Marine Wildlife Internships

New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) offers marine wildlife internships to upper level high school students, college students and professionals in southeastern Massachusetts. Internships provide educational outreach and research opportunities to those interested in the field of marine science. Hands-on experience with field research techniques and data analysis better prepares young professionals for similar opportunities in their chosen field.

Currently, NECWA internship positions are unpaid and are therefore on a volunteer basis. Interns must have their own transportation to and from work areas and housing is not provided. However, NECWA will offer suggestions and will provide assistance in any way possible.

Download our Internship Program Overview to learn more about our internship program.

HOW TO APPLY: To apply, fill out our online Internship Application form. Then send NECWA a cover letter and your resume by email at or through the mail at NECWA at PO Box 92, North Carver, MA 02355.

To contact us directly about our internship program, send an email to

2018 Update: Positions are now available for our summer 2018 Marine Wildlife Internship program. We are also accepting applications for our fall 2018 and winter 2018/2019 internship positions. Note, a fall internship can begin as early as mid-August.

NECWA is focusing on 3 main projects:

  • New England Basking Shark (NEBShark) and Ocean Sunfish (NEOSunfish) Project
  • Southcoast Terrapin Project
  • Project Marine Wildlife Research
    • Humpback Whale Research and Photo-analysis
    • Finback Whale Research and Photo-analysis

Note: NECWA also has intern and volunteer positions available for more land-based activities like data input, program development, fundraising, graphic design, and computer programming. All of these activities are important and needed to support the work that we do on behalf of marine wildlife. Contact us if you are interested in these types of internships.

For many of these research projects, data are collected each season by project participants, NECWA interns, and participating naturalists, who collect sighting and photographic data in the field. Our interns help manage the databases and assist in the creation of a photo-ID catalog of known individual finback whales, humpback whales, ocean sunfish, and basking sharks that are sighted offshore. This information is managed by NECWA and is used in our conservation and educational outreach activities.

Interns utilize a variety of software programs including Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop and FileMaker Pro, to manage and analyze their data. Analysis techniques applied to this data include photo-identification analysis and Geographic Information Systems - G.I.S. mapping. Interns are encouraged to present poster and oral presentations of their work at local workshops and conferences in the New England area.

Many of our college interns have presented their research at the Cape Cod Natural History Conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Wellfleet Bay. Presenting at conferences allows interns to gain experience in public speaking and to meet professionals from many fields that live and work in our New England area.

Interns also assist with necropsies which are animal versions of autopsies. Marine wildlife that has died and washed ashore is a sad event, but these carcasses can provide a great deal of information on the species regarding their health status, reproductive status as well as the individual's cause of death.

Necropsies on whales, sharks, ocean sunfish, and other large marine animals is typically conducted on site which is usually the beach where the animal stranded. Necropsies on smaller animals like dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea turtles can be done at indoor facilities at research institutions like Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and at facilities associated with area stranding centers. Information collected from external examinations and necropsies provide important information that scientists and managers can use to better protect and conserve wild populations of marine wildlife that are found in the water’s of the Gulf of Maine.

NECWA is also asking for donations from community businesses and private individuals that are interested in providing long-term support to student interns through a monthly giving program or via a one-time donation.

If you would like to help support NECWA's internship program, please make your tax-deductible donation today.