Internship Opportunities

Nine week research internship for undergrads
June 20 - August 19, 2016

Applications for the 2016 program are now available!
Application forms (Before filling out the form, download it to your computer and open it in Adobe Acrobat): [Application], [Recommendation letter form]

Amy working with fish in the labSummer research opportunities are available for 8-11 undergraduate interns through the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO). Interns are matched with a research project within one of JISAO’s seven research themes and work with a JISAO, NOAA, or University of Washington scientist at either the UW campus or the NOAA Northwest Regional Center in Seattle. Students will receive a stipend of approximately $4,200. JISAO also covers the cost of travel to and from Seattle and provides housing on the University of Washington campus.

The intern program in a nutshell

As a JISAO research intern you will work closely with a mentor, and often within the context of a research team, to conduct a research project related to you specific interests. Depending on the project, the summer may involve hands-on experience in the field or laboratory, or both.

At the end of the summer interns will design a research poster displaying the results of your work. You will also create a three-minute video summarizing your experience over the summer. Each intern will present their poster and video during a program the final week of the internship that will be open to the JISAO community as well as student’s family and friends. Click here to see videos made by previous interns.

There will also be weekly seminars that each intern is expected to attend. Seminars feature guest speakers discussing topics such as:

  • The Arctic, a Harbinger for Global Climate Change
  • How to Create a Successful Research Poster
  • Sights and Sounds of the Bering Sea
  • The Journey of an Atmospheric Chemist


Internship participants must be a current undergraduate student and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Students graduating the spring before the program are not eligible for the JISAO Internship Program. Participants must be returning to an undergraduate program after thier summer with JISAO.

JISAO is committed to promoting diversity and building a diverse, inclusive community of environmental scientists. All undergraduate students, especially those traditionally under-represented in the sciences, are encouraged to apply.

Important dates

February 1 – Application deadline
March 14 – Target date for notification of acceptance
June 19 – University or Washington campus apartments open
June 20 – Program begins with orientation at 10:30 am. After lunch interns will be taken to their work locations to meet their mentors.
August 19 – Final presentations
August 21 – Last day to be in the apartments. Depart for home

Download the application here. Completed application form, statement of interest, resume, transcript, and letters of recommendation should be emailed to Jed Thompson at

Applications may also be mailed to:

Jed Thompson
University of Washington
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO)
Box 355672
Seattle, WA 98195

Seattle Met magazine

January 2013 Seattle Met coverJISAO's internship program is featured in the Best Places to Work issue of Seattle Met magazine (January 2013) as one of "Seattle's coolest internships."

Excerpt from the magazine:

On a Whale’s Tail: Orca Research

University of Miami undergrad Rachel Pausch spent two months of her 2011 summer with a dog that had a nose for whale poop. They cruised around Puget Sound looking for orca pods while she was a research intern for the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean; the UW-based group studies endangered whales around the San Juan Islands. The team’s black Labrador retriever would bark when it caught a whiff of orca poo, and the boat would move close enough to collect whale feces samples to analyze for stress-hormone levels. “Seeing whales every day was amazing,” Pausch says. “Every time I saw their dorsal fins rise to the surface it was like seeing them for the first time.” The internship was paid, but the biggest draw for her was working alongside a wide spectrum of research scientists—and getting up close to sea life. The rewards for Tucker the black lab were simpler: a ball on a rope and a profile in The New York Times—Dameon Matule


Scientists interested in hosting an intern should contact Jed Thompson at


2015 Interns

Claire Buysse - College of Saint Benedict - Claire worked with Becky Alexander in the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences investigating Geenland ice-core record and global models. 

Marina Cucuzza - College of the Atlantic - Marina worked with John Horne in the UW School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences using acoustic remote sensing and GIS analysis to characterize substrate in the eastern Chukchi Sea. 

Amanda Echevarria - University of San Diego - Mandy worked with Julie Kiester in the UW School of Oceanography investigating how ocean acidification is affecting the reproduction and development of copepods. 

Isabel Justiniano - Brigham Young University - Isabel worked with Susanne McDermott at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center testing a custom stereo camera system as a sampling tool for the atka mackerel population.  

Eric Kennedy - Seattle University - Eric worked with Theresa Smith and Bob McConnaughey at the Alaska Fishery Science Center using sonar as a lower-impact method to model habitat in the Bering Sea.

Myesa Legendre-Fixx - University of Washington - Myesa worked with Amber Himes-Cornell at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center interviewing crab fishermen about their perceptions on entry and upward mobility in their industry. 

Alexis Lucassen - Gonzaga University - Lexie worked with Dr. Daniel Schindler in the UW Alaska Salmon Program monitoring the ecosystem and fish populations within Alaska's Wood River System. 

Alissa Luk - New York University - Alissa worked with JISAO's Casey Saenger looking at the oxygen isotope composition of a sclerosponge skeleton.

Nevin Schaeffer - Whitman College - Nevin worked with JISAO's Laura HInkelman on solar irradiance availability and variability in the Pacific Northwest. 

Haila Schultz - University of Puget Sound - Haila worked with David Beauchamp in UW School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences comparing the stomach contents of juvenile Chinook salmon in Puget Sound to the food availability in their environment. 

Jane Thompson - Williams College - Jane woked with JISAO's Wei Cheng and Al Hermann studying how water reaches the Bering Shelf, where it comes from, and what it brings with it. 

2015 JISAO Summer Interns

Back row (L-R): Lexie Lucassen, Isabel Justiniano, Eric Kennedy, Jane Thompson, Alissa Luk, Nevin Schaeffer
Fron row (L-R): Marina Cucuzza, Mandy Echevarria, Haila Schultz, Myesa Legendre-Fixx, Claire Buysse

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