Prospective Student information
Each year approximately twelve students are selected as marine technician interns aboard sea-going research vessels that are part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and the United States Coast Guard and the Ocean Exploration Trust. Most internships last for 2-12 weeks and occur all over the country and all over the world: Florida, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Samoa, Europe, etc. All intern travel to and from the ship is covered by the MATE Center, and the intern lives and eats aboard the vessel for the duration of most internships. We also place one six-month intern each spring, and the intern is provided with on station housing when the ship is in port. In addition, all interns receive a stipend of $500/week.
Applications for the summer 2016 internships are now closed.
MATE internships focus on technology and scientific support of marine research rather than the academic research. Click here to see a description of the 2008 and 2009 internships and click here for a description of the 2011-2013 internships. Click here to download a PowerPoint that shows the experiences of several interns in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and click here for the 2012 interns' PowerPoint. They describe their experiences, show photos of their internship, and explain what they did. This article was written by two interns in 2012 about their experience with a tool called the Habcam on the R/V Hugh R Sharp. You can also check out the blogs of interns by clicking here.
What is life like on a ship?
Hear from marine technicians and a MATE intern why they chose marine technology as a career and what their life is like at work:
Tour the research vessel the Hugh R. Sharp and see where marine technicians and interns eat, sleep, and work:
You can also see what life is like on a research vessel by watching two videos created using clips from past MATE interns:
For more information on life on a research vessel, check out these videos, blogs, and photos!
Read more about the ships where interns get placed at http://www.unols.org/info/vessels.htm.
Check out life at sea by reading the blogs for different interns, ships, and technicians:
- Read another blog from the University of Colorado scientist with a video of equipment on the R/V Revelle
How do I apply?
The 2016 Summer Internship Opportunities
Applications for the 2016 summer internships are now closed. We are still working on selecting host vessels and timing of internships. We usually host about 10-12 interns every summer, in internships ranging from a couple of weeks to 2+ months. The internships are mainly based on UNOLS or USCG ships; due to our new partnership with the Schmidt Ocean Institute, one or more interns may be based on their ship.
Internship projects will be dependent on the funded science but previous interns have worked on cruises to support science ranging from chemical oceanography, marine biology, GIS/bathymetric surveys (seafloor mapping), geological studies, work with ROVs and much more! The position will last 6 months, and students will receive a stipend of $500 per week, reimbursement for travel expenses, and on-station housing while ashore.
To apply for an internship, the requirements are:
Students must be:
At least 18 years of age.
A current undergraduate student or very recently graduated from an undergraduate program from a US institution and a citizen of the United States or its possessions; international students are not eligible for this program. An undergraduate student is defined as a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree. Students who are transferring from one college or university to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate under certain circumstances.
Interested in becoming marine technicians on research vessels.
Able to enroll in a for-credit cooperative work experience course (either at Monterey Peninsula College or their home institution). If the costs for this are a burden to participation, the MATE Center can pay for this up-front and deduct the cost from the internship stipend.
Applicants for the spring six-month internships must be ready to enter the job market with academic studies complete or near complete and looking for a way to enter a career as a marine technician. Demonstrated time at sea is highly desirable for the six-month position, but is not required for the summer at-sea positions.
Students in two-year and certificate marine technology and science programs, MATE partner students, and students and in related marine technology undergraduate programs will be given preference for summer internships only.
The MATE Center encourages a diverse pool of applicants and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or age.
In order to submit an application, you must complete the online form here and attach the required supporting documents to the online application form.
Please note that the form SHOULD NOT be used from a mobile phone, but from a computer, as there are errors in the application when completed from a phone.
The application requires all of the following information:
- Your current GPA
- Dates that you are available from/to
- Detailed contact information for three professional and/or academic references
- Information to describe the skills you have in the following areas: time management, working on teams, computer sciences (software, hardware, programming), natural sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Oceanography), lab and fieldwork (safety and sampling), skills (GIS, electronics, construction, industrial), certifications (Diving, Ham, Pilot, HAZWOPER), maritime (safety, seamanship), and other hobbies.
PLEASE NOTE: it is NOT required that you have experience in all these areas! The MATE Center takes your skills and tries to best match them to available internships.
Supporting documents that are required to submit the online application form must be in .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpg, or .txt format. These documents are:
A cover letter describing your ideal internship, career goals, why you would like to become a marine technician and skills / academic background (Click here for a cover letter guide) and addressed to Nandita Sarkar, MATE Internship Coordinator, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey CA 93940.
An unofficial transcript
Letter(s) of recommendation from an instructor, academic advisor, or employer. NOTE: Ideally, we prefer a letter from an instructor and one from an employer who can speak to your work ethic.
Three MATE Internship Alumni (Gregg Diffendale 2008, current Hercules ROV Pilot, Alex Kavanaugh, 2011, current Argus ROV Pilot, Rachel Gaines, 2011, current Argus ROV Pilot) and 2012 intern Tara Willis on the E/V Nautilus
Where do past MATE interns work now?
Click here to see a list of the MATE Internship Program alumni who participated in UNOLS, USCG, or Ocean Drilling Program research cruises and where they are now.
What if I am not interested in an at-sea internship or what if I am not accepted this year?
Students are welcome to apply in multiple years. In addition, the MATE Center maintains an extensive list of marine technical internships. Please click here to learn about other internships in this area that may interest you.
To see a list of the Knowledge and Skills Interns typically learn click here.
Funding for this REU site is provide by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Science's located in Arlington, VA. The NSF contact for this program is Lisa Rom, elrom@NSF.gov or 703-292-7709. NSF does not handle REU applications; please contact each REU site directly for application information.