As part of its mission to train the next generation of ocean explorers, scientists, engineers, and communicators, NOAA Ocean Exploration hosts students in the Explorer-in-Training Program. These interns gain valuable, interdisciplinary experience in ocean exploration while collaborating on office projects and expeditions. Explorer-in-Training internships enable students to increase their competitiveness for educational and career opportunities in ocean-related fields.
The 2022 Explorer-in-Training application is now open! Applications are due February 5 (2-4 week expedition-based opportunities) or February 15 (10-week internship program). Learn more about eligibility requirements and application instructions.
NOAA Ocean Exploration provides the nation with unparalleled capacity to discover and investigate new oceanic regions and phenomena, conduct the basic research required to document discoveries, and seamlessly disseminate data and information-rich products to a multitude of users. We strive to provide resources, develop technological solutions, and innovate applications to address critical problems in undersea exploration. A fundamental part of our mission is the engagement of the marine science community and the general public and the training of the next generation of explorers.
The 2000 President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration Report, “Discovering Earth’s Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration,” calls for a national ocean exploration program to “train the next generation of ocean explorers." One of the many ways that NOAA Ocean Exploration addresses this goal is through a partnership with the Cooperative Program for the Advancement of Earth System Science (CPAESS), a community program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), to coordinate opportunities for students to gain valuable experience in ocean exploration.
One of the ways that we accomplish our goals is through exploration on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer—the nation’s only federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration. The ship is equipped with advanced tools that support systematic exploration of unknown ocean regions. High-resolution sonars, deepwater remotely operated vehicles, and telepresence technology are used to collect baseline information in unexplored areas. Real-time virtual collaboration with scientists and other experts around the world enables rapid dissemination of information-rich products to the scientific community, allowing them to directly participate in expeditions, even from shore. Telepresence ensures that data from new discoveries are available almost immediately to experts in relevant disciplines for further analysis and research. We also support deep-ocean exploration expeditions through a competitive grants program and by partnering with a wide range of organizations. This combination of onshore and offshore efforts allows us to maximize our capacity for exploration and discovery.
Since 2009, CPAESS/UCAR and NOAA Ocean Exploration have hosted over 135 explorers-in-training. For many, this first experiential opportunity was invaluable in subsequent academic and career pursuits. We continue to seek opportunities to work with external groups to train the next generation of explorers.
The Explorer-in-Training Program equips students with skills to meet the current and future demands of the ocean exploration workforce, providing meaningful experiential learning opportunities that support NOAA Ocean Exploration’s mission and inspire ocean literacy for the next generation. The program features two internship options: (a) 2 to 4-week expedition-based opportunities (Hydrography & Seafloor Mapping) and (b) 10-week summertime opportunities (Exploration Education, Media, & Science Communication). The 10-week internships give students an experiential opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through long-term projects supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration mentors. The 2 to 4-week expedition-based internships involve providing support for specific NOAA Ocean Exploration-supported expeditions, giving students the chance to contribute to mission efforts while gaining tangible skills that benefit their future pursuits. For 2022, both 10-week summer internships and 2 to 4-week expedition-based opportunities are available for application.
The Explorer-in-Training Program offers multiple internship themes to reflect NOAA Ocean Exploration’s diverse expertise, work products, and services. These themes are designed to be interdisciplinary and reflect the office’s main focus areas while providing training in critical ocean exploration mission fields. Available 2022 Program themes include:
The 2022 Explorer-in-Training application is now open! Please see below for eligibility requirements and application instructions.
This year, the Explorer-in-Training Program will feature two internship options: (a) 2 to 4-week expedition-based opportunities (Hydrography & Seafloor Mapping) and (b) 10-week summertime opportunities (Exploration Education, Media, & Science Communication). The 10-week internships give students an experiential opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through long-term projects supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration mentors. The 2 to 4-week expedition-based internships involve providing support for specific NOAA Ocean Exploration-supported expeditions, giving students the chance to contribute to mission efforts while gaining tangible skills that benefit their future pursuits. Applicants may apply for both internship options via a single application form.
Please ask your references for permission to include their information before final submission of your application. Your references will be contacted by email and asked to schedule a short phone call with a NOAA Ocean Exploration team member. If your reference is unable to schedule a phone call, they will be able to complete a form with a few short questions.
Please compile short answer question responses and resume/CV into a single PDF and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, need guidance, or experience technical difficulties, please contact NOAA Ocean Exploration’s internship program coordinator at email@example.com.
The Explorer-in-Training Program strives to foster an inclusive environment for all, viewing our unique differences not as a barrier, but as a necessity for progress toward our shared goals of exploration and discovery. NOAA Ocean Exploration seeks to involve students from groups that are historically underrepresented in ocean exploration, including Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, female, first-generation college students, veterans, and students with disabilities. The Explorer-in-Training Program welcomes students of all sexual and gender identities, students who have experienced educational or economic disadvantages, and/or have circumstances that may complicate their professional development progress. To ensure sustainability of this commitment, we accept and value feedback from our interns and apply it to ongoing efforts to make Explorer-in-Training a model of excellence for diversity, equity, and inclusion.