These internship opportunities range from 10 to 40 hours per week and are available during both the academic year and summer months. Undergraduates are introduced to careers in fisheries science through active involvement in research projects and mentoring by NOAA scientists in conjunction with the University’s School of Marine Sciences and other natural resource programs.

The internships are open to all undergraduate students for work on the UMaine Campus; at the NEFSC’s Maine Field Station in Orono, at the Woods Hole Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. or other NEFSC locations; or during the summer months at Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) offices in Augusta, Bangor, and Jonesboro, Maine.

Seven interns participating in the program this summer will monitor fish trap and river passage facilities for diadromous fishes, learn to identify fish and proper fish handling techniques, and learn how to prepare Atlantic salmon and river herring scales for aging. They will also process samples, record data and enter it into databases. Five of the interns will be working at Maine DMR, participating in all aspects of DMR’s field sampling programs including electrofishing assessment, fishway inspections and fish monitoring. Two students will be with NEFSC, one at the NEFSC's Woods Hole Laboratory and the second at the Orono Field Station.

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