Fall 2017 Community-Based Internship and Volunteer Opportunities* in conjunction with Kachemak Bay Campus' Semester by the Bay program

Federal agencies and non-profit organizations in the Homer area offer optional internship and volunteer opportunities for eligible students enrolled in a minimum of 9 undergraduate credits at KBC during the fall semester. Participation in an internship or volunteer activity sponsored by another organization is optional for KBC’s SBB students.  Internships may also be completed for undergraduate credit (BIOL A495A; 3 credits) with and Dr. Debbie Tobin, KBC Professor of Biology.

Note: The internships listed below were available in Fall 2017.  Applications are not currently being accepted.  The list remains to give future students an idea of the types of internships that have been available in the past.  Please check back in February 2018 for the first peek at what Fall 2018 has to offer.


Eye of the Whale

Agency Website:
Contact: Olga von Ziegesar

Cetacean identification data entry/catalog interns – work 10-20 hours/week; learn how to identify and categorize humpback whales in W, X, Y and Z groups; assist area scientists with data entry, sorting, and matching of humpback whale photographs from Southcentral Alaska in restructuring current whale identification catalogs and webpage;  work with the Homer community to gather photographs from individuals, charters, and commercial fisherman to use in updating catalogs and webpages; may also require Excel data entry and/or website modification; photographic field work possible when whales are present in Kachemak Bay and/or possibly during a trip to Prince William Sound with Olga von Ziegesar: 1-2 positions available.

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, University of Alaska Anchorage Natural Heritage Program/NOAA

Agency Website: and

Housing: provided free of charge in a communal bunkhouse adjacent to KBNERR offices. Located approximately 2.3 miles from campus.

Harmful Species Program Intern:
Contact: Catie Bursch or Rosie Robinson
Work with the Harmful Algal Bloom program preparing and analyzing phytoplankton slides and shucking shellfish meat to send away for chemical toxin testing. Ideally this individual would have the maturity and responsibility to work rather independently on the sample preparation part of our program. This could include:  gathering blue mussels from cages from the Homer Harbor and maybe across Kachemak Bay on a weekly basis, shucking the mussels or clams to extract the meat and preparing those sample to be frozen and then shipped to the lab via Fed Ex; taking phytoplankton tows, learning phytoplankton identification and ultimately reading slides using microscopes and filling in data sheets on phytoplankton. Other duties / opportunities to assist may include: field work in the KBRR boat collecting water quality data or samples or instruments from our stations across the bay, some data entry, helping other researchers in our organization with field work in creeks and estuaries, intertidal surveys for marine invasive species, etc.  Hours  vary.

Juvenile Salmon Stream and Estuary Rearing Studies:
Coowe Walker

Work with KBRR and visiting researchers on a variety of projects investigating juvenile salmon rearing habitats in the estuary and stream environments. Internships include field work, as well as some lab work. Hours will vary.

(Summer work might also be possible. Summer duties would include: assist with sampling juvenile salmon in streams on the lower Kenai Peninsula. Interns will work directly with KBNERR biologists, and will learn capture techniques, fish handling, measurement, data recording and anadromous waters nomination process.)


Sea Otter Habitat Documentation Intern:
Contact: Angela Doroff

Work 15-20 hours/week assisting area scientists with long-term foraging ecology studies and habitat use studies by: cleaning, sorting and analyzing sea otter scat; aiding in the determination of prey preference; contributing to reference manuals; compiling data, use GIS, and continue website development for web reporting of species observations and oceanographic parameters in order to share and utilize citizen science monitoring. GIS, web development, and/or MS Access experience preferred for habitat intern.  One position available.

NOAA Fisheries, Protected Resources Division, Anchorage Office

Agency Website:
Contact: Verena Gill

Intern(s) could work on a variety of projects that include:  impacts of marine mammal viewing in Homer and Seward; annual Beluga Whale Watch Weekend planning; impacts of Turnagain Arm sport fisheries on beluga behavior, literature review and data summaries of large whale distribution in Alaska. Intern number depends on agency needs and student availability. Hours vary.

