Information for prospective interns
Research is a private non-profit research organization founded in 1979.
Cascadia receives grants and contracts, primarily from government
agencies, to pursue research primarily on marine mammals. Cascadia
also makes educational presentations to a variety of audiences; from technical
talks to scientists at international conferences to presentations to elementary
school children. Based in downtown
Olympia, Washington, Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian
Arctic, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai‘i, North Carolina, Mexico, Costa Rica, and
along the Pacific coast of Central America, but most of our research is focused either on the west coast or in Hawai‘i.
study many marine mammal species, most of our current work is focused either on
gray, blue, humpback, fin, and killer whales along the west coast of North America, or
a variety of species of odontocetes (e.g., false killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, melon-headed whales, beaked whales)
in Hawai‘i. Much of this work involves using photographic identification.These species have natural markings unique to each individual, and by
photographing and cataloging these markings, we can identify animals and study
their behavior, movements, and population structures over extended periods of
is a large part of what we do, we utilize a variety of other research
techniques, including tissue sampling for genetics and other physiological
analyses; cetacean suction-cup tagging with a variety of instruments that can
record shorter term movements, dive behavior, sound, or video images; examining
dead stranded marine mammals and assisting in live stranding response and
disentanglements; satellite tagging a variety of species to track movements over
extended periods; and studies of
foraging behavior and prey sampling of killer whales.
Volunteer and Intern Responsibilities
We are seeking interns to help with our U.S. west coast projects and our Hawai‘i research, although both internships are office based positions in Olympia.
US West Coast Research
Interns with Cascadia’s US west coast most often assist staff on our long-term photo-ID studies baleen whales, for example humpback, blue, and gray whales off the US West Coast and the inside waters of Washington state. In this capacity, interns will be expected to spend a large portion of their time comparing photographs to our existing catalogs, and may additionally be involved in digital image processing, data entry, and tasks related to historical catalog maintenance.
Interns will assist staff on long-term studies on a variety of species of odontocetes (e.g., melon-headed whales, rough-toothed dolphins, false killer whales, beaked whales) found in Hawai‘i. Much of this work involves using photographic identification, a non-invasive technique that uses natural markings unique to each individual. By photographing and cataloging these markings, we can identify animals and study their behavior, movements, and population structures over extended periods of time. The Hawai‘i internships are in our Olympia, WA office, not in HI. For more information on Hawai‘i projects, please visit our Hawai‘i web pages.
Interns involved in both programs will assist staff in stranding response in Washington state as they come up. This includes participation in beach surveys, data and specimen collection, data entry, and assisting in necropsies of both pinnipeds and cetaceans. Responses may involve hiking into remote areas and carrying heavy loads, and participants should be comfortable with the sight of blood, and strong, unpleasant odors.
and Desired Qualifications for Volunteers and Interns
is required for consideration for a volunteer or internship position:
The following is desired (but not required) of prospective interns:
How to Apply for an Internship Position
For formal consideration, send your resume or CV and a letter stating your interest, what you would like gain out of the internship, relevant background experience, the time period you are interested in, the number of hours you can work, and if you would be seeking internship credit from your college or university. Please include references in your CV and provide two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be sent directly from the person writing the recommendation and pertain to relevant job or volunteer experience, if possible. Letters from current and former professors are acceptable if the applicant does not have any other applicable experience.
For a US west coast project internship please send the information to: Kiirsten Flynn: email@example.com
For Hawai‘i project internship please send the information to: Sabre Mahaffy: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to be considered for either, please indicate that in your letter and send to both Kiirsten and Sabre. Please note the time period you are available for. We typically fill internships at least a few months in advance.
Special Instructions for International Applicants:
that international applicants may need additional time to make travel, lodging
and Visa arrangements. You may apply up to 3 months earlier than the opening of
the application period for the quarter in which you are interested. In your
letter of interest, please indicate if your academic institution requires that
you complete a thesis project as part of your internship and include any
potential project ideas you may have.