>Stepping off the bus in Mossel Bay following 34 hours of travel, I was relieved to see my brother, John, and his internship field coordinator waiting to pick me up. I grabbed my backpack and we hopped in the Battle Cat, a unique piece of automobile craftsmanship and arguably the most reliable of the Oceans Research fleet. We headed to the intern abode where I collapsed into the dorm-style bunk bed to catch up on sleep before our early-morning dolphin watch.
>Case Study: Mossel Bay Marine Lab Internship Program
>John began his internship through Oceans Research at the Mossel Bay Marine Lab, and I was joining him to observe the participatory role the program offered in apex predator research. Oceans Research has internship opportunities in both South Africa and Namibia, offering training and experience in marine research and conservation efforts. In Mossel Bay, Project Great White Shark engages interns in population, identification, genetic, behavioral, physiological, ecological and socioeconomic studies of these apex predators.
>Myriad opportunities for students exist for those with diverse diving interests involving the underwater world. Many organizations, such as Oceans Research, include internships offering college students or recent graduates a taste of potential professional positions as they begin to sculpt their futures. Internships range in focus including marketing, marine technology, media, coral reef ecology and more, allowing students to find their niche and develop their goals.
>Take a Giant Stride
>A highly sought after diving internship is the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society's (OWUSS) Rolex Scholarship. Three scholars are selected from three different geographical locations (North America, Australasia and Europe) to spend a year indulging in hands-on underwater and aquatic-related activities of their choosing. Guided by mentors all around the world, this year's scholars learned about cave diving, marine biology and ecology, archaeology, photography, ocean conservation, and even spent a week at DAN Headquarters taking instructor training classes, touring Duke University's hyperbaric chamber and learning about the medical call center and diving research.
>OWUSS also supports additional internships through other agencies such as the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA). REEF offers training for volunteer divers in fish identification and surveys and exposes summer interns to a wide range of environmental nonprofit activities including public outreach, administrative organization and seminar participation. Responsibilities of the MBA Diving Safety internship include supporting the Dive Safety Office by implementing dive program policies, maintaining equipment, in-water diving activities and diver training support, and potentially helping the husbandry staff with collection and care.
>Students with research interests can apply to the Scientific Diving Internship offered through the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) or the Research Internship offered through Divers Alert Network (DAN). AAUS trains the intern to become qualified to participate in underwater field-work and introduce him to scientific diving careers. DAN facilitates a mentor-intern relationship to broaden abilities within the intern's specific interests, which can include epidemiology, dive physiology and hyperbaric medicine.
>A little curiosity and dedication can open up doors to anyone searching for a potential career path. Internships offer a unique window into the working world, providing insight as to how diving can be incorporated into a career, without immediately committing to employment. Ample organizations including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Park Service (NPS), Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE), and many others offer additional internship opportunities.
>Discover your passions, seize any opportunity, and you never know where an internship might take you. My internship experiences have helped guide my professional career path, and I feel fortunate that my time as a DAN intern lead to a full-time position in the DAN Research department.