North Gulf Oceanic Society

Agency Website:
Contact: Dan Olsen

Cetacean data entry/catalogue ID interns – 15-20 hr/week. Assist area scientists with data cleanup (error checking in data sheets/Excel) and entry, sorting and matching of killer whale individuals from Southcentral Alaska into known pods using digital photography; update annual photo summary spread sheets; separate resident, transient and offshore killer whale photodata for all years; review and rectify matriline charts; input basic field log and encounter data for 2016 field work; update transient killer whale data and registry; scanning and crop photos and other older documents for archival and remote access; learning GIS shapefile manipulation and data entry, plus editing vessel survey and encounter tracklines based on survey and encounter sheets; separation of GIS behavior waypoints from multiple encounters in one day; research future equipment online; research Excel commands that could apply to NGOS data sheets; write data entry protocols; write “office familiarization and orientation” documents; literature search and organization of pertinent papers; scan old papers and/or reports; photographic field work possible, if whales are present in Kachemak Bay; work on other related research and projects as agreed upon by both intern and internship mentor; 1-2 positions available.

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Agency Website:
Contact: Kristin Worman

Sea Otter Stranding Intern(s)
Intern would respond to dead and live sea otter stranding events: salvage and collect data from carcasses; support rescue and protection of live animals; conduct beach surveys to assess mortality rates of otters through strandings; depends on agency needs and student availability. Two positions available. 

Housing:  requires 20 hours/week; Government bunkhouse housing provided for intern(s), at no cost starting Oct. 1.    Students need to provide their own housing until this date, or possibly sooner, depending on bunkhouse availability. Located approximately 1 mile from campus.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS)

Agency Website:
Contact: Beth Trowbridge, Director

Marine Debris Interns: Work 10-20 hours/week in a variety of contexts associated with marine debris/coastal clean-ups including educational outreach, marine debris art compilations, data entry, among others. Up to 3 positions available.

Environmental Educator Intern: Work 10-20 hours/week in a variety of environmental, ecological education outreach capacities. 1 – 2 positions available.

Housing: Housing for CACS interns is available 1 Sept., possibly sooner, ($900/semester plus one-time $100 cleaning fee).  Located less than ½ mile from campus.

Marine Mammal Skeletal Articulation Interns

Agency Website:  
Contact: Lee Post

Work 15-20 hrs/week assisting Lee Post in cleaning and preparing marine mammal bones collected from strandings for use in mounted skeletal displays and classroom education; when necessary, restore damaged specimens, including fabrication of missing bones or pieces thereof; additionally, may support Marine Mammal Skeletal Articulation class  when offered, 1-2 positions available.

Housing: is available 1 Sept., possibly sooner at the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies. ($900/semester plus one-time $100 cleaning fee).  Located less than ½ mile from campus.

Additional internship and/or volunteer opportunities may exist with:

  • Homer Marine Mammal Stranding Network (via the Alaska SeaLife
  • Center)Alaska Dept of Fish & Game
  • Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Islands and Ocean Visitors Center (providing interpretive services at a public contact desk)



To Apply:

  • To Apply:

    Send application materials to the agency contact listed with each internship. Include:

A 1-2 page cover letter, include:

  • Your interests
  • Relevant experience
  • Future goals
  • Courses you will be taking
  • CV or resumé, (recommended).
  • Send an email with a bulleted list of your top 3-4 choices to Dr. Deborah Tobin, KBC Professor of Biology and SBB Academic Advisor.  

  • Agencies will begin their first review of applicants on Friday March 3, 2017.  Some agencies will request a telephone interview, so make sure your contact information is included and your voice mailboxes set up. Interview Tip: Consider what questions might be asked and how you might answer them.

    * KBC-KPC is not the sponsor of the internship and/or volunteer opportunities.