As part of its mission to train the next generation of ocean explorers, scientists, engineers, and communicators, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) hosts students in the Explorer-in-Training Program. These interns gain valuable, interdisciplinary experience in ocean exploration while collaborating on OER projects and expeditions. Explorer-in-Training internships enable students to increase their competitiveness for educational and career opportunities in ocean-related fields.
The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) 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. OER strives to provide resources, develop technological solutions, and innovate applications to address critical problems in undersea exploration. A fundamental part of the OER 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 OER 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 accomplishes its 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 collaboration with scientists and other experts at Exploration Command Centers 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 technology ensures that data from new discoveries are available almost immediately to experts in relevant disciplines for further analysis and research. OER also supports 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 OER to maximize its capacity for exploration and discovery.
Since 2009, CPAESS/UCAR and OER have hosted over 120 Explorers-in-Training. For many, this first experiential opportunity was invaluable in subsequent academic and career pursuits. OER continues to seek opportunities to work with external groups to train the next generation of explorers. OER also hosts graduate and undergraduate students as Explorers-in-Training in collaboration with NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program and "Cooperative Science Centers.
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 OER’s mission and inspire ocean literacy for the next generation. The program features two internship options: (a) 10-week, summertime opportunities and (b) 2 to 4-week expedition-based opportunities. The 10-week internships will give students an experiential opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through long-term projects supported by OER mentors. The 2 to 4-week expedition-based internships will involve providing support for specific OER-supported expeditions, giving students the chance to contribute to mission efforts while gaining tangible skills that benefit their future pursuits. For 2021, 10-week Summer internships are available.
The Explorer-in-Training Program offers multiple internship themes to reflect OER’s diverse expertise, work products, and services. These themes are designed to be interdisciplinary and reflect OER’s main focus areas while providing training in critical ocean exploration mission fields. Available themes for the 2021 year include:
The Explorer-in-Training Program has historically focused on hydrography and seafloor mapping. For 2021, no new applications will be accepted for a Hydrography & Seafloor Mapping internship theme. We will be giving priority to accepted 2020 Explorers-in-Training whose internships got cancelled due to COVID-19. Please check back next year for new opportunities in this theme!
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 OER’s Internship Program Coordinator at email@example.com. Applications must be submitted by February 15, 2021.
For additional information about the Okeanos Explorer and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, please visit: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/ and https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/about/welcome.html.
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. OER 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.