New summer internship program exposes students from underrepresented populations to the world of higher education and marine science careers
UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) and New Bedford High School have formed a partnership to offer a summer internship program. The four-week paid internship in marine sciences for New Bedford High School students creates the opportunity for students from underrepresented groups to gain exposure to the world of higher education and careers in the marine sciences.
With funding from the Woods Hole Sea Grant Program Development Funds to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Marine Sciences as well as a donation from the Jacobs Family Donor Advised Fund of the SouthCoast Community Foundation, the partnership enables students to spend 40 hours per week as interns in the marine science laboratories with graduate student mentors and faculty advisors. The goal is to diversify ethnicity in the fields of marine science throughout the South Coast of Massachusetts and beyond.
The program is also positioned to benefit SMAST in a much larger initiative. “SMAST is uniquely suited to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in marine science by engaging young students from marginalized groups to pursue higher education and careers in the field, while also demonstrating the benefits of diversity to the SMAST community,” said Steve Cadrin, professor of Fisheries Oceanography at SMAST. “Our objectives are to provide research experiences that will connect students from under-represented demographic groups with opportunities to learn and conduct scientific research methods,” Cadrin said. “Collaborations with university students will offer insights into higher education in marine science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
At the start of the program, interns attend an orientation to marine science, which includes a tour to learn about the research in each lab. The interns then select from various topics to focus their research interests, including the fields of fisheries science, marine fisheries field research, conservation engineering, fisheries research management, quantitative ecosystem-based management, isotope biogeochemistry group, and mathematical modeling. The interns interact through a series of workshops and seminars aimed at training in research methods, data analysis, science communication, and lab safety, alongside other undergraduate interns and students within the SMAST community. Additionally, they participate in weekly field trips and work in selected labs four days a week. Toward the end of the program, the interns will present their research at the symposium.
Successful interns will be recommended for admission to UMass Dartmouth and other universities by faculty advisors. These high school interns may also be invited to SMAST as undergraduate interns or graduate students. “SMAST has extensive experience with summer interns, and many of our interns have chosen to pursue higher education and careers in marine science,” said Cadrin.
The School for Marine Science & Technology is a world-class marine science school, located in the sixth largest city in Massachusetts and the leading economic fishing port in the nation. The SMAST campus is located at the South End of New Bedford, which has a rich cultural maritime history. New Bedford is the nation's #1 fishing port by value and is a hub for the emerging offshore wind energy industry.
The School’s mission also emphasizes interaction with the regional marine-related workforce, including industry and government and non-governmental agencies on coastal and fishery management and technological development. Students, faculty, and staff at the school pursue applied research in a range of marine science fields, including fisheries science and management, oceanography, coastal restoration, computational modeling, ocean observing technology, marine physics, and marine renewable energy.