Science Communication Internships

Science communication interns, correspondents (embeds), and student ambassadors work with the Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) Communication Center to bring scientific and technical information to non-scientists and decision-makers, and to evaluate the success of that process, or elements of it. They will learn interviewing, analysis, reporting, researching, and writing skills, and they will receive real world training in the art and the craft of science writing, photography, videography, design or research in an environment focused on brokering coastal and marine science to stakeholders. When possible, these positions will also be teamed up in cohorts (writer, photographer, researcher), and will receive the same assignments. By way of professional development, this develops in each intern the ability to understand the written word, to visualize the story, and to evaluate both. In addition they will receive structured guidance and coaching (see below).

Interns are paid a stipend or receive course credit, and cover all coastal and marine science research, extension projects, and events funded by VASG.

Correspondents cover research done by a VASG Fellow, or events hosted by one of VASG’s partner institutions, or the program of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC), which is a part of the College of William and Mary. VCPC correspondents have to be enrolled at William and Mary, and they can receive either course credit or payment. Correspondents or embeds at one of the partner-institutions may only receive course credit by prior arrangement with a faculty member. If a student at a partner institution is unable to secure a faculty advisor, and the student would still like to complete the period of internship to gain experience and mentoring they can become an ambassador.

Ambassadors volunteer their time, and are generally ineligible for credit or payment. This position serves requests we receive from students enrolled at one of VASG’s partner institutions, who would like to develop their science communication skills and benefit from the professional development. They receive a set of assignments, and in return for completing them, receive coaching and mentoring in both the science, and the technical skills of the relevant discipline.


The opportunities offered by Virginia Sea Grant are listed below:

Summer Science Writing Internship
  • The intern will report and write about VASG researchers, students, and staff for our website. Interns work from Virginia Sea Grant headquarters at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science over a 10-week period.
  • The intern will learn reporting, interviewing, analysis and writing skills, focusing on marine and coastal science topics.
  • Any student, regardless of citizenship, who is enrolled in an undergraduate program in communication, journalism, science writing, basic science, or other related field at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S., is eligible for the internship.
  • Official Internship Announcement will be released early in the year.
  • Applications will be due February or March.
  • $3,200 stipend
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Virginia Sea Grant Correspondents
  • To apply, send a resume and two short (< 500 word) writing samples to the Virginia Sea Grant Communication Center (igvorster@vims.edu).
  • Correspondents help cover Virginia Sea Grant-sponsored events, research, and staff throughout the academic year.
  • State whether or not you have secured a faculty advisor, or if you would like VASG to assist you in doing so.
  • A VCPC Correspondent has to be a William & Mary student, and he/she can be paid. Course credit and travel reimbursements may be offered.
Virginia Sea Grant Photographers/Videographers/Designers
Thomas Nelson Community College

Photography or videography interns work with our Communications Center to photograph and video VASG events, marine and coastal research and other activities, and process and edit the final product. We offer this internship, along with our design internship, in cooperation with Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). TNCC students who are interested in an internship should contact Professor Cait Layton at the Photography Department.


Christopher Newport University

Students enrolled in a program offered by the Department of Fine Art and Art History at Christopher Newport University (CNU) can receive credit for a design, photography or multimedia internship completed at VASG. Students must please create an account at http://vaseagrant.ecsion.com (copy and paste url into your browser), and upload the application materials listed below as a single PDF document. (Please use a 12-point font) Incomplete applications will not be considered:

  1. Letter of Interest (2-page maximum): This letter should help us learn more about you. We will want to know (1) why you are interested in the internship; (2) your career goals and how this internship will help you to achieve them; (3) education and experience you have had in science, environmental communications, writing, visual communications, design or otherwise; (4) examples of previous projects, whether personal, educational, or professional, that you've worked on and enjoyed; and (5) communication skills you have, AND the skills you would like to develop further.
  2. Resume (2-page maximum): Include email addresses and phone numbers of two references who can attest to your work (one reference can be the letter writer from #5 below).
  3. Sample Work/Portfolio: Provide a link to something you have designed or published that is available online. You can also provide a PDF of something you have produced if you do not yet have anything published. If you are applying for a photography internship please provide a link to a portfolio of 10 photographs. If you are applying for a videography internship please provide a link to a short documentary, interview, film or otherwise that you have produced.
  4. All transcripts: Unofficial transcripts may be submitted.
  5. Letter of recommendation: One letter should be uploaded directly from a faculty member, supervisor, or advisor who can speak to your research ability and experience. You will be able to notify them directly through your http://vaseagrant.ecsion.com account.

CNU students can earn one to three credit hours per semester session. The department of Fine Art and Art History generally suggests a minimum of 12 hours of work/contact per credit hour earned. They then create a syllabus that outlines the work or project you will be doing, and arrange the credits. VASG will document your hours and activities on assignments each week of work at the internship. You should include images of the process or creations during the internship, none of which is public.

Please contact Professor Alan Skees or Professor Kristin Skees at CNU Department of Fine Art and Art History to discuss this further. They will keep contact with you and VASG for the duration of your internship, occasionally emailing for status updates or any concerns. At the end of the internship, you will be required to summarize and reflect on your experience in a blog, and the credits earned will be added to your degree evaluation if all has gone successfully.

Research Internships
Research interns survey specific questions, or evaluate specific parts of the Virginia Sea Grant communications program under the advisement of the program manager, and a faculty member at the student’s college or university. These are generally awarded ad hoc to graduate students as the need arises. Applicants must have the support of a faculty member. Please contact Ian Vorster if you are interested in applying: igvorster@vims.edu
Ambassadors
Embeds (usually writers, but photographers and videographers are welcome to apply) cover a list of assignments provided to them. These assignments usually cover the research projects done by VASG fellows at partner institutions, but they might also include events, or field trips. In return for the work done, they receive real world training no different to any of the other internships, and they are able to list an internship on their resumes.

End Users

Educators

Proposal Reviewers

Principal Investigators

Advisors

Students