Internship Opportunities

Nine-week research internship for undergraduates 
June 19 - August 18, 2017

Amy working with fish in the labSummer research opportunities are available for 10-12 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 $4,500. JISAO also covers the cost of travel to and from Seattle and provides housing on the University of Washington campus.
Applications for the 2017 program are no longer being accepted. Applications for the 2018 program will be available in November.
To apply please send the application form, a resume or CV, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a cover letter (1-2 pages telling us about yourself and why you are interested in this internship) to Jed Thompson at Items may be sent together or individually.
Applications may also be mailed to:

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

The intern program in a nutshell

As a JISAO research intern you will work closely with a mentor, 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 their work. They will also create a three-minute video summarizing their 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. Participants must be returning to an undergraduate program after their summer with JISAO (students graduating in the spring are not eligible for this program).

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 13 – Target date for notification of acceptance
June 18 – University or Washington campus apartments open
June 19 – Program begins with orientation at 10:30 am. After lunch interns will be taken to their work locations to meet their mentors.
August 18 – Final presentations
August 20 – Last day to be in the apartments. Depart for home

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


Winds of Change

Winds of Change magazine

JISAO internship program and former intern Delilah Dougi featured in spring 2016 issue of Winds of Change magazine. 








2016 Interns

Mar​cos Amezcua — Humboldt State University — Marcos traveled to Lake Iliamna in Alaska to work with Rachel Hovel and the Alaska Salmon Program. 

Sarah Brown — University of Texas — Sarah worked with Erin Richmond in the Polar Ecosystems Program to identify and estimate abundance of polar bears and ice seals. 

Austin Carter — University of Michigan — Marcos worked with Anthony Arendt and Shad O'Neel and traveled to Alaska to determine glacier runoff contributions on the Wolverine Glacier.

Michael Espriella — University of Southern California — Michael worked with the UW Fisheries Acoustics Lab and John Horne studying how differences in acoustic instrumentation alter perceptions of the water column. 

Madisyn Frandsen — Tarleton State University —  Madisyn studied regime shifts in the Gulf of Alaska with Ivonne Ortiz and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Iker Madera — Colorado School of Mines — Iker worked with Peter Holmberg in NOAA's Pacific Hydrographic Branch to test new software designed to process field data used to create a 3D surface of the ocean floor. 

Suzanna Officer — Walla Walla Community College — Suzanna worked with JISAO's Samantha Siedlecki to help forecast the effect of environmental changes on dungeness crabs. 

Nicola Paul — University of Miami — Nicoa worked with Dave Beauchamp in the UW School of Aquatic and Fisheries Science where she researched the threatened population of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound.  

Grace Stonecipher — Yale University — Grace studied environmental impacts on fish larvae abundance in Puget Sound with Julie Keister in the UW School of Oceanography.

Jeremy Sousa — Lyndon State College — Jeremy worked with JISAO's Yolande Serra on analysis of the North American monsoon retreat. 

Caroline Tribble — Virginia Polytechnic Institute — Caroline studied the feeding behavior of Bristol Bay belugas with Manuel Castellote and the NOAA Marine Mammal Lab.

2016 JISAO Interns

L-R: Caroline Tribble, Grace Stonecipher, Michael Espriella, Marcos Amezcua, Nicola Paul, Jeremy Sousa, Sarah Brown, Austin Carter, Suzanna Officer, Madisyn Frandsen, Iker Madera


Scientists interested in hosting an intern should contact Jed Thompson at

Are you a former intern visiting the site? If so, please send us an update at and find us on Facebook. We'd love to hear from you!