Mammal Marine Internship Offered for Spring 2013

Edna, a female grey seal was rescued in April 2012 and released in June 2012 by researchers at the Riverhead Foundation.

Edna, a female grey seal was rescued in April 2012 and released in June 2012 by researchers at the Riverhead Foundation.

By William Schadt

Students with a serious interest in marine life are being urged to apply for the Marine Mammal Internship with the Riverhead Foundation.
According to the Riverhead Foundation’s website, since the inception of the foundation in 1996 they have helped rescue over 4,000 marine mammals off the shores of New York. Students enrolled in the internship will have the chance to help the foundation in its fight to rescue and rehabilitate the 150 mammals and turtles that go through the program each year.

The credit-bearing internship, which has been running for about 10 years now and had six students enrolled last semester, promises an opportunity for students to get up close and personal with marine mammals and sea turtles.

“There’s the rehabilitating work they do at the location in Riverhead, some of them go out on the cruises where they do the sightings, some even go on rescue and release missions. It depends on the level of interest of the student and the time they have to put into the program,” said Associate Professor Debra Klein, the faculty adviser of the program, who can be reached at her office upstairs in the Careers Center in the Babylon Student Center in room 205 at the Ammerman Campus. Some students last semester even helped rescue a dolphin from Glen Cove, said Klein.

The students will be working every step of the way with the professionals at the Riverhead Foundation, located within the walls of Atlantis Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead. “They’re very serious about teaching the students the process and procedure in handling the animals; Keeping everything sterile, maintaining the tanks, and how to handle the various animals,” said Klein.

Due to uncertain circumstances the school has opted not to to run the internship for the current semester.

“We could not run the science independent study section this semester. After speaking with the department heads and the dean it was decided that we would run the program in the spring, and that seemed to be the better semester anyway,” said Klein. “Now what we’re doing is working to recruit students through the clubs and classes so these students can be prepared and meet the deadline in November.”

Interested students should send an email to containing their student identification number. From there, Klein will help students go through the admissions process, by helping to set up a resume and finding letters of recommendation. Interested students must show an interest in Marine Biology and be able to devote about 90 hours over the course of the semester to the program.

“Not everyone is going to be accepted. Even in the world of internships it is a little more competitive than it used to be,” warns Klein. However, even those not accepted will be helped to find another possibly more suitable internship.

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