MATE Internship Program Information for Employers
The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center has been placing college students in at-sea and land-based internships since 1999. MATE has placed over 250 students in internships, more than 150 of which were on University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) vessels. The internship evaluations that we have received from both students and their supervisors have been outstanding, and it is clear that the MATE internship program has been beneficial to both students and the vessels that have hosted them.
The MATE Center is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to place 12-15 college students on UNOLS and USCG vessels. Internships can range from a single two-week cruise to several months, including multiple cruises and shore time. The funding covers the students’ travel and stipends. Intern hosts only need to provide the intern with a bunk, food, and a mentor. The MATE Center’s at-sea internships are a win-win situation for both the marine technicians and students. The marine technicians gain qualified free staff support and a first look at potential future employees. Students gain valuable work experiences and skills needed for a career in marine technology.
If you are considering hosting an intern, but would like more information, please read-on, or contact the MATE Internship Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you ready to host an intern? Submit your internship host request HERE!
MATE Internship Program Questions and Answers
Why should my vessel host an intern?
By hosting an intern, you are making an important contribution to a student's education. Internships provide students with critical job experience, help them to focus their educational goals, and give them a chance to develop skills they have learned in the classroom. In addition, interns can provide free, highly skilled labor for your vessel, while giving you a chance to observe potential new employees without having to hire them on a long term basis.
Does my vessel need additional liability insurance if I want to host an intern?
No. Interns are required to enroll in an academic or cooperative work experience course and thus will be covered under their academic institution's liability insurance. Your organization will not need any additional insurance coverage for a MATE Center intern.
The criteria for a student to receive academic credit for an internship include:
- the internship must last a minimum of 10 days
- both the intern and the supervisor must sign an agreement outlining the work to be undertaken
- the intern must obtain the approval of a faculty supervisor
- the work plan must include skill training and/or development
How long will it take to find an intern?
Depending on when hosts submit their request form and how quickly they need an intern, it usually takes two to three weeks to place an intern with an organization.
How does the selection process work?
The internship coordinator reviews and screens all student applications, including contacting references. The coordinator will then email or fax you the top 3-5 applications that match your internship requirements. You are then free to contact the applicants and/or their references. You select the intern(s) that you would like to have on your vessel and the internship coordinator offers the position to the intern(s) and arranges all travel and logistics. Alternatively, if none of the applicants meet your needs, the internship coordinator will continue to look for qualified students for as long as you wish.
The student application deadline is April 17, 2014, so to get the best interns, try to send in your requests by that date.
What types of things could my intern do while on board?
Interns work with marine technicians learning how to operate and maintain a variety of scientific and navigational equipment and support a scientific cruise. Past internships opportunities have ranged from onboard chemistry projects, GIS/bathymetric surveys(seafloor mapping), geological studies, work with ROVs and manned submersibles, and much more! The MATE Center and UNOLS office created a set of guidelines for the six-month at-sea internships. This document can provide some guidance as to the types of experiences MATE and UNOLS expect interns to have during an internship.
Can we get a student last-minute to fill a space on a research cruise?
The MATE Center cannot guarantee that last-minute positions will be filled by qualified applicants, but often we always have more qualified students than internship positions. Please do not hesitate to contact the Internship Coordinator if you have a position to be filled.
Do all at-sea internships take place during the summer?
Most students are available during the summer to participate in research cruises, so the best cruises to request interns are between the end of May and the end of August. However, often students are able to re-arrange their class schedules to accommodate an outstanding educational opportunity in other months. Please contact the Internship Coordinator as early as possible with spring or fall internship opportunities.
How long can the intern work on the vessel?
The intention of this internship program is to provide at-sea experiences for students. Internships must be for at least 10 days to justify the expense of student travel and logistics. In addition, if your vessel has long research cruises or a few back-to-back cruises that would be excellent learning and working opportunities for students, the MATE Center can place a student with you for up to 6 months.
What are my obligations if I host an intern?
To ensure that the internship is successful, we will ask you to develop a short work plan with the student prior to the internship. The learning objectives provided must be written in a specific format to ensure that it is a valid academic experience, so please follow the format in this document to write the learning objectives with the intern.
All interns will be enrolled in a for-credit internship course and will be graded based upon their ability to complete the work plan and your evaluation of their performance. As this is an academic experience for the students, we will ask you to sign an internship agreement that outlines the skills and experience a student can expect to receive during the internship.
While the student is on the vessel, you mentor the student in their work. The ship provides a bunk and meals. At the completion of the internship, we will ask you to complete a short online evaluation form evaluating the student's performance.
What if there are problems with an intern?
An internship coordinator will be available to answer questions and assist in resolving any problems that may arise during the internship. Please note that the internship may be terminated at any time by either party.
How do I provide formal feedback on my intern after the internship?
Please complete the online survey to provide feedback to the MATE Center on your experience with the intern and the program. You may choose to have MATE share or not share the information with the intern.
If you have any additional questions or concerns please contact the MATE Internship Program using this form.