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 and are therefore on a volunteer basis. 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 and Mattapoisett (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.

2022 Update: Positions are now available for our Summer, Fall/Winter, and Winter/Spring 2022 Marine Wildlife Internship Programs. See application dates below. (Due to Covid 19, we have not yet determined if we can offer office based internships or mini-internships.)

NECWA is focusing on 3 main projects:

  • New England Ocean Sunfish Project
  • Southcoast Terrapin Project
    • Studying the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)
  • Marine Wildlife Research Projects
    • Herring Run
    • Horseshoe crabs
    • Torpedo rays
    • New England Basking Shark Project

Internships with NECWA help provide the skills needed to succeed in an environmental setting. Whether it is out in the field collecting research data or in the office overseeing daily operations in an environmental non-profit organization, you can feel confident that the skills learned will help carry you on to the next level of your career.


  • Winter/Spring 2022
    • Application deadline: October 1, 2021
    • Start date: January 2, 2022
    • End Date: May 15, 2022
  • Summer 2022
    • Application deadline: March 1, 2022
    • Start date: May 9, 2022
    • End date: August 24, 2022
  • Fall/Winter 2022
    • Application deadline: Jul 1
    • Start date: August 1, 2022
    • End date: January 2, 2022


  • $50 deposit upon your acceptance (non-refundable))
  • $50 intern equipment fee due with signed contract
  • Interns are required to reimburse NECWA for lost or broken equipment
  • Must live in or near to the south eastern area of Massachusetts (see map)
  • Must have reliable transportation to and from the field sites

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
  • 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.