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 research opportunities, field experience, non-profit management, and skills building to those interested in 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. Interns must have their own transportation to the NECWA office based in Middleboro and to our field sites on Cape Cod and in the Southcoast area — Onset, Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Pocasset (see map). Housing is not provided, but NECWA staff will offer suggestions and provide assistance in finding affordable housing.

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

HOW TO APPLY: Fill out our online Internship Application form.

To contact us directly about our internship program, send an email to NECWA Intern Coordinator.

2024 Update: Positions are now available for our Summer, Fall/Winter, and Winter/Spring Marine Wildlife Internship Programs. See application dates below.

NECWA is focusing on 4 main projects:

  • Spring Marine Wildlife Project
    • Monitoring Horseshoe Crabs and River Herring
  • New England Ocean Sunfish Project
    • Rescuing and Studying Ocean Sunfish that Strand on Cape Cod
  • Southcoast Terrapin Project
    • Studying Northern Diamondback Terrapins in Southcoast MA
  • Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue
    • River Herring
    • Horseshoe Crabs
    • Ocean Sunfish
    • Torpedo Rays
    • Gray Triggerfish
    • Basking Sharks

Internships with NECWA are hands-on and comprehensive in nature. NECWA works with interns, both high school and college, to provide the skills needed to succeed in the field of marine science. Whether out in the field collecting research data or in the office inputting and analyzing data, NECWA interns gain the skills needed to advance them on to the next level of their career. NECWA can customize an internship to meet the needs of the student and their school or university. NECWA also provides additional internships in Graphic Design, Marketing, Communications, Education, and Media (see General Internships below).


  • Summer 2024
    • Application deadline: April 22, 2024
    • Start date: May 20, 2024
    • End date: August 19, 2024
  • Fall/Winter 2024
    • Application deadline: August 30, 2024
    • Start date: September 9, 2024
    • End date: December 23, 2024
  • Winter/Spring 2025
    • Application deadline: December 31, 2024
    • Start date: January 6, 2025
    • End Date: May 20, 2025


  • Interns must live in or near to the south eastern area of Massachusetts (see map)
  • Must have reliable transportation to and from the field sites
*If you have missed the application deadline, please contact us for opportunities may still be available:

General Internships

General interns provide an in-depth internship lasting 3 months.

NECWA has the following General Internship positions available:

  • Field Research Assistant
  • GIS and Drone Operator
  • Educational Outreach Coordinator
  • Marine Wildlife Archival Database Assistant (contingent on a remote work set-up & software intern must already have)
  • Social Media/Sci-Comm Support
  • Marketing/Fundraising Support
  • App/Web Development Support
  • Animation (2-D and 3-D)
  • Intern Personnel & Equipment Manager

NECWA research project involve the collection of various types of data, including sighting and photographic data as well as environmental data. Interns help manage these databases and can also assist in the creation of a photo-ID catalog for finback whales, humpback whales, ocean sunfish, basking sharks and diamondback terrapins that are sighted offshore. This information is managed by NECWA and is used in our conservation and educational outreach activities.

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 ocean sunfish, torpedo ray, sharks, and other large marine animals are 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 interns need to be able to traverse beaches and carry up to 25 lbs of equipment. Interns are responsible for the NECWA equipment they will use in the field and for all data (including photos) they collect. Loss of equipment or data is serious and costly!

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.

Internship Program Overview
Map of NECWA research areas in south eastern Massachusetts

Help Support Our Interns

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, you can make a tax-deductible donation on NECWA's Donation Page.

2 NECWA interns pose in the setting sun. Summer 2021.